Childhood smells

Friday, 7 September 2012

Childhood smellsI don’t remember much about my childhood, let alone the smells. Allure’s editorial assistant, however, does…

Some people say that perfume should smell like seduction; others, like confidence. But according to Nicole Richie, it should remind us of childhood. Not that she means Crayolas and Jolly Ranchers. The inspirations for her first fragrance were memories of her mother’s ‘exotic’ lotions and ‘sensual cashmere’. (Sounds like some very sophisticated formative years to me.)

I love this Proustian approach to scent, and recently I’ve noticed that many of my favorite perfumes have notes that I remember from growing up. Serge Lutens Fleurs D’Oranger reminds me of my hometown, surrounded by Florida orange blossoms. L’Eau de Chloé conjures summers spent by the pool drinking lemonade. Chanel No. 22 brings to mind the patch of overgrown jasmine in my parents’ front yard. The connection makes these creations not only beautiful, but also personal – like Prousts madeleine.

What about you? If your childhood were a perfume, what would it be?

Written by Alexandra Owens, this article originally appeared in Allure.

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Written by

Megan Kakora has helped launch the websites of, and been the online editor for, some of South Africa’s biggest glossy magazines. She believes in less-is-more, except when it comes to her collection of nail polish colours.
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  1. Leana

    I love it when I smell something that brings me back to my childhood… I just hate that I can’t always pin point the memory

    6 years ago •

  1. Cass1231

    Britney Spears fantasy perfume makes me think of mixed sweets from sweets of heaven or candyfloss

    7 years ago •

  1. Mikki

    Peaches, vanilla and freshly cut grass… The smell of rain, watermelon and new born puppies…think they could bottle that?

    7 years ago •

  1. Firefly

    My grandparents have this tree in their yard, Don’t ask me the name as I have NO idea. But this tree has little white flowers and everytime I go visit them I run straight to that tree to smell these little white beauties! I wish I could bottle their essence!!

    7 years ago •

  1. mahomed

    cinnamon and vanilla remind me of my childhood with mum busy in the kitchen

    7 years ago •

  1. ricebunny

    definately love chloe as it smells like baby powder

    7 years ago •

  1. khan

    i used johnsons baby products right to the age of 10 lol, i would say that and vanilla, coz it reminds me of how innocent i smelt and the vanilla is coz of my mums yummy baking!!

    7 years ago •

  1. Angelisha

    I remember a perfume that was called Tribes, a Floral Fun Loving Fragrance…

    7 years ago •

  1. Maddy

    We had lots of red roses and Jasmine in our garden when i was growing up and i think my love for roses and floral scents come from.

    7 years ago •

  1. BeautyBloggess

    Definitely agree with the Chanel No. 22 – jasmine reminds me of spring. Would also like fragrances that bring to mind the smell of rain and anything with vetiver gets my vote.

    7 years ago •

  1. Lorraine

    If i can remember it was a CC cologne .And something like Blue Grass.Then there was 4711 cologne .

    7 years ago •

  1. Rochelle Stewart

    Musk! Which I dislike now.

    7 years ago •

  1. Thobza

    Any fragrance with Musk bring the fear in me, it reminds me of my abusive grade1 (SUB A, then) teacher, who loved to pinch our inner thighs, that is a lingering smell of abuse to me, her perfume was a strong musk scent

    7 years ago •

  1. Charles

    When I think of perfume and my childhood – Royal Secret stands out! It’s still my gran’s favourite :)

    7 years ago •

  1. DIVA

    chocolate and Vanila that all I can remeber from my childhood.

    7 years ago •

  1. Gee Whiskers

    The sweet scent of sweet peas makes me think of my childhood.

    7 years ago •

  1. Zu

    I only wore cologne Nenuco and Johnsons classics for my baby

    7 years ago •

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