The scent of Gilda

Have you seen Gilda? While I wasn't taken with the film as a whole, Rita Hayworth was mesmerising in the title role. Among the people inspired by the part was perfumer Germaine Cellier, and in 1948 for Robert Piguet she came up with Fracas, Gilda in a bottle. Cellier had created some other outstanding, original perfumes – Bandit, a peppery, aggressive leather, was another she developed for Piguet.

The perfume was redeveloped in the 1990s (changing regulations on perfume ingredients means the only way you'll smell an old scent the way it was meant to smell is by buying a vintage bottle), and the new version is said to be creamier and sweeter than the original, a little less disturbing, but it's still a tuberose powerhouse. Tuberose is a strange flower. In Nana, Emile Zola likens tuberoses to the scent of human skin, and it does have a fleshy warmth, enabling Fracas to convey Gilda's fabulous physicality.

Fracas is big. My skin absorbs perfume, so usually I'm left with a close-to-the-skin nuance that only I (and Mr Robot) notice. Fracas feels like it's sitting a few inches out from me. If you have the sort of skin that lets perfume travel, be wary of Fracas: you may leave a smothering cloud of flowers in your wake. Like Gilda, Fracas is alluring and impossible to ignore.

I bought my sample of Fracas from Les Senteurs.


  1. Oh interesting. I love perfumes so I'll have to give this one a try x

  2. I have shamefully seen NO Rita Hayworth movies.

  3. Penny Dreadful, it's really nice. Very full-on and feminine without being screechy.

    Bad LandGirl! Your mission for the weekend, should you choose to accept it…

  4. Will look out for this. I have seen this film, intend to do a style post on the beautiful Rita Hayworth in it next week. xx

  5. Sounds delightful, I must give it a try!


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