I hope you enjoyed THE FIRST PART of the posts dedicated to perfume.
For this second part I found other interesting information about this incredible accessory.
|“You Are Never Fully Dressed Without Perfume”|
Grasse, a small town in Provence (in the south of France) is considered the capital of perfumery industry, which developed there in the XVI century. Many “noses” train there and a high percentage of the citizens of Grasse is involved in the industry of fragrances. Its climate facilitates flower-growing and the town is famous for its jasmine, which is celebrated during the Fête du Jasmin, in August.
Part of the novel “Perfume” written by Patrick Süskind is set in Grasse.
“Shalimar” by Guerlain is considered the first modern oriental perfume.
When it was launched, in 1921, it didn’t have success. Raymond Guerlain designed the bottle, and his wife used to wear it; during a journey to New York on a ocean liner it caused a sensation. After the success in US, it was presented in Paris at the Exposition des Arts Décoratifs, in 1925, where it was awarded for its beautiful flacon.
The name comes from the gardens of Shalimar, where Mughal emperor Shah Jahan used to walk with his beloved wife Mumtaz Mahal, for whom he will later build the gorgeous mausoleum of Taj Mahal.
Maybe some of you haven’t seen the long version of “LA LÉGENDE DE SHALIMAR”, shot in 2013 by Bruno Aveillan, with the gorgeous Natalia Vodianova.
Shalimar means “temple of love” in Sanskrit. An old ad of the fragrance said “Before Shalimar was a perfume, it was a garden of love”. Isn’t it romantic?
|A Shalimar ad from 1927|
Van Cleef and Arpels was the first jewelry brand to produce a fragrance. In 1976, “First” was launched and the name wasn’t chosen by chance.
Jeweler Pierre Arpels had the idea of creating the perfume, to enhance women’s beauty and seduction. Perfume as an ornament. How true! And much less expensive than a jewel.
Queen Cleopatra made impregnate the sails of her ships with perfume so that her arrival was preceded by a pleasing scent.
Caterina de’ Medici, arrived in France in 1533 to marry Duke of Orléans Henry of Valois (future King Henry II), brought with her perfumer Renato Bianco, later renamed René le Florentin.
While French courtesans really stank, Caterina and her following smelt really good so everybody wanted to stay close to them. In fact, the Florentines used to bring with them silver or golden openwork globes, called pomanders, filled with scented herbs and pomades. They carried them attached to the belt and often brought them to their nose.
That marked the beginning of the use of perfume at the French court (Caterina de’ Medici also introduced in France the use of high heels for aesthetic reasons, but this is another story), while in Florence there was already a real cult of fragrances.
|Detail of “Portrait de Femme” by Nicholas Neufchâtel|
|The portrait of a Florentine Noblewoman. She holds a pomander|
Duchess of Bracciano Anna Maria Orsini, princess of Nerola, introduced the essence of bitter orange, which she loved, to the French court of Louis XIV. She called it neroli because she was Princess of Nerola.
Louis XIV, known as Sun King, loved the scent of orange flower and wanted orange flower water to pour from the fountains of Versailles during parties. He also made plant orange trees around his residences.Marquis de Pompadour and Madame DuBarry, both favorites of King Louis XV, used to spend huge amount of money to buy fragrances to please the king.
Marie Antoinette particularly liked the smell of roses and violets. Her perfumer was Jean-Louis Fargeon. It’s said that he gained the queen’s favour thanks to a scented pair of gloves. He then become the supplier of everything the she needed for her toilette.
Napoleon Bonaparte really loved fragrances. He used to apply perfume on his uniform, even before battles. He was interested and curious and took part in the making of the fragrances for him and his wife Joséphine. Rancé was his favorite house of perfumes.
Coco Chanel was the first female designer to produce a fragrance, Chanel N°5, in 1921. Jeanne Lanvin was the second. Lanvin started as a milliner (like Chanel) and strongly believed in the importance of accessories. Her vision of fashion and life wouldn’t have been complete without the creation of fragrances.
She worked with perfumer Marie Zede, a kind of mysterious woman of Russian origin, who created perfumes like “Kara Djenoun”, “Comme-Ci Comme-Ça”, “My Sin” (and many more).
|The flacon of “My Sin”, a big success launched in 1924|
The most iconic perfume by Lanvin was instead created by a young perfumer, André Fraysse, when he was 27. It’s, of course, “Arpège”, launched in 1927. The name comes from the musical term “arpeggio”. I’m not a musician but the simplest definition I found of arpeggio is “the notes of a chord played one after the other”. One again, Jeanne Lanvin was inspired by her daughter Marguerite, who practiced the piano.
|A vintage ad of Arpège|
Another big success was “Scandal”, launched by Lanvin in 1933.
|The flacon of Scandal|
Almost every fragrance contains rose and jasmine.
Perfume interacts with fabrics, colors and weather. That’s why during summer it’s better to use a light fruity fragrance. When it’s humid a light scent is preferable, too. Light colors go well with fresh and citrusy scents while dark ones go well with spicy fragrances.
While many people collect miniature perfumes (they’re so cute, aren’t they?) for real collectors the most sought after perfumes are first editions with their original packaging.
Some bottles of perfume are so beautiful that I would buy the fragrance only to display the flacon, but I love THESE PAINTINGS OF FAMOUS BOTTLE OF PERFUME, they’re perfect to decor a “powder room”.
That’s all for part 2, part 3 is coming soon and it will be dedicated to quotes about perfume.
|A vintage bottle of perfume made of Lalique crystal|
To write this post and the previous one I did a lot of research. I found some information reading books and articles, not always about perfume, and I checked the sources carefully. If some you has found any mistakes please let me know!
PHOTOS: PINTEREST, TUMBLR