Cat People (1942)

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catpeople_lalage_bornunicorn (5)Lalage is the fictional perfume used by Irena Dubrovna (Simone Simon). Oliver Reed’s description of it (“It’s like something warm and living”) is intriguing.

What perfume do you think could be described in the same way?


7 thoughts on “Cat People (1942)”

  1. Hi. Was actually hoping it was a real scent, but I looked up My Sin, by Lanvin, which has been discontinued, but other designers have made something similar. I love this original movie!

    1. I wished it was real too. I like some old-fashioned perfumes like Blue Waltz, Tabu, Windsong. These were my favorites as a teenager. My absolute REAl favorite perfume is called Laura Ashley No one. It’s a strongly sweet flower scent, yet clean and soapy. ii can’t find it to buy anymore, but I have two bottles in my storage right now.

  2. Thanks for featuring that scene in your blog. I love that film so much. I saw it in a revival theater on Broadway called The Regency when I was a teenager and was so glad when Criterion rereleased it recently. I always think of it when I walk past the Central Park zoo (although happily they no longer have big cats like panthers going literally insane in those small cages).

    I’ve always wondered what perfume the scriptwriter might have been thinking of with that line. I imagine Irena wearing something like vintage Rochas Femme because of the description “warm and living,” although it came out 2 years after Cat People. (I like to imagine perfumer Roudnitska saw Cat People and was partly inspired by it.) The black lace of the original Femme packaging also suits Irina’s dark and mysterious femme fatale style.

  3. In another scene, the character of Alice Reed (the woman in love with Irina’s husband) describes Irina’s perfume as “strong” and “sweet”.
    The name Lalage reminds me of Lalique but I don’t know if that’s what they had in mind.

    1. Who knows? At the time at Lalique they weren’t producing their own perfumes (they started in 1992), but their wonderful sculptural bottles were surely famous in the 1940s. It would make sense.

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