In March 1961 Luchino Visconti directed a French version of the revenge play ‘Tis Pity She’s a Whore by the English playwright John Ford. Staged at the Théâtre de Paris, Dommage qu’elle soit une p… starred Romy Schneider as the protagonist Annabella and her fiancé Alain Delon as Giovanni.
In these beautiful backstage pictures by Maurice Jarnoux we can take a look at what beauty products the Austrian actress used. In the shot above she was applying Pan Stik compact foundation by Max Factor.
On her dressing table there were many make-up and skincare products, among which a bottle of baby lotion by the French brand Mustela.
When it comes to the perfumes, the first I’ve noticed is a huge houndstooth bottle by Christian Dior, used for several eaux de toilette and eaux de cologne by the French maison, so it’s impossible to tell what fragrance this specific bottle contained. Furthermore, it’s quite surprising to see a Dior fragrance on her dressing table: the perfumes she usually wore were Chanel No. 5, Guerlain L’Heure Bleue  and – as explained by Elena Prokofeva – Tubereuse by Jean-Francois Laporte.
There’s a Christian Dior houndstooth splash bottle on Helen’s vanity, but unfortunately the front label is never clearly visible. It looks white with a touch of pink, but it could be just a lighting trick. In any case, this bottle was used to contain eaux de toilette and eaux de cologne, so many possibilities open up. I think we should follow one lead, though: what vintage Dior perfume could appeal to an elegant working girl like Helen? We don’t know a lot about her background, so this bottle could be something she received from her mother or grandmother, or she could have bought it for herself. I personally think she would wear a classic, so either Diorissimo or Miss Dior.
There’s another classic product on the vanity – a Chanel lipstick.
And what about the blue glass bottles (four of them!)? They remind me of Neal Yard’s products (the film is set in London, so it would be a logical choice), but I found no evidence the brand used these bottles in the 1990s.
Gemma Levine took this backstage picture in 1985: Judi Dench was getting ready to perform as Amy O’Connell in the Royal Shakespeare Company production of Harley Granville-Barker’s Waste at the Lyric Theatre in London.
On the shelf in front of her there are many bottles; among them, the unmistakable houndstooth pattern characterising Dior cologne and eau de toilette bottles. There’s no way to tell exactly what scent this was, but we know that this bottle was used for classic creations like Miss Dior, Diorama, Diorella, Diorling and Diorissimo. I can see her wearing the lily-of-the-valley triumph that is Diorissimo. What’s your guess?
The iconic Christian Dior houndstooth perfume bottle appears on Martha’s hotel bathroom shelf while she’s in Rome with her father. The front label is not visible, so it’s impossible to tell what fragrance she wore.
We should add Diorella to my list of “suspects”, since the floral-chypre perfume created by Edmond Roudnitska was launched in 1970.
Two Dior houndstooth bottles on the Draytons’ bathroom shelf.
The houndstooth bottle is a classic for Dior perfumes, so I’ve been wondering what were the exact fragrances seen in the film. Unfortunately I haven’t been able to read the front labels, so I’m pretty clueless. Yet, since the film was released in 1967, it’s possible to narrow the search to the perfumes launched before that year.
Miss Dior, the 1947 chypre floral fragrance created by Jean Carles and Paul Vacher.
Diorama, the 1949 chypre fragrance created by Edmond Roudnitska.
Diorissimo, the 1956 spectacular lily of the valley bomb created by Edmond Roudnitska.
Diorling, the 1963 chypre fragrance created by Paul Vacher.
Which of these perfumes could suit the protagonists of the film? Any guesses?