Ah, the floral top notes. Lemon blossom, lily of the valley, carnation, then the punch of the base notes, vanilla and sandalwood, musk and cedar.
Yes, it smells like your mother.
Launched in 1973, Charlie immediately became Revlon’s bestselling perfume. It was billed as the “gorgeous sexy-young fragrance” and within three years it would become the best selling perfume in the world.
The commercial images around Charlie, with it’s non-gender specific name, were all assertive and strong: confident women striding out in suits; on the telly it was a woman in a tuxedo.
Later it was controversial too, when one add showed a female model patting a male on the backside. It was derided as sexist and in poor taste.
The perfume got a hit in the arm in 2007 when Oprah Winfrey took a walk down memory lane with a segment on her talk show, because she herself was personally inspired by the ads because they made her want to be “confident and fabulous.”
The original confident and fabulous Charlie model was Shelley Hack (who you may remember went on to replace Kate Jackson in Charlie’s Angels), but subsequent Charlie models were Lauren Hutton and Cindy Crawford.
Charlie was the first grown-up fragrance for a lot of 1970s teenagers, and while it is still available – like 4711 Eau De Cologne – it is no longer a bestseller.
Do you remember what Charlie smells like?
What was your first perfume?