Thursday, May 31, 2007


Few great names in the world of 20th century glass cause as much excitement as that of Lalique, the leading French glassmaker. Rene Lalique (1860-1945) opened his first glass shop in Paris in 1905 and started to produce finely crafted bottles for Coty. Innovative techniques allowed his beautiful designs to be mass-produced at a low cost and to a high standard, which enabled him to attract clients such as D'Orsay, Houbigant, and Roger et Gallet. Lalique's Art Nouveau pieces typically feature floral and figural etched designs and are extremely valuable.

The Art Deco period saw the company build on earlier successes. Shapes were bold and sometimes featured over-sized decorative stoppers. An original box can greatly increase the value of these bottles. Over the years, Lalique produced thousands of bottles for more than 60 perfume manufacturers, and it is still in business today.

Lalique "Le Lys" perfume bottle for D'Orsay

Lalique "Habanito" perfume bottle for Molinard, circa 1937

Lalique "Amphitrite" perfume bottle, circa 1920

See more in Lalique Museum website.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Angel: Smells Good Enough to Eat

When you read Angel's ingredients, you might think that you are reading the ingredients of a cake or pudding, not perfume. Since 1990's, there was a host of fragrances using unconventional perfume raw materials for its ingredients. But it was Angel - with its base notes of vanilla, chocolate and caramel, heart notes of berries and honey, and an intense accord of bergamot and patchouli - that first gave the world a taste for what perfume historian Michael Edwards has called "gourmand perfumery."

Created by Olivier Cresp and Yves de Chiris for the fashion designer Thierry Mugler, Angel was a perfume that indeed smell good enough to eat. The perfume was based on the specifications of Mugler who wanted to recapture his childhood with the "scent of the fairground, of little cakes, chocolates and caramels". The result was a tapestry of olfactory emotions, childhood memories and peals of carefree laughter. It was like a fun fair, with its odors of cotton candy, chocolate, and sugared almonds.

Today, Angel is France's bestselling scent - maybe the fact that vanilla notes are said to attract men might just have something to do with its huge success. Or maybe, the smell is just stimulating to one's appetite that make it irresistible. Like a mouth-watering treat, that when it hit your senses, you just want to go for it.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Celebrity Scent - #7 Paris Hilton

Paris Hilton is all over the news these past few days, and while the controversial socialite usually loves the limelight, the reason for this one may not really what she wanted. The iconic heiress, who is a part-time model, reality-tv show star, movie starlet, fledgling recording artist, fashion designer, the subject of a famous sex-video, and soon-to-be jailbird, also has her own line of fragrances.

In May 2004, Paris was involved in the creation of a fragrance line by Parlux Fragrances. The perfume was be simply named Paris Hilton and it was said that Paris herself mixed all the scents together to form the new fragrance. The perfume launch was a success, in fact it was followed by a 47% increase in sales for Parlux, which was predominantly due to sales of the Hilton-branded perfume. Banking on that success, Parlux released Paris Hilton for Men, a cologne for Hilton's male admirers, as well as another fragrance called Just Me by Paris Hilton, which is available for both women and men. Another perfume titled Heiress by Paris Hilton was released in October 2006 and a counterpart for men, Heir by Paris Hilton followed.

Print Ad for "Just Me"

Video: Paris Hilton in Dublin launching "Heiress"

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Collected Quotes #3

"Perfume is a promise in a bottle."
— Sophia Grosjman

"A perfume needs to attract the eye
as much as the nose
— Francois Coty

"A perfume is like a cat burglar in your brain;
it has the key with which to pick the lock
and unleash your memories
— Roja Dove

"To create a perfume, you have to be a servant
of the unconcious. Each idea evolves and transforms,
but they should be a surprise with each note
— Serge Lutens

"I think allure is something around you,
like a perfume or like a scent.
It's like a memory... it pervades.
— Diana Vreeland

Sunday, May 6, 2007

Shalimar: Romantic and Seductive

Shalimar is one of the flagships of French perfumery. Created by Jacques Guerlain, it is an extraordinarily rich and spicy oriental fragrance. The name comes from the Shalimar gardens in Lahore, which were created for the Emperor Shah Jahan (who also commissioned the Taj Mahal) in honour of his wife. The flacon is an ornate batwing bottle reminiscent of the fountains in the gardens of oriental palaces. The sapphire-coloured, fan-shaped stopper is inspired by the traditional customs of those mysteriously enchanting countries.

Launched in 1925, Shalimar is exotic and sensual thanks to the blend of bergamot, jasmine, iris and vanilla enveloped by balsamic notes. The scent itself came about quite by accident. Playing around one day, Jacques Guerlain added a new synthetic vanilla fragrance, ethyl vanillin, to Jicky, the perfume created by his uncle. The vanillin unexpectedly intensified Jicky's oriental character, and Guerlain realized he had created a seductive new scent. Shalimar is, indeed, indisputably sexy. Scent expert Roja Dove once described it "as close to the edge as you can go and still stay within the realms of good taste." In fact, during the roaring twenties, it was said that there were three things no respectable woman shoud do - smoke, dance the tango, and wear Shalimar.

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Celebrity Scent - #6 Britney Spears

While we have yet to find out if her life would have a happy ending, Britney's life is indeed akin to a modern day fairy tale. From being a mousekeeter in Disney's Mickey Mouse club to being one of the highest selling pop artist of recent years. Although recently her career seems to be spiraling, and having to deal with all sorts of controversies, she was once one of the biggest endorser, with products ranging from books to toys to video games and to cosmetics.

In 2003, she endorsed an Elizabeth Arden fragrance named "Curious" for which she earned a reported US$12 million. Designed as a "seriously sexy scent", the fragrance gross sales was US$100 million after one year, becoming the best selling perfume of 2004. Following the success of Curious, Britney released "Fantasy" in 2005. The perfume's tagline was "love’s ability to overwhelm you when you least expect it". It was contained in a round fuchsia bottle with gleaming green Swarovski crystals and a ring pattern that represents the pursuit of everlasting love.

In April 2006, she launched Curious: In Control as a limited edition fragrance. And earlier this year saw the release of Midnight Fantasy.

Curious video ad:

Fantasy video ad:

Britney Spears Beauty products website.

Britney Spears' Fantasy website.

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Fragrance Facts: The Fragrance Wheel

In 1983, Michael Edwards, a consultant in the fragrance industry, invented a new way to classify fragrances according to its families. Called fragrance wheel, this classification is now widely used in retail and fragrance manufacturing.

According to this scheme, there are five standard families: Floral, Oriental, Woody, Fougère (pronounced 'foo-jer'), and Fresh. The first four families are classified as "classic" while Fresh are newer fragrances that have arrived due to improvements in fragrance technology. With the exception of the Fougère family, each the families are also divided into three sub-groups.

Floral - Floral, Soft Floral, Floral Oriental

Examples: Masculine - Agua Lavanda by Puig, Insensé by Givenchy. Feminine - Chanel No 19, Anaïs Anaïs by Cacharel, L'Air du Temps by Nina Ricci, Charlie by Revlon

Oriental - Soft Oriental, Oriental, Woody Oriental

Examples: Masculine - Obsession for Men by Calvin Klein, Joop! Homme by Joop!, Le Male by Jean Paul Gaultier, Equipage by Hermes, Egoiste by Chanel. Feminine - Jean Paul Gaultier "Classique", Angel, Opium by Yves Saint Laurent

Woody (also called Chypre) - Wood, Mossy Woods, Dry Woods (also called Chypre)

Examples: Masculine- Givenchy Gentleman, Fendi Uomo, Vetiver by Guerlain, Aramis, Van Cleef and Arpels, Quorum by Puig, Antaeus by Chanel, 212 Men by Carolina Herrera. Feminine - Cuir de Russe by Chanel, Mitsouko by Guerlain, Chypre de Coty.

Fresh - Citrus, Green, Water

Examples: Masculine - Kenzo Pour Homme, L'Eau D'Issey pour Homme by Issey Miyake, New West for Him by Aramis, Eau Sauvage by Dior, 1881 by Cerruti, D&G Masculine by Dolce & Gabbana, Happy by Clinique. Feminine - Escape by Calvin Klein, Inis by Fragrances of Ireland, Aquawoman by Rochas, Cristalle by Chanel, Green Tea by Elizabeth Arden, Diorella by Christian Dior.


The Fougère family is placed at the center of this wheel since they are large family of scents that usually contain fragrance elements from each of the other four families. The term 'Fougere' is French for 'fern' but fern's don't actually smell like this. The name derives from a now discontinued fragrance by Houbigant called Fougere Royale (Royal Fern) which was the first fougere fragrance.

Examples: Masculine - Polo Sport by Ralph Lauren, Platinum Egoiste by Chanel, Cool Water by Davidoff, Jazz by YSL, Paco Rabanne pour homme.