perfume advertising

The Art of Perfume Advertising: Princess Isabelle (1980s) and Monet

princesse isabelle 1981 ad

This is such a perfectly summery perfume advertisement that I had to post it. I don’t know anything about Princesse Isabelle, or about this fragrance, other than that it seems to be a romantic floral eau de toilette.

What I do know is that Princesse Isabelle selected a painting by Claude Monet for this ad…


It’s Monet’s Jeune fille à l’ombrelle tournée vers la gauche (Essai de figure en plein air), dated 1886, now in the collections of the Musée d’Orsay in Paris (see here for more information).

It’s such an apt choice of image. This is just how a perfume should make its wearer feel in the spring or summer: an impression of flickering light, a cool spot of shade, a crisp white dress, with no extraneous detail or narrative to distract from the sheer sensory pleasure of that moment.


The Art of Perfume Ads: A Modern Take on Bourjois Evening in Paris (1961)

evening in paris bourjois 1961

I hope that your Christmas, if you were celebrating, was very Merry! In the spirit of opened gifts and fulfilled wishes, here is a Christmas advertisement for Bourjois Evening in Paris, dated 1961. The “dreams come true” in this ad are assorted Evening in Paris gift sets. (I own a vintage bottle of Evening Paris, mostly likely dating to the 1960s, and I love it.)


The Art of Perfume Ads: Jean Cocteau and Elizabeth Arden My Love (1950s)

arden cocteau my love 1959

Fragrance aficionados don’t give much recognition to Elizabeth Arden’s fragrance line these days, and I can’t really blame them (us)—the brand’s perfumes, and even their marketing, aren’t too memorable. Looking at vintage perfume advertisements, however, I often experience moments of surprise and delight. I didn’t know that Arden used to offer a perfume called My Love, packaged in an inkwell-shaped bottle, and that Jean Cocteau had created a print ad for this fragrance.


The Art of Perfume Ads: Saks Fifth Avenue Paradis

saks paradis

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…”