Vintage Advertisement: Crown Perfumery Violet

overland monthly violet vol xxvii no 157 1896

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.

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.

5 on 5: Perfume Ads That Never Should Have Happened

christies bottles

I’m constantly gathering images for my posts about art history and perfume advertising, and I’ve come across many beautiful examples from the past century. I’ve also encountered some ads that have not aged well at all. Here are five perfume advertisements that seem (to me, at least) unappealing, borderline offensive, or just plain odd.

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The Art of Perfume Ads: Lady Gaga Fame

Fame, the first fragrance to bear Lady Gaga’s name, will be released in September. First disclaimer: I haven’t tried it yet, so this isn’t a review. Instead, I’m taking a lighthearted look at the advertising image that was released in July. Second disclaimer: although I’m a general admirer of Lady Gaga’s music and self-presentation, I’m not an expert on her every word and deed. This is just my own, Rorschach–blot-like impression of the ad. And one quick warning: this post will include further nudity, albeit of an artistic nature. (NSFW!)

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