Just Because: Erté, “Compact Vanities”

erte compact vanities

Erté, Compact Vanities (1974), via Wikiart.



Josephine Baker, Arpege, and a Decorating Fantasy

In an age when the phrase “style icon” is used to describe virtually any actress or model who hires a professional stylist and receives loans of designer gowns for red-carpet events, it can be hard to remember that there was a time when true, one-of-a-kind stars like Josephine Baker captured the public imagination.

But, to the point: Am I the last person to learn that Josephine Baker’s favorite perfume was Lanvin’s Arpège?

lanvin bottle

I don’t remember what exactly I was searching for, but I came across this interesting piece of fragrance trivia…and something even better.

Continue reading “Josephine Baker, Arpege, and a Decorating Fantasy”

Vintage Perfume: Penner House, California, 1938


This photograph shows a vanity designed by Paul T. Frankl, who furnished the Los Angeles home of comedian and radio personality Joe Penner and his wife Eleanor in 1938. It’s a classic piece of Art Deco design and, best of all, it displays more than two dozen perfume bottles.

I see Vol de Nuit, Shalimar, and Liu (Mrs. Penner was apparently a Guerlain-lover!), Bellodgia by Caron, and Cassandra by Weil. I’m sure I’ll identify a few more bottles as I keep studying this photo. Can you name any?

Image: Paul T. Frankl, vanity in Penner House, Holmby Hills, California, 1938. Reproduced in Christopher Long, Paul T. Frankl and Modern American Design, 2007.