10 of Natalie Wood's Most Incredibly Beautiful Moments

In honor of her commemorative perfume and the anniversary of one of my favorite movies.
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Publish date:
October 25, 2016
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perfume, gifts, gift sets, Natalie Wood

I remember hearing Natalie Wood's name long before I ever saw her in a movie. I have a memory of my dad calling her "one of the most beautiful women who ever lived" when I was a kid, and, at the risk of dipping just a toe into very deep psychological waters, hearing when you're a very little girl who the most important man in your life thinks is beautiful can have a pretty big impact on your own ideas of who's beautiful.

After seeing photos of Wood from the 1970s, it was clear that my father was probably initially attracted to my mother because of their resemblance — when they met, my mom looked like she could be Wood's Jewish cousin. But it wasn't until I saw West Side Story for the first time when I was 12 that I came to really idolize her beauty.

It just so happened I watched West Side Story every single day that summer — sometimes twice a day. I was in a theater camp production of the musical, and I became obsessed with it. (What is it with tweens and becoming easily obsessed with stuff?) I studied every ruffle of Rita Moreno's purple dress, counted every flip Russ Tamblyn did, and more than anything, I wondered how I could ever become as beautiful as Natalie Wood as Maria. I surrendered to the likelihood that I'd never have eyes as big as hers or a nose as cute, and I offered myself the consolation prize of "at least I wouldn't need to lip sync someone else's singing voice." (A premature consolation prize at that, because, as I learned when I finally saw Gypsy, Natalie Wood could, in fact, sing — she just didn't have the soprano voice Bernstein's songs demanded.)

Earlier this month, I realized two things. First, this October marks the 55th anniversary of West Side Story hitting movie theaters. Second, there's actually a fragrance named in Wood's memory, aptly called Natalie, and I got acquainted with it at a recent event celebrating the launch of a new gift set for the holidays.

Natalie's lookalike daughter, Natasha Gregson Wagner, was at the party to tell us how much her mother meant to her and how much she associated her scent with her memory of her.

And it turns out the scent is just as beautiful as the woman it's named after — that is if you love white florals as much as I do. It's dominated by gardenia, with notes of jasmine, orange blossom, neroli, narcissus and freesia.

So hey, if I can't look like Natalie Wood, at least I can smell something like her, right?

I have actually been planning to put together a roundup of some of Wood's most beautiful moments for a long time — ever since a young colleague told me several months ago that she'd never heard of her and I nearly spit out my coffee — and with the launch of this set and the anniversary of my favorite of Wood's films, I have no excuse to put it off any longer.

Let's look at how stunning Natalie Wood was during her 43 years of talent, beauty, and motherhood.

  • What's your favorite Natalie Wood movie?
  • Is there a classic Hollywood icon you'd love remembered in perfume form?
  • Do you love white florals as much as I do?