perfume museum: 3 posts

Chanel No 5 Exhibit in Paris : May 5th to June 5th, 2013

From May 5th until June 5th, 2013 the Palais de Tokyo in Paris will host an exhibit dedicated to Chanel No 5. The No 5 Culture Chanel exhibit will trace the links between the iconic fragrance and  the avant-garde movements it inspired.  There will be works of art, photographs, archives and other objects connected with the perfume.



The exhibit sheds “light on this unique and timeless perfume; whether through her favorite destinations like Venice, Russia or her villa, La Pausa or through the creations of her artist, poet and musician friends Cocteau, Picasso, Apollinaire, Stravinsky, Picabia.” Via

The No 5 Culture Chanel Exhibition
May 5th until June 5th 2013
Palais de Tokyo, Paris
13 Avenue du Président Wilson 75116 Paris, France
+33 1 49 52 02 04

Touring The Art of Scent Exhibit at the Museum of Art and Design New York

Victoria’s Note: Today Daisy Bow will take us through the Art of Scent Exhibit at the Museum of Art and Design in New York. You may know Daisy from her comments here and from her fun blog, Cool Cook Style. Daisy recently completed her doctoral degree in French Literature from New York University, and she is currently teaching a course on French Food and Culture as part-time faculty at the New School. Her love affair with perfume began with Dune at the tender age of 14. She has smelled great ever since. 

“Scent can do what all art does: change the way we perceive the world,” says Chandler Burr, the director of the olfactory art department at the Museum of Art and Design. According to him, the fundamental concept for The Art of Scent exhibit, its layout, and its chronological organization has its genesis in a talk that he gave in 2008 at The Times Center when he was still the scent critic for the newspaper. For the sold-out event, individual blotters for each of the 15 different fragrances chosen were provided to over 400 guests. As the runners did their work, Burr played a piece of music that was also representative of the style of the scent distributed. Each work was accompanied by visual presentations of painting, sculpture, and architecture too.


Since its opening in New York, much of the discussion on The Art of Scent has focused on how Burr uses different artistic movements and schools to talk about different works of olfactory art. Burr emphasizes that “none of these analogies are exact.” The parallels drawn between scent and other mediums exist to provide us an intellectual tool with which to talk about it as art. “I want to place scent as an artistic medium in the center of all the arts: music, dance, literature, painting, and sculpture. [Scent is] just one medium. Each medium is different. Some of them used certain schools and some of them didn’t. For example, Romanticism from roughly 1800-1840 was ascendant in literature, poetry, and painting. However Romanticism in music was in the late 1800’s. [Alfred] Einstein, the great cataloguer of music, takes the Romantic period up to 1940. Not every medium used it at the same time,” Burr explains.

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Visit to The Osmotheque Perfume Museum in Versailles

Victoria’s Note: Today we have a special report from the Osmothèque perfume conservatory and museum in Versailles. It’s written by Jola, whom you might recognize as behemot from the comment section here (Behemot is a character from one of her favorite novels, Bulgakov’s Master and Margarita). Jola is a graduate of the film studies department at Jagiellonian University in Krakow, and she works as a film script editor. She recently visited the Osmothèque in Versailles, France, and her experience was  so memorable that she wanted to share it with other Bois de Jasmin readers.

When I first became interested in perfume about two years ago, I noticed many perfume writers were critical of the modern versions of such classics as Guerlain L’Heure Bleue or Miss Dior. Everyone praised the older versions of these perfumes, noting the use of high quality ingredients in the past and degradation of quality in modern formulas due to environmental, medical, and cost-related reasons. While reading that Jicky and Diorissimo are “thin” nowadays or that Caron Poivre doesn’t have its spicy bite, I longed to experience these perfumes in their full splendor. If only I had a time machine!

It turns out that I need not travel back in time to smell vanished gems like Jacques Fath Iris Gris or Coty Chypre. I only have to visit France. Since 1988, the Osmothèque perfume museum and conservatory located in Versailles has specialized in preserving and restoring old fragrance formulas, allowing anyone–professional perfumers and passionate perfume lovers–to study an impressive collection of fragrances. Only at the Osmothèque can you smell the exhilarating verdancy of the original Balmain Vent Vert or sigh over the gourmand decadence of Parfums de Rosine Le Fruit Défendu, a perfume created by Coco Chanel’s rival, fashion designer Paul Poiret.

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