Nothing can transport you back in time like a fragrance. They say that your sense of smell is the most powerful and evocative sense, and it’s true: Emeraude reminds me of my mother, Quorum, my husband, and Halston Z-14 reminded me of my teens and guys who bathed in a cologne—rather than indulging in a spritz or two.
“A woman who doesn’t wear perfume has no future.” – Coco Chanel.
This may have been a dramatic overstatement. However, when I was in the business of selling perfume, quotes such as these, gave women confidence when she entered a room! And Chanel No. 5 is one of the most popular fragrances of all time. A bottle of it is sold every 30 seconds (including me).
Coco Chanel also stated that women should wear perfume wherever they hoped to be kissed. Wise words indeed – please note that this does not mean ‘layered’ in perfume, as perfume counter girls armed with spray bottles will advise you. No one should be able to smell your perfume unless they’re that little bit closer than is polite; then, it should be something delicious and intoxicating.
While researching which perfumes were favored over the decades, I was surprised how many of these I’ve actually owned. Over the years, I’ve tried Anais Anais, Shalimar, Opium, Poison, Red, and Patou 1000 before I finally settled on Chanel No. 5. Of course, I selected one of the most expensive perfumes on the market, but I guess there is a good reason why it’s been a bestseller since it was launched in 1921!
Vintage Perfumes: The Fragrances that Defined Each Decade
It’s surprising how many of these perfumes are still best sellers even now, but then why would they go out of fashion?
Popular Perfumes in the 1940s.
L'Air du Temps by Nina Ricci (in a pretty glass bottle with a bottle stopper fashioned as two doves).
After the war, lighter and fresher perfumes became more popular, one of which was the still-popular Miss Dior by Christian Dior in 1947
Popular Perfumes in the 1950s.
Femme de Rochas was a rich, sultry perfume aimed at the femme fatale created in 1944.
Arpege by Lanvin is a romantic floral perfume created in 1927 but became particularly popular during the 1950s.
Max Factor’s Hypnotique and Primitif (as advertised by Jean Patchett above) were popular and affordable perfumes for the masses compared to the fragrances by the big fashion houses.
Soir de Paris by Bourjois was a popular fragrance amongst teenagers during the 1950s. It was discontinued in 1969 but relaunched in 1992
Popular Perfumes in the 1960s.
YSL Rive Gauche was a popular 1960s scent.
Hubert de Givenchy created L’Interdit for Audrey Hepburn, and she wore the perfume for many years before it was released to the public in 1957. She featured in the adverts for L’Interdit throughout the 1960s.
Tuvache’s Oh! de London is a bright, sparkling scent that perfectly captured the mood of the swinging sixties.
Guerlain introduced the heady oriental scent Chamade in 1969.
Popular Perfumes in the 1970s.
Charlie by Revlon and Diorella by Christian Dior, a perfume for the independent woman who has everything, were both very popular (both contain citrus and musky notes).
Opium by Yves Saint Laurent was launched in 1977 and was a heady, rich oriental evening perfume. (I also wear the recent release: Black Opium for evening events.)
Anais Anais by Cacharel was launched in 1978 and was an immediate hit (my brother gave this to me as a Christmas Gift).
Did I list one of your favorite perfumes?
Or, did I mention a perhaps a fragrance you’ve never dared to try?
A patient once gave me a small bottle of a magnificant perfume. This was in the 1960's. Wore it on my first date with the man I later married only to learn he had no sense of smell. Enjoyed your post and your storiesReplyDelete
I wore Shalimar (Guerlain) for a long time and still keep a bottle in the back of my bathroom cabinet. I especially loved the first Dolce & Cabana perfume I found once in Vegas in the late 90s but could never find again. Now they have many fragrances but none like the first one. My favorite these days is still CK's Obsession. Thanks for sharing.ReplyDelete
Cool as moose, Connie! What a fascinating post--and definitely in the "who knew?" category, about you! I've only very occasionally worn perfume, mostly during my younger years, but my mother loved Chanel No.5, Arpege, and certainly Grandmother had a L'Air du Temps on the dresser. I loved the doves. I had a dear friend who loved Opium and Femme de Rochas--the scent today still brings her back to mind. My brief fling with perfume was Charlie, which this particular girl friend also wore. Anyhow--brings back memories. Thank you.ReplyDelete
70s was obviously my era, as I had all three of those! Anais was my favourite.ReplyDelete