A Special Woman Who Wore White Linen
Yesterday, as an adjunct to my birthday, I traveled to a town north of Seattle for a reunion that was very special to me.
Almost twenty years ago I worked for what was then an all-woman ad agency run by a force of nature named Peggy Doph. Unusual for a woman of her generation, Peg had come to the advertising business via banking; she had also been the "first woman" there, an executive vice president at a time when women just didn't advance that far.
If I can name one woman in addition to my mother who has had a tremendous influence on me, it would have to be Peg.
Always beautifully groomed, with her hair just so and her nails perfectly manicured, Peggy ran that ad agency like a general would run a sorority.
She would dispense fashion and etiquette tips, then instantly turn hard as nails as she discussed the need for new clients, billing and how we as an agency just did not do spec work.
The original Steel Magnolia, Iron Hand In The Velvet Glove and, I mean this in the nicest possible way, DragonLady. All without uttering one word of profanity ever. The most we ever heard from her was "Oh, Dirty Word!" or "Shoop de doo!" And yet ... those words, coupled with a hard glare, could inspire terror.
This was a woman who would be cooly at ease (or at least make you believe she was) with a congressman (one of our clients), national political operatives -- or the men who owned the grocery or auto supply chains whose advertising business she wanted.
I think she was my Estee Lauder ... who coincidentally created Peg's favorite fragrance, White Linen. I will never forget that fragrance, or Peggy. Her jewelry, her coiffed hair, immaculate suits, hosiery and heels. What a lady.
The dear woman now is 79 years old -- and yesterday showed me and my coworkers Jeanie, Cherie, Lori, Diana, Marta (and many thanks to her daughter Jan for sharing her with us) that she still wasn't missing a beat.
I raised a glass of white wine, her customary libation, in her honor and remembered her as the first person who ever really thought I could write. And make money at it.
Peg, thank you.
Estee Lauder White Linen topnotes: citrus, peach and jasmine; middle notes: lilac, rose and amber; basenotes: cedarwood, sandalwood and benzoin.
Let's turn to page 78 of our hymnal, Parfums le Guide Edition 1994 by Luca Turin and raise our voices in song:
White Linen (Estée Lauder)
Qui n'a pas souhaité, en tenant entre ses mains un gros savon de bain blanc tout neuf, pouvoir entendre en entier la petite musique de son générique? Estée Lauder comble ce voeu au centuple. Ce que l'on croyait être un refrain devient la première phrase d'une symphonie poudreuse et fruitée. Si No. 22 (Chanel) avait la luminosité d'un brouillard printanier, White Linen possède la radiance réfractée du soleil sur la neige.
Un très grand parfum. Lorsque l'on ressent le besoin d'un grand nettoyage de printemps.
White Linen (Estée Lauder)
Who hasn't wished, while holding in his hands a large bar of very new white bath soap, the capacity to hear in entirety the faint music of its composition? Estee Lauder fulfills this wish a hundredfold. What one believed to be a refrain becomes the first phrase of a powdery, fruity symphony.
If Chanel No. 22 had the luminosity of a spring fog, White Linen possesses the refracted radiance of sun on the snow.
A grand perfume. When one feels the need of significant spring cleaning.
Yes, Jacqueline, I translated this myself. Stop laughing.