The Art of Perfume Ads: Agent Provocateur L’Agent (2011) (with asides on Calvin Klein and Katy Perry)

agent provocateur agent ad

Agent Provocateur has released a few good fragrances over the past decade or so, although its most recent release (Fatale) was very disappointing. I like the original Agent Provocateur scent, and Maitresse; I know that L’Agent also has some fans. I don’t think the collection is very heavily advertised in the United States, however, because I don’t remember seeing this advertisement when L’Agent was launched in 2011.

It’s a surprisingly stark and gloomy-looking ad for a women’s perfume. There’s a bit of cleavage, but nowhere near as much as we see in other perfume ads from L’Agent Provocateur (it’s a lingerie company, after all!)—and the chess board gives the image a cerebral twist…

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The Art of Perfume Ads: Helena Rubinstein Emotion (1965)

Helena Rubinstein via Paper Pursuits Emotion

I still have Helena Rubinstein on my mind after viewing the Jewish Museum’s exhibition about her. It seems like a good time, then, to take a closer look at this advertisement for the fragrance Emotion, launched by Helena Rubinstein in 1960.

The ad, which dates to 1965, shows a stylish couple posed against a background of wavy black and white lines that resembles the patterning of a particularly mod zebra. The man is kissing the woman’s hand, or perhaps inhaling her perfume.

The backdrop is really the point, though—we can find an embracing couple in perfume ads from every decade of the past century, but that bold (even overpowering) design places this image squarely in the middle of the 1960s and nowhere else…

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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.)

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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.

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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…”

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