Daphne du Maurier Rebecca, What perfume would Rebecca wear?


In my English Classics Bookclub we just discussed Daphne du Maurier Rebecca. I brought perfumes to suit the main caracters in the book. Rebecca was written in 1938 and filmed by Alfred Hitchcock in 1940. I found it an interesting and at times haunting book with the dead Rebecca de Winter in the leading role. It starts with the very catching and famous sentence: ‘Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again.’

For the three main caracters Rebecca de Winter, Maxim de Winter and the young nameless second Mrs de Winter I choose fragrances which would suit them as a person. It was great fun to do. All of the fragrances were from my own perfume collection so I could bring the bottles for people to sniff. *

Rebecca the first Mrs de Winter, beautiful, ruthless, evil and chameleonic with the people around her. I choose the rich floral and creamy Isabey Gardenia for her glamorous evenings at the Mandeley estate in Cornwall. For her secret life in London I choose the darker mysterious Mona di Orio Oudh Osmanthus. In the book the clothes of Rebecca were  said to smell of powdery of azalea (rhodondendron) but I have never found a scenting azalea or a fragrance centered around azalea.

imageMaxim de Winter, widower and a handsome elegant man in his forties.  In the beginning of the book Maxim walks out of the bathroom while shaving to meet the young nameless (soon to be) Mrs de Winter. An intimate scene, which inspired me to look for a  classic cologne like Aqua di Parma Colonia.

The second Mrs de Winter, very young, attractive, a bit of a grey mouse in my opinion but others from the Book Club saw her as girlish, pretty and not yet fully developed. As she did not have much money I chose a cheaper fragrance. There are many references in the book to flowers in the garden like azalea, roses and lilacs. The beautiful, lilac centered discontinued Yves Rocher Pur Desir de Lilas would have suited the young Mrs de Winter. The others thought so too. Maxim de Winter could have bought her a pretty fragrance like Dior La Collection Privee Grand Bal.

These are the fragrances I choose.  What do you think of them? Have you read Rebecca or did you see the Hitchcock film? Did you like it?



photograph 1 and 2 taken from the Internet, photograph 3 was made by me.

*I had asked people to comment on the Facebook Fragrance forum which perfume they would chose and got wonderful ideas like Worth Je Reviens, JHAG Lady Vengeance, Givenchy Monsieur de Givenchy. But as I did not own any of these fragrances, I choose scents which I could bring for people to smell. Nonetheless I enjoyed all suggestions and will try them in the near future.

Disclaimer: all fragrances which I brought to the meeting were bought by me. The large Dior Grand Bal sample was a kind gift from Tara.