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Mata Hari - Fragrance Profile

For today’s fragrance profile I feel it is important to detail a bit about the history of the character who inspired the fragrance.

‘Mata Hari’ is Malay for ‘sun’ or literally “eye of the day”.

It was the stage name taken by Margreet Zelle Macleod, an exotic dancer and courtesan who was executed under charges of espionage for Germany during World War I. Born in the Netherlands, she moved to Indonesia to start a family but with the dissolution of her marriage then moved to Paris and remained in Europe for the rest of her life.

She began to earn fame as an exotic dancer, posing as an Indonesian princess of priestly Hindu birth, professing a background in the art of sacred Indian dance since childhood. This story of cultural ambiguity fascinated me, and I was inspired to create an artwork based on an iconic image of her as part of ‘The Empress Collection’.


She was known for elaborately exotic, asian-inspired, heavily bejewelled costumes - all photos of which were in black and white. So, it was incredibly exciting for me to bring them to life through colour, pattern and embellishments.

Her career went into decline after 1912 and she subsequently became a successful courtesan. She had relationships with many high-ranking officials in influential positions, and it was the movements related to this part of her life that caused her to come under scrutiny as an alleged spy and double agent.

In 1917 she was convicted and executed, accused of spying for Germany and consequently causing the deaths of at least 50,000 soldiers. Supposedly secret ink (incriminating evidence at the time) was found in her room, which she contended was part of her make-up.

To many, although by no means considered an ‘innocent’ woman, she remains an unfortunate scapegoat, sentenced as much for her curious profession as for her apparent crimes.

If anyone is interested in learning more about her history, there is an additional account here. Her extremely colourful life story is fascinating, brimming with intrigue and an almost incredulous account of a woman who is now synonymous with the idea of a femme fatale.

“My dance is a sacred poem in which each movement is a word and whose every word is underlined by music”

- Mata Hari

In keeping with Mata Hari’s mysterious background, the corresponding scent in our candle collection is wonderfully complicated and almost impossible to decipher.

TOP NOTES: Crisp Green, Citrus, Fruity

MIDDLE NOTES: Fig, Aquatic, Caviar, Salty

BASE NOTES: Sandalwood, Cedarwood, Musk

Mata Hari_small.jpg

A combination of surprising notes, the result is an unpredictable fragrance that seems to smell different each time you light it. Breezy aquatic notes balance a combination of fruity berries and musk with woody undertones. It smells freshly modern and stately timeless all at the same time, while maintaining an unmistakably alluring quality.

Congratulations to the winner of this fragrance who entered our giveaway via instagram - Rosie Whetstone!

Our fourth and final giveaway is taking place this week and Friday (18th July) is the deadline, so make sure you enter! Entries via twitter or instagram @tara_sofia - it's a great and exclusive chance to experience one of our signature luxury fragrances.

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