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.

Frederic Malle En Passant The scent of Spring passing through

In a search of perfumes made by the perfumer Olivia Giacobetti I came across the perfume En Passant. I already knew other perfumes made by her: Tilleul by Parfums d´Orsay and L´Ete en Douce by L´Artisan Parfumeur.

Olivia Giacobetti made En Passant for the exclusive brand Frederic Malle Editions de Parfums. Frederic Malle perfumes are very special in the sense that all perfumers were given the oportunity to create their own perfect perfume. All perfumers are displayed in the shop with their photograph.

Olivia Giacobetti Olivia Giacobetti´s perfumes can be very light and almost made for another realm, the one of elves and nymphs. Like making perfumes for Arwen Undómiel in Lord of the Rings played by Liv Tyler.

En Passant is a perfume inspired by the idea of passing through a branch of lilac flowers during spring. It means passing through in French. This makes En Passant an excellent scent to use in spring or if you want to invite spring into your life.

The most wonderful thing happened after I applied En Passant this week. After spraying En Passant, I passed a lilac bush near my home and I could smell a wonderful light trail of lilac. This was the whole intention of the perfume and I got it in an instant. Not complicated, just a light trail of lilac. The perfume En Passant is passing through as well on your skin as it leaves after two hours. Maybe that´s the whole idea although I have noticed Olivia Giacobetti has made more perfumes which do not stay on very long like L´Ete en Douce. When you spray it on, you get a wonderful fresh lilac scent. You would want it to stay that way for hours and hours. So personally I think it is a pity you can only smell it for a short while. The only remedy is to keep on spraying or to use it with the bodylotion and layer it that way. Haven´t tried the bodylotion but would really like to !

Passing through lilacs in Amsterdam

En Passant is simply lovely and fresh. Not fresh like fresh washed white cotton shirts but like light fresh white or pink flowers. Personally I smell lilacs, cucumber and linden blossom. Some others state notes are white lilac, watery notes, cucumber, orange tree leaves and wheat. En Passant really reminded me of another of Olivia´s perfumes, the linden blossom scent Tilleul by Parfum d´Orsay. This is an adaptation of an older version of Parfums d’ Orsay Tilleul and it is one of my favorite perfumes. Both Tilleul and L´Ete en Douce are wonderful summer perfumes.

En Passant is superb to wear right now that lilacs blossom outside and it is springtime. It would make an excellent gift for a young girl as her first perfume as well. I can imagine it be suited for people who do not like to wear perfume as it is so fresh and stays very close to your skin.

Bottom line: I love it. My advice: Just smell it !

Photograph of Olivia Courtesy of Guillaume Luisetti, Thank you very much !

Originally published: May 10th 2012

Photograph 1. Olivia Giacobetti. Made by Guillaume Luisetti

Photograph 2. Passing through lilacs in Amsterdam. Made by Esperessence