During holiday time we usually see, in magazine and on tv, a lot of commercials of perfumes. Which is good, some of them are really beautiful short films. As I wrote in this post my favorite commercial is the one of Bleu de Chanel.
Perfume seems to be a perfect Christmas gift, but I think (and probably I’m not the only one) that being a very personal accessory, only husbands (boyfriends), wives (girlfriends), close friends and relatives should gift someone with a perfume.
Ah… perfume, what a great accessory, maybe the most important, because a good smell is more memorable than a bag. Even if it’s very based on our personal taste, we all recognize a good scent while not everybody recognizes a designer bag.
I decided to write this post to share with you some history, facts, quotes and curiosities about perfume.
The word perfume comes from Latin. “Per” means through and “fumus” means smoke. French later called “parfum” the scent sprung from the burnt of incenses.
Incense was just the first ever form of fragrance, discovered by Mesopotamians (the citizens of current Iraq) 4,000 years b.C. It was burnt during religious rituals.
So, the history of perfume is ancient.
It was essential for Egyptian civilization, since it was a constant presence during the whole life of men, an intermediary between them and Gods.
Oils and essences were prepared by priests and their helpers and the preparation took months of careful work.
First used for religious and therapeutical purpose, fragrances started to be used by Egyptians also during their every day life.
During the reign of Queen Hatshepsut perfume reached a very high importance, a real industry of perfume was born.
Did you know that the 98% of a fragrance is a blend of water and alcohol? The 1,99% is composed of an oily substance and only the 0,01% is made of perfumed molecules.
While we all know that Marilyn Monroe used Chanel N˚ 5 , Joy by Jean Patou was one of the fragrances used by Jackie Kennedy.
Joy was created in 1930 by Henri Alméras. It’s a luxurios and precious fragrance, made with a massive quantity of May rose and Grasse jasmine. A ounce of this fragrance required 10,600 jasmin flowers and 28 dozens of roses.
Presented as “le parfum le plus cher du monde”, which means “the costliest perfume in the world”, Joy symbolized Jean Patou’s mock of the financial crisis of 1929. Patou himself decided to gift 250 of his best American clients with a bottle of this unique parfum.
Joy became the second best selling perfume of all time after, of course, Chanel N˚ 5.
Joan Crawford, Gloria Swanson and Dolores del Río used Youth-Dew by Estée Lauder, created in 1953 as a bath oil. Estée Lauder wondered by women didn’t wear perfume every day but only for special occasions. So she decided to create a bath oil which was rich and long lasting. Women liked it so much that, as predicted by Lauder, they started using it as a perfume.
Men really appreciated Youth-Dew defining it “simply the sexiest fragrance ever”.
Madame de Pompadour, mistress of King Louis XV, spent an amount of money corresponding to 500.000€ / $614,000 / 392.000£ to buy perfumes. At that time fragrances were hugely expensive.
Many people apply perfume on the wrists then rubbing them but this is a mistake. Doing this affect the chemical structure of the fragrance so… don’t do it!
Another common habit is to apply it behind the earlobes. It’s a kind of automatic gesture, I think we saw it many times in a commercial, in a movie, done by our mothers and grandmothers. It’s pretty feminine, isn’t it? Well, feminine but probably useless. Years ago I read a book about geishas and I found that these fascinating women don’t apply perfume behind the earlobes because it seems that our body produces a substance that nullifies it.
I personally like to apply perfume on my hair. Some say that it ruins it (the hair) because it contains alcohol, but I don’t think it’s true, so far it didn’t ruined mine. I love having scented hair!
I also like to apply perfume on my clothes, but of course you should avoid to do it on white or soft ones because it could really stained and ruined them.
That’s it for this first part, stay tuned for the second. And have a great, scented weekend!
PHOTOS: METMUSEUM.ORG, TUMBLR, JEANPATOU.COM, ESTEELAUDER.COM