Feeling scentimental? Remembering retro fragrance ads

The importance of nostalgia in fragrance shouldn’t be ignored – so often our memories are linked with the scents we wore way-back-when, and we’ve surely all been stopped in our tracks by catching a whiff of something a loved one was loyal to.

Here at The Perfume Society, we also like to wallow in the warmth of perfume adverts past – they can be, by turns, charmingly evocative or utterly hilarious. We’ve gathered a selection for you to watch to cheer up your day, and we’ll let you decide best which category they fall under. How many of these do you recognise or remember wearing…?

There’s a rather wild claim within this 1981 ad, that ‘drop for drop, Jōvan Musk has brought more men and women together than any other fragrance in history…’ which, um, we’re absolutely sure they could have backed up with stats… Anyway, there’s no messing about, here, and we’re left with no doubts about the power of scent to drive women to rub their hair over men’s faces.

We associate fragrance advertising with impossible glamour and aspirational lifestyles, but sometimes the men’s fragrances used to downplay this in favour of the all-too-obtainable – like this Blue Stratos TV ad from 1988. During what looks to be the crummiest date ever, a couple drive to the world’s most boring pier, get soaked in the rain and, presumably because things can’t get much worse, decide to hurl themselves into the sea, fully clothed. And who can blame them?

This woman will quite happily throw a bunch of roses over a railing and spray perfume straight in your eyes, because she’s… having a complete breakdown? No, silly. Because she’s IMPULSIVE! and UNPREDICTABLE! Well, perhaps, but we still think she comes across as one of those friends, who you can never safely invite to a wedding, because she’ll be causing A Scene – ‘it should have been meeeeeee!’ – and swigging straight from a wine bottle within minutes of arriving.

Is it just us, or do you think there’s something mildly skeevy about the way the man in this Stetson Cologne ad rubs the crown of his hat? It suggests a familiarity with headgear that had not previously occured, but perhaps he’d splashed some of his Cologne on it and was powerless to resist. A peculiar half-spoken, half-sung narration by the woman, too. Peculiar all ’round.

Spying someone gorgeous at a party, trying to subtly flirt across a crowded room, is a situation fraught with danger. But it’s all going so well for this woman – she’s chic, fun and poised with dignity – until she applies Tigress, quick-changes into a catsuit, spends several minutes fighting her way through the potted plants and breathes on her ‘prey’ in a quite unpleasant and off-putting manner. And this is why we should all have that friend who says, ‘No, Susan. You’ve had too many cocktails.’

On what looks to be the set of a 1960s Hammer Horror film, and wearing a nightdress that only adds to the impression, we are given life advice by a really quite terrifying woman who declares in a breathy, faintly sinister way, that her men must wear ‘English Leather, or nothing at all.’ We’d be straight on the phone to the police, to be honest, advising them to check under her patio for those who refused either option…

By Suzy Nightingale

7 70s-tastic scent ads you have to see

A little while ago we regaled you with our selection of reto perfume ads from the 1980s, and you loved them so much we just had to continue the theme. Here, we shift the focus to 1970s fragrances, and you’d better hold on to your bell-bottoms, because there’s much to take in…

She’s been sweet, and she’s been good, she’s had a whole full day of motherhood, and she’s going to have… a bottle of gin. In fact no, she’s going to have an Aviance night. We, the viewer, are not informed as to what ‘an Aviance night’ might comprise, but the way she so seductively peels off those cleaning garments suggests someone’s in for a great time. We can only hope it’s her, alone, with the bedroom door locked, a Demis Roussos record turned up to eleven, and that aforementioned bottle of gin.

You have to hand it to Prince Matchabelli, they sure knew how to roll out attention-grabbing advertising campaigns. Here, we are introduced to the novel idea that a woman can have two sides. Yes, TWO! She might be at work, in a suit pointing at things; she might be at a fancy restaurant behaving all ladylike… ‘but up close, she’s something else.’ Did we mention she has two sides? Explore both of yours by watching, in awe.

We desperately want Mrs Slocombe from the 70s sitcom Are You Being Served to turn up in the middle of this, saying something, crossly, about her cat. Be careful how you slap on that Hai Karate, chaps, because we can’t see many department stores putting up with this kind of tomfoolery in the fragrance section anymore.

This Tabu ad is actually rather subtle and well done (especially when compared to other 70s-tastic scent ads on our list), with a countdown to seduction… but are we shallow for thinking ‘those EYEBROWS!’ when she finally turns around? It’s in comparisson with today’s rather bushier brows, we know, but still. Also, she looks a little nonplussed and about to burst out laughing. Back to perfume – if you can get your mitts on a vintage bottle of Tabu, you really should grab it, because it’s sublimely filthy in the very best way.

‘When a woman puts Denim on a man…’ well, she probably shouldn’t wipe it all over his mouth, no? We’ve seen lots of men put fragrance on all by themselves, and have yet to witness one rubbing it into his lips, but perhaps this was something all 70s dudes did? We like to imagine after the director yelled ‘cut!’ on this one, the male model was immediately asking his female colleague what the hell she was playing at. Perhaps a pre-fragrance-filming tiff!

Enjoli is the ‘8-hour perfume for the 24-hour woman’, which has us wondering – why not a 24-hour perfume to match her cut and thrust lifestyle? If she’s not ‘cooking bacon in a pan’, she’s ‘blowing kisses’, and somehow managing to go to work in between. It’s non-stop (unlike the perfume, apparently). Yes, this entire advert’s take on Peggy Lee’s “I’m A Woman” might leave you wondering why, quite often…

Finally, for deliberately funny one, watch this commercial for ‘Charming’ (clearly a spoof of the Revlon Charlie ads) which was a sketch on the Donny & Marie Osmond Show. We love commedian and actress Ruth Buzzi as the second ‘Charming girl’ trying out for the part – a more realistic representation that we can definitely relate to!

Written and selected by Suzy Nightingale

We j’adore Dior – Designer of Dreams at the V&A

Perfume is the indispensible complement to the personality of women, the finishing touch on a dress.’ – Christian Dior

Showcasing couture gowns worn by Princess Margaret, Margot Fonteyn and Jennifer Lawrence, in Christian Dior: Designer of Dreams, the V&A has opened the world’s largest exhibition ever staged in the UK on the House of Dior. We went to gawp at the gowns, and of course, to swoon at the scent bottles…

How telling that – amidst room after room of sumptuous designs and rainbow walls of vivid colours, unless one peered at the labels – it was practically impossible to accurately date the array of garments and accessories. And how welcome that so many iconic fragrances are displayed as part of the overall design aesthetic of Dior.

‘The exhibition highlights Christian Dior’s total design vision,’ explain the V&A, ‘encompassing garments, accessories and fragrances. Flowers are emblematic of the Couture house and have inspired silhouettes, embroidery and prints, but also the launch of Miss Dior in 1947, the first fragrance created alongside the very first show.’

Fragrance and fashion have always gone hand in (scented) glove, but never more so than with Dior. No designer has simultaneously launched a new brand new fashion line and a fragrance. It was an audacious act that marked their groundbreaking, breathtaking course to this very day.

Lined-up in cabinets, perched on plinths or variously housed within a stand resembling a miniature palace; the Dior fragrances are shown as being vital to the overall development of the house, and their continuing success shows how warmly we have clasped the scents to our (in our dreams) Dior-clad chests.

Arranged into eleven sections, the exhibition traces the skill and craftsmanship of the ateliers, along with highlighting many of the designers who have worked under the Dior banner, always pushing the boundaries while keeping an elegant insouciance that remained true to Dior’s ethos.

Noses pressed against the glass, oh how we would have loved to smell some of the originals – an impossible task at such a large exhibition, of course, but merely gazing at the original sketches for the bottles, a saved invitation from that orginal fashion and fragrance launch, and the most lust-worthy flaçons you’ll see all year – it’s enough to transport most of your senses. We advise wearing your favourite Dior fragrance and inhaling deeply as you get giddy with the glamour of it all…

Christian Dior: Designer of Dreams runs from now until 14th July 2019, with tickets from £20. All concessions £15.

We highly advise booking your tickets now, as a day after opening they were sold-out until April. Even so, believe us, it’s worth the wait.

Written by Suzy Nightingale

Hump-day blues? Watch these 80s scent ads and smile

The 1980s were an absolute heyday for hyperbolic fragrance adverts, with many of the most memorable TV commercials having been made during the era. Featuring an array of film stars cutting their dramatic teeth while wafting the distinct aroma of ham, against a background of blaring pop tunes and symphonic orchestral mood music, they truly are a treasure trove to explore.

Here you we invite you to ignore the weather, make yourself a cup of tea, sit back and smile at these gems…

Did you know that Sharon Stone once starred in a Revlon Charlie advert? The roots of the fragrance are firmly in the first fragrant girl-power up-rising of the 1970s, but were still going strong in the 80s. Big hair? Tick. Dubious fashion? Puffed sleeves for days! When contemporary fashion designers reference the 80s for inspo, we don’t think they mean this look, but stil –  it’s a great fragrance and this makes us somewhat nostalgic.

We happen to catch British actress Jane Seymour as she nonchalantly picks flowers in her garden one afternoon, while wearing a prom gown (as one does). Sitting at her dressing table, she gives us her Ted Talk on why romance isn’t dead after all, in a breathlessly husky voice suggesting hayfever. A gloriously whimsical ad for Le Jardin de Max Factor.

In direct contrast to fluffy femininity exuding from the above, may we present an advert for Faberge Turbo Cologne so resolutely ‘Masc’ that the mere act of watching it may make you grow a moustache. Everything you could possibly want is present and correct: impossibly gravelly ‘movie trailer’ type male voiceover, futuristic graphics, a random image of a pouting woman. Simply amazing, catch us as we swoon!

We devoured the weekly dose of shoulder-pad and rhinestone-infused drama, but perhaps some of us missed out on the opportunity to spritz ourselves with the scent of Dynasty tie-in scents? No matter, let’s eavesdrop on Krystle and Carrington as they just happen to have bespokes fragrances made for each other, to keep the love alive…

There has surely never been such an array of pastel in one room as this Prince Matchabelli Cachet perfume ad, as the coiffured singer twirls amidst a whirl of ice-cream colours, leg-warmers and madly enthused dancers, declaring ‘I’m ready now!’ Not ready to light a cigarette any time soon with all that hairspray, we hope. P.S: Vintage bottles of this are apparently going for £195+ on eBay, so perhaps have a rifle around the legwarmer drawer to see if you have some?

By Suzy Nightingale

Follow E. Coudray’s fragrant reign

There are few fragrance houses still as relevant after almost 200 years as the wonderful Paris-based house of E. Coudray – which can trace its roots back to the reign of Louis XVIII, no less, and the year 1822.

The Paris-born founder was a doctor-chemist, Edmond Coudray (the ‘E’ in E. Coudray), who went on to enjoy a spectacular career, creating eaux de Cologne, pomades, creams and soaps for the crowned heads of France, Italy and England – including Queen Victoria, for whom the perfume ‘Reine Victoria’ was made.

Others gloried in names like ‘Gants Poudrés’ (powdered gloves), and ‘Rêve de Reine’ (the Queen’s dream). And in 1829 he also wrote a book, charmingly titled L’Art d’Être Belle (‘The Art of Being Beautiful’).

You can read more about their fascinating history in our page dedicated to E. Coudray and their regal begininnings, but for now let’s get our noses into why, exactly, they remain so popular today…

 

‘A creamy and refined oriental fragrance, the scent of Ambre et Vanille was created in 1935 and has remained one of the most beloved and enduring of E. Coudray’s compositions. Moving from an opening of complex citrus aromas into a gorgeous floral bouquet with delicate spice notes, the eponymous amber and vanilla subtly colour the fragrance throughout, adding an enticing gourmand quality to the scent.’

E. Coudray Amber et Vanille £65 for 100ml eau de toilette

‘A gorgeous floral fragrance originally released in 1950 to great acclaim, Givrine has been updated for modern tastes by the highly regarded nose, Evelyne Boulanger. After a delicate citrus opening, complex floral accords shine through for a cosy, inviting aroma. Light and ephemeral, the scent is an image of grace and poise.’

E. Coudray Givrine £65 for 100ml eau de toilette

‘Created by perfumer Randa Hammami, Iris Rose is a rich composition redolent of the classic floral scents that have for so long typified our expectations of elegance. Building from a sumptuous base of vanilla, patchouli and white musk, the fragrance opens up into a beautiful patina of subtle rose aromas, the top notes serving to lightly floriate the base notes rather than overpower them. The cumulative effect is light and breezy, yet firmly grounded, an ideal fragrance for a spring day or summer evening.’

E. Coudray Iris Rose £65 for 100ml eau de toilette

‘Created by prolific nose Christophe Raynaud, Musc et Freesia is a sparkling and bubbly floral composition with surprising hints of fruity green accords. With delicate raspberry leaf in the top notes, and a sumptuous bouquet of peony, cyclamen, lily and freesia in the heart, Musc et Freesia is a luxurious and delicately balanced scent that brings out the best qualities of its constituent components.’

E. Coudray Musc et Freesia £65 for 100ml eau de toilette

‘Launched in 1983, Jacinthe et Rose is one of the modern icons within the current E. Coudray range. Developed by Evelyne Boulanger, Jacinthe et Rose is a floral composition of exquisite nuance. The lush aroma of peach gives the scent a full-bodied quality, while sparkling top notes of vodka and bitter orange serve as an intriguing counterbalance to the sumptuous scent.’

E. Coudray Jacinthe et Rose £65 for 100ml eau de toilette

Buy them at Roullier White

There several more to tempt your fancy, including the fabulously opulent (and very boudoir-esque) body oils and sumptuously rich bocy creams – all in beautiful packaging that just begs to be displayed. And with their characterful yet never overwhelming scents, E. Coudray offer the most charming selection of fragrant offerings that are perfect to wear in our currently sweltering climate…

Written by Suzy Nightingale

 

 

The Perfume Bottles Auction 2018

Every year, some of the world’s most rare and beautiful perfume bottles are gathered together in one room, at the Perfume Bottles Auction (and going for eye-watering prices, as you’ll see, below!) ‘The longest-running specialty auction of it’s type worldwide, returning clients have come to expect unique, undocumented, and seldom seen bottles to be offered by the Perfume Bottles Auction.’

Bidding on these precious lots are flacon collectors and a good number of museum directors, all desperate to get their hands on these utterly stunning pieces. This year’s auction took place in conjunction with the International Perfume Bottle Association‘s 30th annual convention in Tyson’s, VA, matching the previous year’s already staggering result of $400,000 within a few dollars. Oh my goodness, how we would have loved to be there! Which of these would you have bid on, given a chance…?

1922 Lucien Galliard for Violet ‘Pourpre d’Automne’

Now we have the incredible results (and heart-flutteringly fabulous pictures of the bottles) of what they realised, as told to us by the Perfume Bottles Auction representative… ‘A large and enthusiastic crowd compeated with online bidders, multiple phone lines, and a number of absentee bids over 250 lots chosen to suit every pocketbook – resulting in a wide spread of wins from a 1925 Terre de Ritz figural powder box formed as a 17th century court lady ($120) to the 1940 Helena Rubenstein “Gala Performance” ($24,000, seen below) formed as an actress with outstretched arms standing in an elaborate stage-set box of ostrich plume and velvet.

Bottle designs of 1925 proved to generate special interest and some of the highest results, including the Julien Viard bottle for Myrugia “Besame” with it’s rare love-birds images on label and box ($19,200); the French comic-strip inspired black and white auk character for Coryse “Alfred” ($9,600); Rene Lalique‘s dancer and butterflies motif for Erasmic “de Lui” ($13,200); and the alluring fan-themed label, box, and scent name of Oriza L. Legrand “Eventail” (fan) topping the sale ($39,000) at triple it’s pre-sale estimate.

A fine grouping of R. Lalique items featured perfume bottles, powder boxes, hand mirrors, and a rare 1930 three-chamber perfume tester bed with miniature stoppers as nude maidens for Maison Lalique ($8,400). The auction drew particular interest from a number of museum curators over three historically significant Guerlain bottles including “The Moorish Bottle” a rare 1910 hand decorated bottle by Pochet & du Courval ($9,600, seen above). All three went to museum collections.

1830 Guerlain white opaline glass, with hand-written note and label.

Other highlights in the commercial bottle category include the surrealist female bust of 1941 Lilly Dache “Drifting” ($19,200); the 1938 Baccarat white crystal fan for Elizabeth Arden “Cyclamen” (9,600); and the 1927 Marblehead Art Pottery Egyptian pharoah bottle for Leigh “Amber Nile” ($10,200, see feature image at top of page).

The sale included several lots of perennially popular 19th century scent bottles featuring a Thomas Webb peachblow bottle with applied gold cherry blossoms ($960); an 1850s miniature gourd with hand carved Napoleonic images ($660); an 1887 silver-capped British porcelain monkey ($480); and an 1870s crystal chatelaine bottle with ruby, sapphire and pearl set silver mounts ($1,320).

Dominating the evenings offerings was a beautiful private collection of 1920s-1930s Czechoslovakian crystal bottles, which became a buyer’s paradise due to the large selection and variety, scattering winning bids to between $500 and $2,500, and sending an exceedingly rare Ingrid bottle simulating carved lapis birds soaring ($7,200, seen above)!’

Full results for this and past auctions can be found online at perfumebottlesauction.com

And for those of you hoarding stashed of fabulous flacons, consignments are now being considered for the 2019 auction in Chicago. For further information contact Auction Director: Ken Leach at [email protected]

Written by Suzy Nightingale

 

The top 3 perfume tips to ensure you're a nose in the know…

‘Can you help save my marriage?’ is probably the most – um, unexpected request we’ve had (terribly nice chap who phoned to ask for advice on the things he should tell his wife in order to justify buying himself a rather costly bottle of niche perfume. Long story short: no lawyers needed, in this instance). But generally we get asked the same kind of questions time and again.
So what does this tell us? Something we already knew from experience: the world of perfume can be a rather overwhelming and bewildering place. Full of confusing language and conflicting advice that could dizzy the best of us in to an olfactory coma, it’s often a confusing and even off-putting arena in which to set foot (or nose).
Here at The Perfume Society we are proud to be celebrating our third birthday – founded by Jo Fairley and Lorna McKay, we exist exactly because of this befuddlement. Our ethos is to bring perfume alive through our informative website, award-winning magazine, exclusive events and Discovery Boxes to try at home, and we always aim to make fragrance accessible to perfume-lovers of all abilities!
However experienced your nose is, it’s good to get a refresher now and again – and our FAQs section is jam-packed with tips for how to choose a fragrance, what the ‘fragrance families’ mean, how ingredients are harvested (and the best perfumes to smell them in) and so much more. But before you get flitting around all things fragrant, let’s start with our all-time top three tips your nose should know…

1 – How can I choose a perfume that’s right for me?
Short answer:
It’s a minefield, right? Where to even begin? Well, our first tip is to give a perfume time. So many of us spray, sniff immediately (bascially it’s just the alcohol you’re smelling, with perhaps a mere whiff of top notes) and walk away. STOP this immediately. Sorry to nag, but it’s never going to get you the fragrance you really want.
Further advice:
Initially, try the fragrance on a blotter (also known as a perfume ‘spill’); these should be available on perfume counters – and when you buy a Discovery Box from this site, you’ll find a pack of blotters inside. Allow a few minutes for the alcohol and the top notes to subside, and then smell the blotters. At this stage you may be able to eliminate one or more, if they don’t appeal – but it is really the heart notes and the lingering base notes which you will live with, and which are crucial.
Remember:  blotters are a useful way of eliminating no-hopers and lining up possibilities, but they’re not really enough to base a perfume purchase on.  You really need to smell a scent on your skin.
Do make the most of FR.eD: The Perfume Society’s ‘virtual fragrance consultant’ who you’ll find on this site here (the name’s actually short for Fragrance Editor). You can tell FR.eD which perfumes you’re keen on, and ‘he’ will make a personalised selection, suggesting up to six fragrances at a time for you to try, at various price-points. Genius!

2 – How can I make fragrance last longer?
Short answer:
If you moisturise your skin, this gives the oils something to ‘cling’ to, and will boost its staying power.  So, if the ‘matching’ body products are available, it’s a beautiful way to layer on your fragrance. If these range extensions aren’t available, go for an unscented body cream, butter or lotion which won’t clash with your chosen scent. Think of it as a primer for perfume.
Further advice:
Try spraying your hair as well as your skin – though be careful if the perfume is dark in colour as you may unintentionally dye your hair… Hair is porous and will waft the scent even longer than on your skin in many cases.
Spritz a scarf with with scent and the heat of your body will make the fragrance bloom. Also a handy way to try a new fragrance you’re not sure of. Bored of it? Simply take the scarf off and try something else…
Remember that the nose becomes desensitised and quickly gets used to the notes of your perfume. Although you may not be able to smell it at all after 30-40 minutes, your friends and colleagues may still be able to, so ask a friend if they can still smell it before dousing yourself afresh (tempting as we find it!)

3 – My perfume seems different to how I remember it.  Is my nose playing tricks…?
Short answer:
Possibly – our memories of scent can sometimes differ wildly to the reality. However, it’s also entirely possible your old favourite’s formula has been changed. This is because, when an ingredient is classified as a potential allergen – by IFRA, the International Fragrance Association – two things may happen:  it can be banned altogether, or its use limited by percentage, to minimise the risk of a susceptible perfume-wearer reacting.
Further advice:
When an ingredient’s re-classified, perfumes may be ‘tweaked’ by the manufacturer.  In some cases, a process called ‘fractionation’ – which allows ingredient manufacturers to remove the allergenic molecule of an fragrance note, while leaving the rest intact – can allow the continued use of that ingredient.
Case in point:  oak moss – invaluable in the creation of the chypre family of perfumes – has become restricted.  Thierry Wasser, Guerlain’s in-house ‘nose’, explained to us that he now uses a ‘fractionated’ oak moss.  ‘However, when you fractionate an ingredient, it leaves a “hole”:  there is something missing,’ added Thierry.  His solution to filling the sensory ‘hole’ in oak moss was to add a touch of – believe it or not – celery.  It’s impossible to discern, to the rest of us – but it gave the rounded quality to that so-essential note that Thierry needed to return the classic Guerlain creation Mitsouko to its former, long-lasting glory.
Occasionally, however, a perfume may change because the company which makes it is bought by another, and the formulation changed.
Written by Suzy Nightingale
 
 

Collectively obsessed with scent: you have to see this mega mini perfume collection!

Obsession isn’t just the name of a perfume – it’s a very good description of the fragrant madness that creeps in to every perfume collector’s life sooner or later. And there are many differing types… The completists – those who absolutely must have every single version of  particular scent; the vintage fans who insist on owning (and sometimes wearing, if they’re in good enough condition) history, bottled. Talking of bottles, perhaps the largest collecting community within the perfume world are those who fill their homes (and garages, and sheds) with particular types of flacon – from ultra rare examples that reach eye-watering prices to retro scents in charmingly bizarre shapes – for these collectors, the perfume itself is actually secondary: they’re alllll about the bottle.

For the latest edition of The Scented Letter magazine, we focused on the mysteriouly enticing world of collectors and their collections – and one of the main images we used was kindly supplied by a VIP Subsciber, Phoebe Tan, who happened to mention ‘Oh yeah, my mum collects minis. She has quite a few…’ For “quite a few” please see the featured photo, above, and you’ll understand why we just had to interview Phoebe’s mum, Lindsay Yeo, to find out more.

Lindsay: ‘I first became interested in perfume when I went shopping in a department store about 30 years ago. There was a promotional event for Lancôme where I did a questionnaire that proposed one of their perfumes to match my personality. The winning one was… Magie Noire. I really loved it. Before this, I used to hate perfumes because people around me wore very heavy fragrances (this was in the 70s). But this event made me discover that I just hadn’t found a perfume I truly liked! That same day I bought my first full size perfume which came with a miniature bottle that caught my eye…’

Once the fragrant bait has been taken, it’s a short step to full-on perfumista status, we’ve long known. And Lindsay mused how it was ‘…funny I still have the full size bottle long after it was emptied.’ Of course we had to know how many she had stashed, and Lindsay confessed: ‘I just went to count and I currently have close to 500 bottles (most of them are minis!). This is the first time I’ve counted and I am quite shocked, actually.’
When asked what set her on this miniature-perfume collecting path, Lindsay explained ‘I really only wanted to collect the miniatures so initially I would buy full-size bottles for the minis. The first few I bought were: Magie noire by Lancome, Paloma Picasso , Lou Lou, Anais Anais by Cacharel, Ysatis by Givenchy, Ruffles by Oscar De La Renta, Gucci No.3, Beyond Paradise by Estee Lauder. Years later I found shops that sold the minis on their own – without the need to buy the full-sizes – and that is how I started collecting. It’s kinder on the pocket!’

So what exactly does a collector look for in a bottle – what catches their eye and makes them think “I MUST have that!”? For Lindsay… ‘I look out for interesting designs. [NB: The “lighter” shaped bottle, above, is a particular favourite of Lindsay’s.] To me, perfume bottles are pieces of art! They are so beautiful. Miniatures are not easy to come by so I really treat them all as treasures.’

Phoebe Tan with her miniature-bottle collecting mum, Lindsay Yeo.

Clearly, the passion for perfume runs in the blood, as Phoebe Tan first became interested in chemistry and then – when she made the connection between science and the art of perfume – she was totally hooked. Now setting her heart on a career in fragrance, Phoebe has been studying (and is soon to graduate from) for her MSc Cosmetic Science’ at London College of Fashion, University of the Arts London. And having sniffed some of her “course work” examples, we’re pretty sure Phoebe’s own fragrances will be added to future collector’s scent stashes…
Written by Suzy Nightingale

Tired of turkey? Sick of of sprouts? Allow us to transport you to the glam world of 50s & 60s scents…

If you’re anything like us, you’ll have had just about enough of it all by now.
The C word.
It’s lovely and everything – don’t get us wrong – but as it’s been building up for what seems like half the year and we are now all completely exhausted, we think it’s time to sit down, grab a cuppa and wrap your nose around something utterly glamorous (and with nary a mention of tinsel, trees or flippin’ turkeys.)

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Photo credit – carolinehirons.com

In our extensive library of pages to explore here at The Perfume Society, we have filled some of them with the concise histories of perfume from Ancient Egypt to the modern day. But for now we’re going to have a brief flit to the ultra glamorous world of the 50s and 60s perfumes for now – do you happen to know which famous perfume began life as a bath oil…?
Well, as the one and only Estée Lauder told our co-founder, Jo Fairley, one afternoon over afternoon tea at New York’s Plaza Hotel: ‘Back then, a woman waited for her husband to give her perfume on her birthday or anniversary. No woman purchased fragrance for herself. So I decided I wouldn’t call my new launch “perfume”.  I’d call it Youth Dew,’ (a name borrowed from one of her successful skin creams).
vintage-youth-dew-ad-bb1
Launched in 1953, Youth Dew had a clever dual-purpose: ‘… a bath oil that doubled as a skin perfume to buy, because it was feminine, all-American, very girl-next-door to take baths. A woman could buy a bath oil for herself without feeling guilty or giving hints to her husband.’  And when Mrs. Lauder declares that women’s status got a boost when ‘a woman felt free to dole out some of her own dollars for scents,’ who can argue with that…?
Fashion designers really began to wake up to the world of perfumery in this vibrant era: the ‘boy wonder’ Yves Saint Laurent unveiled his ‘Y’ in 1964, and Rive Gauche in 1968.  And then came mini-skirts. The Beatles. Pop Music. The Pill. Parents everywhere lay awake at night worrying about their daughters’ virtue in ‘Swinging London’ and beyond – and things would never be the same again: it was as if the whole focus had shifted, through this ‘Youthquake’. And did they wear perfume? You bet…
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Fashion maven Mary Quant launched a range of fragrances – including the aptly-named Havoc. ‘I wanted a truly modern scent. Most of the perfumes are so old-fashioned, I wanted something frankly sexy,’ she said.
And by the sounds of the ‘men found panting’ in the tongue-in-cheek advertising copy, she got it…
Fancy a scent-skip to Ancient Greece or the Roaring 20s…? Step into our fragrant time machine right here!
Written by Suzy Nightingale

Deco London’s Sophia Fannon-Howell shares her five favourite smells…

Sophia Fannon-Howell is the Founder and Creative Director of Deco London –  a vintage-inspired fragrance house for contemporary gals (and guys) about town. Indeed, you can visit our dedicated brand page to learn all about how she came to launch the company and why she’s personally connected to two of the most interesting (and some may say infamous) characters in British history…

As you might suspect for someone who has now devoted their life to all things scented, Sophia admits to being rather fragrance obsessed, surrounding herself in beautifully perfumed things whenever possible. Some of her revelations we could have expected, but the smell of painting fences and something that reminds her of childhood trips to the supermarket? Well, it’s definitely not the weirdest we’ve come across! We find asking people to connect with five deepest-rooted scent memories can be like a time-travelling psychiatry experiment… what would your top five smells of all time remind you of, we wonder?

Sophia Fannon-Howell:

  1. Creosote – Just because it reminds me of growing up in the 70s/80s and hot summers where the pavements would melt and people would be outside painting their fences. They don’t seem to do that anymore, do they? But in those days everyone seemed to be doing that every summer! As soon as I smell it, I just see bright sunshine – the days when summer seemed to last forever, outside all day on your bike or running wild in the woods with your friends. The smell of freedom!
  1. Grinding coffee – I love this smell, I think it’s because we used to go with my dad shopping to the supermarket on Saturdays, where I grew up in Farnham. It was a big event. Across the road was a little coffee shop and we’d order some, they’d grind it in front of you and put it in a little bag and put a sticker on for you. You can get good coffee all over the place, now, but then it was really quite a special trip.
  1. Lavender – I’ve always adored the smell of lavender but can’t pin it to a specific memory. I put a few drops in my kids bath every night, because it definitely does calm them down. I’d like to think, actually, that I am making scent memories for my kids, and that lavender will be one for them in the future. If they’re upset I put a few drop on their pillow, too. I always have stacks of essential oils around the house but this is the one I use most. I love it in the garden, too. In my last house we lived in the side on Box Hill, right on the chalk – I planted huge swathes of it because it loved the chalk so much. Now we’ve moved I just had to plant loads more – my husband used to keep bees and of course they love it, too.
  1. Roses – Who doesn’t adore roses? I also have a tendency toward rosy perfumes. People can be prejudiced against rose and lavender perfumes because they see them as ‘old fashioned’ but I think you can have classic scents without them being old-lady-ish. I don’t know if there’s a particular rose I love more than any other, but I like to walk around my garden just burying my nose in the roses as often as possible. Heavenly!
  1. Cedarwood – As in the actual wood, and the essential oil. It’s something that’s present in a lot of perfumes but doesn’t necessarily hit the headlines. It’s just so good, so important. We’ve got some drawers at home that the carpenter who made them lined with cedar, and every single time I open a drawer that smell hits me, I love opening those drawers! And it even subtly scents the things inside.