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).
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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.