Celebrating International Women’s Day: Ten Inspirational Women and their Good Scents

Her Majesty Elizabeth II born 1926

Queen of the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Jamaica, Barbados, the Bahamas, Grenada, Papua New Guinea, the Solomon Islands, Tuvalu, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Belize, Antigua and Barbuda and Saint Kitts and Nevis.
Sovereign for more than 61 years.
Head of the Commonwealth of Nations of 54 sovereign states and more than two billion citizens.
Mother, grandmother, great grandmother.
The most painted and photographed person in history.
A symbol of constancy in a world of perpetual flux.

“During the past sixty years you have offered to your subjects and to the whole world an inspiring example of dedication to duty and a commitment to maintaining the principles of freedom, justice and democracy…”
Pope Bedict XVI, 2012

From her choice of fragrances we can perhaps conclude Her Majesty is something of a perfumista…

Fleurissimo by Creed

Muguet du Bonheur by Caron

L’Heure Bleue by Guerlain

“Grief is the price we pay for love.”

Yoko Ono born 1933

Artist, musician, peace campaigner, philanthropist, optimist.
Japanese New Yorker.
Life long radical.

“…an elder stateswoman of cool; a reminder of what New York used to be before it was taken over by hedge fund types.”
New York Times, 2012

And an occasional wearer, along with rosewater and witch hazel, of…

“War is over if you want it.”

Dame Shirley Veronica Bassey born 1937

Oscars sensation at 76.
Mr Bond’s ultimate golden girl.
Dame of the British Empire.

“…Shirley Bassey saves the Oscars”
LA Times, February 2013

Impeccable taste in the perfume department too…

Chant d’Aromes by Guerlain

“It’s hard for a man to live with a successful woman – they seem to resent you so much. Very few men are generous enough to accept success in their women.”

Hillary Diane Rodham Clinton born 1947

Former first lady of Arkansas
Former First Lady of the United States
Former United States Senator from New York
67th United States Secretary of State
45th President of the United States?

“The second most powerful woman in the world…. one day perhaps the most powerful person on the planet…”
Forbes Magazine, 2012

And the choice of perfume… one couldn’t make it up…

“If I want to knock a story off the front page, I just change my hairstyle.”

Mary Jane “Mae” West 1893 – 1980

Actress, playwright, screenwriter.
Broadway bad girl, Hollywood trailblazer, scourge of the censors.
Crusader for equal pay and status.
Pre feminism proto-post-feminist.
The original sex symbol.

“You’re the top!
You’re the moon over Mae West’s shoulder”

Cole Porter, ‘You’re The Top’, 1934

The inspiration in more ways than one for both…

Shocking by Schiaparelli

and Femme by Rochas

She used both extensively.

Gabilla would create a Parfum Mae West as early as 1933, without the stars permission.

Whereas Mae wore pretty much anything and everything in her day, her final favourite was rumoured to be...

Youth Dew by Estee Lauder

“You only live once, but if you do it right, once is enough.”

Jane Bowles 1917 – 1973

Writer, playwright, bohemian, muse.
Author of ‘Two Serious Ladies’.
Forgotten genius.

“…the most important writer of prose fiction in modern American letters.”
Tennessee Williams

“…one of the finest modern writers of fiction in any language…”
John Ashberry

Inspration (with her husband and the hotel of the same name) for…

Palais Jamais by Etro

“I am so wily and feminine that I could live by your side for a lifetime and deceive you afresh each day.”

Indira Priyadarshini Gandhi 1917 – 1984

Third Prime Minister of India
First female prime minister of the world’s largest democracy
Leading light of the Non-Aligned Movement and proponent of ‘The Green Revolution’
Victim of assassination

“India’s Iron Lady”

“India’s Greatest Prime Minister”
India Today poll, 2001

Married into the fragrance business.

The family name Ghandi derives from the term for ‘a seller of perfumes’.

“There are two kinds of people, those who do the work and those who take the credit. Try to be in the first group; there is less competition there.”

Josephine Baker 1906 – 1975

Dancer, singer, actress, heroine of the French Resistance, civil rights leader, icon, Parisienne.

Recipient of the Croix de Guerre 1939-1945

“The First Black Superstar”
BBC Television Documentary, 2009

What she wore and brought to the world…

“Art is an elastic sort of love.”

Gabrielle “Coco” Bonheur Chanel 1883 – 1971

First Lady of Fashion

One of the 100 Most Important People of the Twentieth Century
Time Magazine, 1999




“A woman who doesn’t wear perfume has no future.”

Eleanor Roosevelt 1884 – 1962

First Lady of New York
First Lady of the United States of America
First Chairman of the United Nations Commission on Human Rights
Co-author of The Universal Declaration of Human Rights
Official Delegate of the Unites States to the United Nations
Chairman of the Presidential Commission on the Status of Women

“The object of almost universal respect”
The New York Times, 1962


Muguet des Bois by Coty

“The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.”

Saluting inspirational women everywhere everyday.

Yours ever

The Perfumed Dandy.

The Perfumed Dandy


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22 responses to “Celebrating International Women’s Day: Ten Inspirational Women and their Good Scents

  1. Well, well…. She certainly is a petfumista. That’s a wonderful portrait. I’m surprised she “allowed” it. It seems sort of contemporary, doesn’t it? I guess it’s not an official portrait… Or is it?

  2. I am just so moved by this list of great women… and lucky to have actually seen her majesty upon her entrance into my city in 1983.

  3. ladyjicky

    The Queen is the best person in that family !
    Has not always been popular in Australia but …. she sure is now!
    Creed and Guerlain – nothing but the best ! I have read she loves Clarins hand cream too 🙂

    • Dear Lady Jicky
      Her Majesty is, indeed, riding high on a tidal wave of popularity pretty much everywhere at the moment.
      Yes indeed both the Creed – developed originally for the wedding of Hollywood and European Royalty, when Grace Kelly became Princess Grace, is a lovely choice.
      The Guerlain (one imagines the Queen wear extrait) is a masterpiece that she inherited from her mother and the Caron, quite the most lovely Lily of the Valley a gift to her through the generations from her grandmother Queen Mary.
      Truly a symbol of measured transition in a chaotic world!
      Yours ever
      The Perfumed Dandy

  4. I had thought of acquiring Fleurissimo for a number of years but never did. I didn’t know her majesty liked it. I think it is beautiful you are celebrating International Woman’s Day! As I think of British Monarchs……another Elizabeth comes to mind. The Tudor Queen. I wonder what she would choose to wear. What are the Perfumed Dandy’s thoughts on what the Tudor Queen would have worn of everything produced today?

    • Dear Rosa
      Inspired by her majesty I tries Fleurissimo on a blotter today. Not being a great devotee of this house I was blown away, it is a beautiful floral with a slightly sweet saline base – is this the famed amber that they are said to use in so many of their creations.
      A quite beautiful and incredibly pure smell.
      As to Elizabeth I, a recent discovery has meant that we actually do know the recipe of at least one of the perfumes that she wore.
      A rosewater with musk, the Historic Royal Palaces have worked with Patou to interpret it and it can now be bought!
      Truly a piece of history.
      Needless to say The Dandy has sniffed it and it is rather uncomplicatedly lovely.
      Yours ever
      The Perfumed Dandy

  5. Lilybelle

    I read somewhere that Chloe Narcisse was one of her favorites. I think she really is a perfumista, as any royal lady should be!

    • The Dandy has read something similar and of a fondness for Quelques Fleurs and, most excitingly, of an exclusive perfume in the Guerlain ‘Black Book’ that was composed and dispensed personally by Jean Paul Guerlain until his retirement.
      The stuff of dreams…
      Yours ever
      The Perfumed Dandy

  6. Dear Mr Dandy,
    Thank you for a very interesting article. I am glad to know that my lonely habit of wondering how famous people smell no longer singles me out. I now know I am among friends.

    Your friend

  7. Reblogged this on The Perfumed Dandy. and commented:

    One year on and these women are still inspirational… like so many millions of others around the world.

  8. Lilybelle

    Happy International Women’s Day! Diorissimo and then Chamade for me today. I love that photo of Queen Elizabeth.

    • Dearest Lily
      What a wonderful carnival of scents for international women’s day. Once the upcoming ‘Guilty-Free Guilty Pleasures’ are disposed of, there will be, sometime before the Summer be a season of Guerlain…
      Chamade. Oh Chamade.
      Yours ever
      The Perfumed Dandy

  9. rosestrang

    Wonderful examples Sir Dandy! I’m enjoying this day and the various posts on social media. Women have come a long way and life is easier now, but there have always been beacons of strong character, intellect, creativity, compassion, style and sex appeal, you’ve covered all those aspects there beautifully.
    And some others – Mary Magdalen whose gospel nearly crumbled to dust in the desert, Mary Wolstonecraft – a pioneer, Millicent Fawcett without she and her ilk we’d have no vote, Marie Curie, and I’m thinking of Aung San Suu Kyi – incredible forbearance under long imprisonment

    Happy International Women’s Day to everyone!

    • Dearest Rose
      We must be connected somehow for in another part of The Dandy’s life I was extolling the virtues of Marie Skłodowska-Curie yesterday. The only person ever to have won Nobel prizes in separate scientific disciplines (physics and chemistry). Also the wife of a Nobel Laureate and the mother of another, a truly unique distinction. A woman who, literally, gave her life for science and humanity.
      Millicent Fawcett or Millicent Garrett Fawcett (she is the younger sister on Elizabeth Garrett Anderson, of course) is another remarkable woman from a family of such. Her niece, Louisa, Elizabeth’s daughter, established the only military hospital during WW1 to be entirely run and staffed by women.
      The list goes on and on, to brave young women all over the world today who make a difference just be exercising their basic human rights in the face of resistance and prejudice.
      This is a topic I could certainly talk endlessly about, The Dandy regards himself very much a feminist.
      Yours ever
      The Perufmed Dandy

      • rosestrang

        Bless you Sir Dandy, I believe that as long as there are discrepancies in terms of equalities for any group of people in society then there’s a need for a group to represent them. I’d love to be cryogenically frozen and turn up in 500 years to see how freed we might be from expectations of gender. Well, ok that could be a bit odd, but wouldn’t it be fascinating?!!

  10. rosestrang

    Oh, Frida Kahlo, how could I forget!

    • Dearest Rose
      And Barbara Hepworth, Louise Bourgeois, Bridget Riley, Angelica Kaufman…
      Yours ever
      The Perfumed Dandy

      • rosestrang

        Great examples! I love Barbara Hepworth, which was probably sparked during childhood years when playing around her sculpture in Edinburgh’s Botanic Gardens – her sculptures truly harmonise with nature. I particularly love Frida Kahlo though for her utter uniqueness, style and strength, and I’ve just discovered her favourite perfume was Schiaparelli’s Shocking, quite appropriate I suppose!
        There’s an excellent book by Barbara Kingsolver which features Kahlo and Riveira, but so much more – American and South American politics of the time and the McCarthy trials. One of those epic books which also grounds you completely through the senses, depiction of atmosphere and character.
        I imagine Barbara Hepworth smelling of the sea and canvas – something like Eau des Merveilles, or its equivalent then!

  11. Mary E.

    Such great women from such varied walks of life with marvelous scents to match their vitality!

  12. Dear Dandy, thank you!
    This was a wonderful read, (awe) inspiring. 🙂

    And I just have to add that Hillary’s comment is hilarious (couldn’t resist the pun). 😀
    So true and ironic at the same time – in one sentence such a strong condemnation of our world’s preoccupations.

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