Kahlo and Perfume: One of My Scent Events on AllArts.org



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A pleasant surprise during a hectic day: I found out that my presentation “Frida Kahlo: A Perfumed Portrait” had been covered by two writers for the All Arts website.

I’m grateful to Gillian Edevane and Britt Stigler for attending last Thursday’s event and writing such a detailed and observant summary of my talk and Kahlo’s taste in fragrance.

You can read it here!

Notre-Dame in Perfume Advertising: 4 Vintage Images


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Édouard Baldus, Facade of Notre-Dame de Paris, between 1851 and 1870. Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division

Since France has been the center of Western perfumery for several centuries, and so many major fragrance houses have been based in Paris, it’s no surprise that Paris landmarks — including the cathedral of Notre-Dame de Paris — make cameo appearances in so many perfume advertisements.

Earlier today, Notre-Dame was engulfed in flames. The cause of the fire hasn’t been established yet. While we’re reflecting on this event, let’s take a break from the news footage of the conflagration and look back at a few images of Notre-Dame in fragrance ads…

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5 Lilac Fragrances for April


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Mary Cassatt, Lilacs in a Window, 1880-1883. Oil on canvas. Metropolitan Museum of Art, Partial and Promised Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Douglas Dillon, 1997. 1997.207

April is the cruellest month, breeding
Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing
Memory and desire, stirring
Dull roots with spring rain.

T. S. Eliot, The Wasteland (I. The Burial of the Dead)


If you asked me to name my favorite flower, or my favorite floral note in perfume, lilac wouldn’t be the first one I’d name. It might not even appear in my “top five.” Yet every April there’s a day when I have the opportunity to visit the blooming lilac trees in the Brooklyn Botanic Garden and I suddenly want to spray myself with a lilac fragrance.

Here are a few recommendations, including three from independent female perfumers and one from a preeminent female “nose.”

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Billie’s Best, on Her Birthday


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Portrait of Billie Holiday and her dog Mister, New York, N.Y., ca. June 1946, William P. Gottlieb Collection, Library of Congress)

April 7th is Billie Holiday’s birthday! “Lady Day” was born on this day in 1915 (and died in 1959, far too young).

I’ve been listening to her music since my early twenties but I never thought to wonder, until today: what was her favorite perfume?

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