What Would Daisy and Gatsby Wear? The Scent of Money, or Vintage Perfumes of The Great Gatsby Era | Author Jan Moran
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Owned & Operated by Sunny Palms Press, LLC.
Owned & Operated by Sunny Palms Press, LLC.
Owned & Operated by Sunny Palms Press, LLC.

What Would Daisy and Gatsby Wear? The Scent of Money, or Vintage Perfumes of The Great Gatsby Era

Film Review The Great GatsbyWhat's the scent of money? What perfume would a stylish young woman wear in posh 1920s New York? If you're Daisy Buchanan from F. Scott Fitzgerald's 1925 book, The Great Gatsby, it had better be exclusive…and expensive.

Actress Carey Mulligan does a superb job in capturing the effervescent nature of a gilded flapper girl, while Leonardo DiCaprio, as the mysterious Jay Gatsby, certainly knows how to put on the Ritz. As for Daisy's cousin Nick Carraway, Tobey Maguire is a hail-fellow-well-met, if a little naive in the ways of the glitzy jazz world. As I sat in a darkened theatre with my stylish 3D glasses, I couldn't help but wonder…what vintage perfumes might these literary characters have chosen? In fact, as I was doing research for a book of perfume, I compiled a list of some of the best classic perfumes.

Best Vintage Perfumes

Jicky and Shalimar vintage adsIf you're throwing a Great Gatsby party, or watching The Great Gatsby on DVD, these vintage perfumes can help set the mood:

Daisy Buchanan – Rich, spoiled, extravagant, Daisy is always the center of attention. But she also holds a secret…

  • Shalimar (1925) – Created in the year that The Great Gatsby was published, Guerlain's Shalimar is lush, evocative, sensual, a fragrance for women who demand center stage.
  • Tabac Blond (1919) – A daring perfume from Caron perfumer extraordinaire Ernest Daltroff, Tabac Blond has a slightly smokey note of vetiver, and was inspired by women who dared to smoke in public. Reformulated, yes, but Tabac Blond is still rich in history.
  • Chanel No. 5 (1921) – Gabrielle Chanel, nicknamed, Coco, designed clothes for the new modern woman, who dared to bob her hair, smoke, and drink. Real-life party girl Zelda Fitzgerald once wrote to her husband, Scott, saying ‘I wish I had done everything on Earth with you' – the statement also captures the voracious appetite of Gatsby's Daisy. Chanel No. 5 is, very simply, the scent of sophistication.

Jay GatsbyFor Men:

Jay Gatsby – International man of mystery? Indeed. A man who's been there, done that, and wants it all, including the woman he loves.

  • Jicky (1889) – At introduction, Guerlain's Jicky was considered a scandalous fragrance. Jicky has a certain careless elegance woven of civet and leather that would have captured Jay Gatsby's imagination. It's a unisex scent – for men or women.
  • Mouchoir de Monsieur (1904) – A spicy ‘Oriental' fragrance from Guerlain, Mouchoir de Monsieur might have been Jay Gatsby's choice: a fragrance of impeccable pedigree with a dash of mystery rendered through a blend of patchouli, vanilla, and cinnamon. Another Ernest Daltroff creation.

Just as Fitzgerald's novel was adapted to the screen, some of these fragrances have also been adapted – reformulated to meet current ingredient regulations. (For a real treat, try to get your hands on the originals.)

More Vintage Perfumes

Vintage Perfumes by Jan Moran book coverWant to discover more great vintage perfumes? I created a list of some of the best vintage perfumes when I was doing research for my books on perfume, The Perfumer: Scent of Triumph and  Vintage Perfumes.

For Vintage Perfumes, a guidebook, I culled the list to include only those perfumes that can still be purchased on the market. Plus, I've included celebrities of the day who were known to wear particular perfumes. Enjoy discovering the best in vintage perfumes.


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Jan’s books are also available to purchase in Deutsch, Dutch, Italiano, Lithuanian, Polish, and Russian. More languages coming soon!

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