1970s perfumes: 9 posts

Fragrances That Influenced Perfume History : 100 Great Perfumes Series 5 / 10

I’m happy to bring back the much requested series on fragrances that influenced perfume history. If you’re new to this feature, please start with Series 1, in which I describe how this project came about and how I made the selections.  Perfumery evolves slowly, and classical ideas continue to influence new creations. As I mentioned before, you need not enjoy classics (and you certainly shouldn’t feel bad about disliking Chanel No 5 or not “getting” Guerlain Mitsouko). Every perfume, as is the case for art, music or literature, has its own era and its special flavor, and some of us gravitate to contemporary examples. But smelling classics at least once is important if you want to understand where modern perfumery gathers its inspiration. treemoss

Series 1 :: Series 2 :: Series 3 :: Series 4 :: Series 5 :: Series 6 :: Series 7 :: Series 8 :: Series 9 :: Series 10

41. Coriandre          (Jean Couturier, perfumers Gérard Pelpel and Jacqueline Couturier, 1973) The 1970s were the era of the chypre, a mossy woody fragrance family. It developed much earlier in the 20th century with Coty Chypre giving it a modern form, and then Guerlain Mitsouko making it more accessible, but the love affair with moss really exploded in the 1970s. If you enjoy this genre, the 1970s perfumes are going to be a great discovery.

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Estee Lauder White Linen : Fragrance Review

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In 1978, Estée Lauder launched White Linen as a part of a trio called “New Romantics.”  The New Romantics also included Celadon (a green floral) and Pavilion (a white floral).  The three New Romantics scents were pioneers in the concept of fragrance layering.  The ad copy promised “three incredibly pretty fragrances designed to interact with each other.  Wear one.  Wear two.  Wear all three together.”

Celadon and Pavilion have been mostly lost to time, but Sophia Grojsman’s White Linen was an immediate blockbuster that is still in the Lauder line-up three decades later.  To me White Linen smelled like nothing else out there while bearing a stylistic resemblance to Chanel No 22 (immense use of aldehydes over abstract white floral heart).  It smelled nothing like the big Orientals that had just taken hold, and if it were meant to be worn concurrently with Celadon and Pavilion the result would have been explosive (think about combining Pleasures and Beautiful). On its own, White Linen had a massive and imaginative signature.  To combine it with another scent of equal power would be unthinkable—in today’s terms.  In the late 1970s, perfume was still constructed and worn boldly.

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Estee Lauder Private Collection : Perfume Review

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Today’s guest post is brought to you by Anne-Marie. She is a museum curator and historian living in Canberra, Australia. Her mother wore Yardley’s April Violets for over fifty years, and this is what sparked Anne-Marie’s interest in perfume. You  can also find Anne-Marie’s reviews at Beauty on the Outside.

“Oh, it’s from my private collection.”

Thus would Estée Lauder reply when people asked her about the intriguing perfume was wearing. It could not be bought. At first she shared it only with Princess Grace of Monaco and the Duchess of Windsor (Wallis Simpson). In 1973 Mrs Lauder was finally persuaded to put the fragrance on the market and she kept the name, Private Collection.

Whether or not this is true, Private Collection is a brilliant example of fragrance marketing. Its story makes me think of Givenchy’s L’Interdit, a bespoke fragrance created for Audrey Hepburn and launched commercially in 1957. We are told that Estée Lauder tried to keep Private Collection “to herself”, just like Hepburn, who upon heard the proposal to release her fragrance cried, “But that is my perfume, I forbid it! (Mais c’est mon parfum, je vous l’interdis!)”

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Ralph Lauren Lauren : Vintage Perfume Review

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Lauren was one of the greatest American perfumes that made a big splash in the 1980s, but where is it today? Ralph Lauren counters rarely feature the familiar red bottle shaped like an ink well. Moreover, like most classics, Lauren got so many face lifts that it’s barely recognizable. I’m still learning to like it in its pale green and soft version, but my memory of the juicy cantaloupe and jasmine folded around mossy cedarwood is still too poignant. My readers Michelle, MaryAnn and Renée felt the same way, and I’ve decided to review Lauren and turn to you for possible alternatives to this lovely fruity floral fragrance.

Now, ‘fruity floral’ and ‘lovely’ rarely appear in the same phrase on perfume blogs, mostly because the onslaught of identical and boring fruity florals has devalued this charming perfume family. Lauren is a great example of how appealing and delightful the marriage of flowers and fruit can be. Right from the moment you put it on your skin, it feels sparkling and refreshing, like a sip of iced cocktail. It’s green and tangy like Granny Smith apple skin, but also velvety like a ripe melon.  In today’s Lauren, the top notes are mostly green—a tangle of leaves and a squeeze of tart grape juice.

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Houbigant Essence Rare : Vintage Perfume Review

Houbigant is a fragrance house with a remarkable legacy. Its Fougère Royal created in 1882 by talented Paul Parquet was the first fragrance that successfully fused the manmade ingredient coumarin with natural aromatics. The majority of fragrances trailed by men today are descended from this abstract and effervescent composition. By the time Robert Bienaimé took over the reins from Parquet as the chief Houbigant perfumer, the house had several beautiful fragrances to its name: Le Parfum Idéal, Violette Pourpre and Coeur de Jeannette. Bienaimé created several other distinctive blends, including Quelques Fleurs before opening his own house Bienaimé Parfums in 1935. Essence Rare was one of the last few fragrances he designed for Houbigant before his departure.

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