Muse of the month: Marilyn Munroe

More than 60 years after she began her career as a model and actor, the unapologetically fleshy and feminine Marilyn Monroe has been chosen as the new face of Chanel No5.

The House of Chanel recently discovered an archive recording of Monroe being interviewed by the editor-in-chief of Marie Claire in 1960. In the clip Monroe is heard to say: “You know, they ask me questions. Just an example: ‘What do you wear to bed? A pyjama top? The bottoms of the pyjamas? A nightgown?’ So I said, ‘Chanel No5’, because it’s the truth … And yet, I don’t want to say ‘nude’. But it’s the truth!”

In this previously unpublished image, Monroe puts her legendary words into action. The shot is by Bob Beerman, who photographed Monroe naked in bed with a bottle of Chanel No5 on her nightstand in 1953 for the magazine Modern Screen.

She’s certainly inspiring us this season with an image that says everything we want from summer: the look of warm skin, the smell of sensual fragrances, and the carefree emotions that come from releasing your body from months of concealment.

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Fragrances of the moment


Clarins Eau Dynamisante hydrates, softens and energises the entire body with essential oils with treatment benefits including horsetail, orange, coriander, patchouli and rosemary.

DKNY Be Delicious Skin is a moisturizing and brightening fragrance with hydrating “Apple Fusion Complex”, aloe and mulberry leaf.

Acqua di Gioia Eau Fraiche is a fresh floral fragrance centred around a jasmine tea note, a signature “Water Jasmine” accord, and hints of brown sugar.

Boss Jour Pour Femme conbines white flowers of freesia and lily of the valley with citrus notes of grapefruit flower, and an amber base.

Kiehl’s Aromatic Blends Patchouli & Fresh Rose Mist uses a high proportion of each key ingredient, resulting the purest scent expression of patchouli and rose possible, and is also available in a Body Lotion and Body Cleanser.

Estee Lauder Modern Muse centres around two key ingredients, the sweet and sensual flower jasmine and the beautifully warm wood patchouli.

Prada Candy L’Eau is a lighter version of the brand’s original caramel fragrance, Candy. This interpretation adds citrus notes and a floral heart of sweet pea.

Givenchy Dahlia Noir L’Eau is a fresh interpretation of the original fragrance, and combines citrus notes of neroli and citron with a middle of rose petal, and a base of cedar and musk.

Marc Jacobs Honey is a sweet floral scent that blends fruity notes of pear and mandarin with orange blossom, peach, honeysuckle and – of course – honey.

Kenzo Flower In The Air is a blend of four rose tones that range from crisp to sensual, with the addition of raspberry, pink pepper, magnolia and gardenia.

Lancome La Vie Est Belle is an unusual scent in that it mixes the highly sensual and beautifully powdery ingredient iris with gourmand (read edible) notes.

Narciso Rodriguez l’eau for her is unusual in that it opens with a hit of beautiful floral notes including jasmine, cyclamen, peony and lily of the valley.

Calvin Klein Downtown is a woody floral scent that features citrus notes of bergamot and neroli, followed by a lush pink peppercorn note blended with violet leaf and gardenia, and a medium warmth dry-down of cedarwood and vetiver.

Issey Miyake Pleats Please bursts with the beautifully warm yet fresh note of violet, combined with peony and sweet pea, followed by warming touches of patchouli and vanilla.

Chanel No.5 is the world’s most iconic perfume. It’s artful combination of aldehydes (synthetic ingredients that act like a cool fizz for the senses) with high quality notes of ylang ylang, jasmine (still sourced from Chanel’s own field in Grasse) and may rose have ensured its place at the top.

J’Adore Dior l’Or Essence de Parfum is a heady floral scent centred around centifolia rose and jasmine, with a sensual base of vanilla and tonka bean.

Elie Saab Le Parfum is a sexy floral blend of orange blossom, ylang ylang and rose with warm oriental notes of patchouli

Michael Kors Sexy does what it says on the label. This fragrance is anchored around the key note of amber, with the potent addition of sandalwood and jasmine for added effect.

YSL Manifesto L’Elixir is a sensual floriental (floral with oriental notes) that blends exotic white flower notes of jasmine and tuberose with velvety base notes of cashmeran, vanilla bean and ambroxan (a synthetic alternative to ambergris that shares the same carnal muskiness).

Thierry Mugler Angel is another of the world’s iconic fragrances, which inspired the gourmand trend with its original blend of patchouli with notes inspired by praline, caramel and vanilla.


Dior Eau Sauvage is a cult men’s fragrance that’s often stolen by women. Created in 1966, it’s uplifting blend of bergamot, hedione (the animalic component of jasmine and ylang ylang), lavender and a smouldering base is what makes it remain on top.

Tommy Hilfiger Freedom Sport is a fresh, woody aromatic fragrance with notes of clary sage, coriander, black pepper, cinnamon, patchouli and vetiver.

Givenchy Gentlemen Only combines fresh notes of green mandarin and pink pepper with spicy scents of nutmeg, cedar and vetiver, and a musky dry-down from patchouli and cedar.

Ralph Lauren Polo Red is a fresh yet sensual combination of red-centric notes including cranberry, red sage, red saffron and warming redwood.

Versace Eros eau de toilette takes inspiration from Mediterranean notes of mint, Italian lemon, geranium, and cedarwood from Atlas.

Yves Saint Laurent L’Homme is an uplifting yet sensual fragrance that combines fresh floral and spicy notes of bergamot, ginger and vetiver.

Dior Homme is a deeply sexy scent that blends fresh and spicy cardamom with lavender, powdery animalic iris and warming cedarwood.

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