Diana Vreeland on “Perfume – Fragrance” in “MEMOS: The Vogue Years”


My copy of “Diana Vreeland MEMOS: The Vogue Years” arrived yesterday, and I spent last evening curled up in bed perusing it. It’s really a treat.

The best thing about this book is that it reproduces Vreeland’s actual memos and letters, rather than just quoting from them. You get to see the typed pages (all dictated to an assistant at Vogue, of course!), often with additions in DV’s own handwriting.

So, I tried taking a photo of a memo dated February 24, 1969, with the subject line “PERFUME – FRAGRANCE,” but it didn’t turn out very well. Instead, I’ll just transcribe it here…

“By far and away the most important fragrance is the fragrance of a house as it is the ambiance of the owner. It seems that very few Americans, unless they have spent a long time in Europe, particularly in England, have any real sense of scenting a house. It is not considered in the general sense of people, important. There are several that are very extraordinary.

Guerlain’s Plant Marine and Floris’ Tantivy. You are immediately alerted to the presence and whole aspect of the house and owner when you come in the door, you smell this.

In the bedroom quarters, even if there is only one room and one bath, the smell of bath oil is fresh and divine as when it is mixed with water it is never [cloying] and it leaves a divine smell in the bathroom and all the rooms around it.

I am told men do not like bath oil if they are sharing a bathroom with their wife. Well, that’s too bad and nothing we can really get into.

One of the best of the Floris scents is something with a number on it, I can’t think of what it is but it seems to me it’s 572.

Re: Perfume and Cologne. I do think that strong colognes are almost the best smells in the world. They are particularly good if you have not just taken a bath — that is to say, if you are leaving the beach or when the skin is really warm. These colognes have to be of the finest quality and not just liquid to rub in with a slight scent.”

(I wish I could smell those home fragrances from Guerlain and Floris!)


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