Emma, Esmerelda and Katniss


After musing about opera heroines and which perfumes they might have worn, a librarian friend suggested that I do the same with literary heroines.  The only problem is that I’m much more of a reader of nonfiction… almost exclusively, actually.  And my fiction comes from way back… I can hardly remember Becky Sharp from Vanity Fair or Moll Flanders… or Samuel Richardson’s Pamela.  I read these books many, many years ago.  In fact, decades ago!  But my friend agreed to help out and so she recommended 3 heroines and gave me keywords.  Thanks to Wiki and YouTube, I think I gleaned enough information to come up with a couple of suggestions, so let’s see how I do.

Jane Austen’s Emma – Red Roses Cologne by Jo Malone

OK, so this one wasn’t very difficult.  In fact, my friend suggested an English rose perfume and I thought that Jo Malone’s Red Roses Cologne was perfect for Emma.  From what I read, Jane Austen’s main character is a 21-year-old who is described in the novel’s opening sentence as “handsome, clever, and rich, with a comfortable home and a happy disposition.”  She lives with her father in the English countryside, where I would assume there would be many beautiful wild rose bushes growing.

Jo Malone’s Red Roses Cologne would have been perfect for that handsome, rich girl look but I am certainly open to your suggestions if you have any ideas.

Victor Hugo’s Esmerelda from the Hunchback of Notre Dame – Opium by Yves Saint-Laurent

The three keywords I got from my friend were “spicy, gypsy, exotic” so I’m going to go with the spice monster itself, Opium!    I would have preferred something with patchouli but an over-the-top late 70s amber would also fit the bill.  I’ve never read the book nor have I seen the Disney animation but I think Opium should work.  Again, I am open to suggestions.

Suzanne Collins’ Katniss Everdeen from The Hunger Games – Aura by Mugler

The three keywords I was given were “clean, simple, strong”.  And, it was lucky for me that Mugler would launch Aura just last year which would be perfect for this very odd, very surreal futuristic tale.  In fact, from what I’ve read and from viewing a few movie clips, I’m wondering if Thierry Mugler didn’t want to attract a younger clintèle by coming up with this surreal, multi-faceted green scent that would have been perfect for Katniss Everdeen! (It almost sounds like overgreen).

Muriel Spark’s Jean Brodie from The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie – Givenchy III


Maggie Smith as Miss Jean Brodie

This is my own suggestion.  What perfume would be perfect for a teacher with fascist leanings from a 1930s Edinburgh school for girls?  I’m going to go with a green chypre… no flowers, no ambers, no vanilla… just a smart and austere sharp-green overlay of a chypre base.  Of course, Givenchy III wasn’t around at the time so perhaps she might have worn Crêpe de Chine by F. Millot, the very first green chypre of them all from 1925.

Those are my picks.  Any other ideas?


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  1. Andrea

     /  February 19, 2018

    Fun choices since I have either read the books or seen the films. I don’t know all these scents but it sounds like you have certainly captured these heroines’ personalities.

    • If I had to do it over again, I would suggest Paloma Picasso for Esmerelda… but I think Opium could also be a contender.

      Thanks for writing!

  2. FiveoaksBouquet

     /  February 19, 2018

    Red Roses for Emma sounds just right. For Esmeralda I agree an oriental seems fitting. The first one that came to my mind is Emeraude by Coty, evoked by the obvious name connection, no doubt.

    • You know what else might have worked for Esmerelda and it hit me this morning on my way to work… Paloma Picasso! Spicy, rose chypre… with an overdose of patchouli.

      Thanks for writing.


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