I read this morning that legendary Hollywood actress Olivia de Havilland has just died at the age of 104. May she always live on through her films!
I couldn’t remember offhand whether Ms. de Havilland had any particular interest in perfume, so I checked, and: yes. She did.
This promotional photo from the 1930s (above) features a few bottles that are most likely decorative atomizers.
Online “celebrity scent guides” name Jean Patou Joy (1930, Henri Alméras) as de Havilland’s favorite. I’m having a hard time finding a source for that information. However, Joy is a classic beauty that rose to fame right around the same time she did, so it would make sense.
I found this scan from the December 1935 issue of Screenland magazine online…but the remainder of the article is nowhere to be found. Maybe it didn’t discuss de Havilland directly, so the fan who uploaded this image omitted the rest.
But here’s a nice note from five years later, published in an article by Naomi Benyas that ran The Honolulu Advertiser (April 26, 1940):
Another lovely maid who likes her variety is Olivia de Havilland who also matches her scents to the gowns she wears. If she’s sporting diaphanous chiffon, Olivia explains, she tips lips, wrists and ears with a light floral scent. If a dark velvet, then she chooses a heavier scent.
(Both images above date from 1940.)
This image and caption come from an ad for DeVilbiss perfume atomizers. De Havilland is shown looking quite glamorous while holding DeVilbiss model C#300-83, which retailed for $3.00 in 1940.
My favorite bit of de Havilland perfume intel (so far) is this short Associated Press item from September 1964:
Olivia de Havilland says perfume helps her get into the mood for her movie roles. She uses a different type for each type of role, spraying it on before takes and also saturating her dressing room with it.
Currently for “Hush…Hush, Sweet Charlotte,” she uses Ma Griffe—My Claw.
“This helps me create an aura of evil, makes me sinister,” says the two-time Oscar winner. “Sometimes it even makes me nasty around my friends—I feel so evil.”
Ma Griffe was created for Carven by perfumer Jean Carles and was launched in 1946.
If I figure out what de Havilland is holding in that 1964 photo, or come across any other details about her love for fragrance, I’ll update this post!