Andy Warhol, Polaroid photograph of perfume bottles, 1979.
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’ve never smoked, and I don’t intend to start. But… if I’d been around in 1918, when this advertisement was published, I might have been tempted to try Milo Violets.
These cigarettes were “delicately scented,” with “gold tips,” perfect “for the woman of discernment.” And they apparently not only smelled lovely and enhanced a woman’s personal style, but also encouraged an enthusiasm for modern art, judging by that painting hanging behind the two women.
Image: perfume advertisement for Thierry Mugler Angel, 1994, featuring the actress and model Estelle Lefébure.
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.)