Quick Reads: Houbigant, Mucha, and La Rose France


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.)

Image: H-Prints.

The Art of Perfume Ads: Houbigant (1946)

Houbigant Eternal Feminine

The French fragrance house of Houbigant seems to have turned to the history of art even more than other houses of the mid-twentieth century. I’ve already written three posts about advertisements for Houbigant’s Chantilly. This ad is a general promotion for the brand, rather than any specific fragrance, and it illustrates the idea of “the Eternal Feminine” with a work of classical sculpture.

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The Art of Perfume Ads: Houbigant Chantilly (1990s)

Chantilly--woman behind lace--various women's mid90s

A while ago, I wrote about a Houbigant Chantilly perfume advertisement from the 1960s and its unlikely visual source (an altarpiece painting by Raphael!). The good people at Houbigant seem to have flipped through their art library more than once over the decades. This ad from the 1990s, which places its model behind a scrim of white Chantilly lace, is very probably influenced by an iconic work of modern photography.

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The Art of Perfume Ads: Houbigant Chantilly (1960s)

In 1941 the classic French perfume house of Houbigant released Chantilly, an Oriental fragrance with notes of bergamot, lemon, neroli, jasmine, rose, ylang-ylang, carnation, orris, sandalwood, vanilla, benzoin, tonka, and musk. (I’ve just consulted its entry in my trusty H & R Fragrance Guide; you can also read more about the fragrance’s history here.)

Chantilly has been promoted in many, many print advertisements over the past seventy years, and more than once its ads have incorporated famous works of art. In this magazine ad from 1965, a cherub nestles on a cloud (of Chantilly lace!) over the slogan, “Nice girls do wear Chantilly.”

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