I love the big department stores of Midtown Manhattan; I started visiting them at a very young age, when my mother would bring me to see the holiday windows, and I still shop at some of the remaining stores: Lord & Taylor, Bloomingdale’s, Saks Fifth Avenue. (Gone, but not forgotten: B. Altman and Bonwit Teller!)
I didn’t know until recently that Saks Fifth Avenue offered its own women’s fragrance, called Paradis, in the 1980s. I have no idea how Paradis may have smelled, but the ad claims it was “an Eden of florals, of luxury and romance…”
I’ve been writing a series of posts on art historical references in perfume ads, past and present… you can read them all via this link, or under “Art and Perfume Advertising” in the Categories menu to the right.
One of the major mainstream fragrance releases for autumn 2013 was Estée Lauder’s Modern Muse, with the tagline “Be An Inspiration” and an advertising campaign featuring the model Arizona Muse. In both the print and television ads, Muse (the person, with the perfume!) makes an appearance at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York.
In my art historical research, I occasionally come across perfume and cosmetics advertisements in old periodicals. I really should share some of my favorites here, since I know you’ll appreciate them!
This ad for Crown Perfumery’s Violet perfume was published in Overland Monthly magazine in 1896. I love the rendering of the packaging and bottle (which Clive Christian adapted for his own use when he purchased Crown in 1999!) and I’m intrigued by the “No chemicals used” line, since I didn’t realize that “all-natural” was being used as a fragrance marketing claim as early as the 1890s.
I came across this beautiful advertisement from 1909, in which Houbigant used an illustration by Alfonse Mucha to promote a fragrance named La Rose France, and wondered how it came to be. Then I found this post on a blog devoted to Houbigant’s perfumes and perfume bottles, which answered all my questions and then some. Do give it a read!
(To re-read my own take on a present-day Anna Sui perfume ad that pays homage to Mucha, see here.)