Wasn’t even mine. An older sister, a birthday present and I developed full on perfume envy. Small town, teenage sister envy. One whiff of ‘Babe’ and I was in love. Only it was more than the scent, it was the image of the women behind it. Margaux Hemingway. Grand daughter of legendary Ernest Hemingway, Margaux embodied every American dream (at least the Seventeen version of the All American girl.) Strong, sexy, healthy, with the greatest pairs of eyebrows in the business, long before Brooke.
I wanted to be, just like her. Failing the cheekbones, the full mouth and the body present and future, it was enough to pour over cut out pictures stuck in my scrapbook. So delicious not to have Internet then I think, for the pictures was all I had to stir the imagination and run an extra hundred metres at school. To swim and tan and pretend that one day, I was going to the the next ‘Babe’ model. Life was easy then, reality was far away.
Sadly, for all the beauty and fame, Margaux inherited the furies which so plagued her grand father. Addiction and depression led to an untimely suicide in 1996, but forty two years old. What happened to the dream, the American dream, what was so awful in her life that letting it go, like her grand father, seemed the only option?
Now, a million miles from childhood, life does tend to bring you down. And you begin to understand that what we think we know, what we think we see in others is not always what lies beneath the dark surface of a vacant smile. Margaux had been abused by her father, suffered from bulimia and alcoholism in her young life. Few knew. It was the perception of beauty we fed on, and even now, I think her one of the most beautiful women in the world.
A few years ago, packing up my childhood home, I found the empty bottle of Babe my sister had so lovingly kept as a memento of her first ‘real’ perfume. We both, it seems, love the scent and Margaux. Chateau Margaux, the wine drunk when she was conceived, the reference is bittersweet. But I still love her … she still inspires.
Did you ever have a crush on your first fragrance, or Margaux?