Category: old lady perfume

Crown Perfumery Crown Heliotrope, 1939

Perfumer unknown. New materials create spikes in the market. Witness the glut of Cool-Watery perfumes using dihydromyrcenol, ‘radiant woods’ of the iso-E super school and the ongoing norlimbanol-heavy ‘dry woods’ craze. Better still, look at the explosion of violet, lilac, heliotrope perfumes from the turn of the 20th century. These early soliflors were hugely popular and traces of their style…

Bruno Fazzolari Au Delà and Seyrig

Image Philip-Lorca diCorcia. Perfumer Bruno Fazzolari. It’s a fine point, but Bruno Fazzolari’s perfumes Au Delà (2013) and Seyrig (2015) don’t imitate perfumes from the past. Instead, they take their genres apart and discover what makes them tick. Even though Fazzolari refers Seyrig as “inspired by the aldehydic motifs of the late ’60s and early ’70s perfume” it steers clear…

digging (into) vintage: Madame Rochas and Hermès Calèche

(photo Cecil Beaton for Vogue 1948. Charles James Gowns) At the start of the 1960s Guy Robert released two aldehydic floral chypre perfumes—Madame Rochas in 1960 and Hermès Calèche in 1961. The two perfumes have similarities but a back-to-back comparison reveals the differences that make the two perfumes diverge steadily over time. Though young, Robert quickly came to be one…

digging (into) vintage: Cacharel Anaïs Anaïs, 1978

Photo, Susan Meiselas.  Hanging out on Baxter Street, 1978.  From The Prince Street Girls | New York (1976-2011) Perfumers Roger Pellegrino, Robert Gonnon, Paul Leger and Raymond Chaillon Cacharel Anaïs Anaïs is an unsurpassed example of top-down design in corporate perfumery. Employing marketing strategies intended to launch products into the advertising pantheon of ‘Household Name’ commodities such as Coca-Cola and…

digging (into) vintage: Oscar by Oscar de la Renta, 1977

  (Left: Oscar de la Renta  early 1970s. Right: Yves Saint Laurent 1974) Perfumer Jean-Louis Sieuzac made some of the most memorable and influential perfumes of the 1970s-1990s. Yves Saint Laurent’s era-defining Opium (1977) smothered the oriental genre in spice, making the previous big-girls like Shalimar and Youth Dew seem quaint.  In the 1980s Sieuzac skipped the match, but piled…

Chanel Coromandel, 2007

  Perfumer Jacques Polges. A house like Chanel has to play a few different angles at once if they want to sell their products. With Cormandel they tie together a few different narratives that target a number of key demographics simultaneously. It’s an odd dance that Coromandel performs seamlessly.  Coromandel is a Hippy Patchouli and it’s an Old Lady Perfume. It’s for…

digging (into) vintage: Jean Desprèz Bal à Versailles, 1962

(image of ewa aulin, source unknown) Perfumer unknown. Bal a Versailles went right over my head when I first tried it. It seemed like an old-school, animalic/powdery floriental. Whether you like that sort of perfume or not, the balance of the elements is crucial. I thought Bal a Versailles just missed that balance—not enough powder to hide the skank. But as…

Crown Perfumery Malabar, 1919

  (image The Lady with the Veil by Alexander Roslin) Perfumer William Thomson Crown Perfume is now defunct, having been bought and unceremoniously dropped by Clive Christian. Apparently, he just wanted the crown image/bottle. I find it a little tough to draw a bead on Malabar not for its old-fashioned tone, but because what I sniff today might have nothing to do with…