Gloria Vanderbilt (1924-2019) and Vanderbilt Perfume

Tags

,

Gloria Vanderbilt, photographed by Horst P. Horst, 1966

Today we heard that Gloria Vanderbilt has died at the age of 95.

The headlines are interesting — since Vanderbilt lived such a long and kaleidescopic life, every one begins with a different signifier.

Socialite. Heiress. Fashion Icon. Artist. Actress. Anderson Cooper’s Mother. Writer. Designer. Jeans Queen…

Continue reading

Perfumed Pages: Ali Smith, “Autumn”

Tags

, , , , ,

Thanks to my friend A., who always makes excellent book recommendations, I’ve been reading Ali Smith’s cycle of seasonal novels—Autumn (2016), Winter (2017), and Spring (2019). (I just finished Winter and I’m waiting for a copy of Spring to become available at the public library!)

In Autumn, the character Daniel Gluck, a 101-year-old former songwriter who’s nearing death, drifts into a reverie or dream populated by loved ones from his century-plus on earth. His imagined company includes:

“…the painter, the one that turned him copiously down, well, that’s life, he can even smell the scent the painter wore, Oh! de London, bright, sweet, woody, when he first knew her, then she got older and more serious and it was Rive Gauche, he can smell it too.”

Continue reading

Throwback Thursday: An Interview in “Inside Jersey” (2012)

Funny, how time flies. I was recently updating some of my background information here on the blog, and I remembered an interview that I gave to a reporter for the Star-Ledger (based in Newark, New Jersey) a long time ago. Since it only appeared in print, in the December 2012 issue of Inside Jersey, I was never able to link to it. However, I’ve tracked it down via Newspapers.com and saved a PDF of the article…

Continue reading

Rebel Wilson’s “Rebelle” in InStyle Magazine

Tags

, , , , ,

Australian actor Rebel Wilson is the face of InStyle‘s May 2019 issue, and for this cover and interview, the magazine photographed her in a series of shots inspired by classic (if occasionally over-the-top) perfume ads of the 1970s and 1980s.

Here’s Rebel wearing a slinky black gown and reclining on a couch with a bouquet of orchids at her head…

Continue reading

A Few Scented Lines from Walt Whitman’s “Song of Myself”

Tags

, ,

 

In honor of the bicentennial of Walt Whitman’s birth!

 

2.

Houses and rooms are full of perfumes, the shelves are crowded with perfumes,

I breathe the fragrance myself and I know it and like it,

The distillation would intoxicate me also, but I shall not let it.

 

The atmosphere is not a perfume, it has no taste of the distillation, it is odorless,

It is for my mouth forever, I am in love with it,

I will go to the bank by the wood and become undisguised and naked,

I am mad for it to be in contact with me.

Walt Whitman (1819-1892), excerpt from “Song of Myself”

Perfumed Pages: Joan Didion, “Goodbye To All That”

Tags

, ,

Joan Didion college photo.png

Joan Didion (undated)

“I still believed in possibilities then, still had the sense, so peculiar to New York, that something extraordinary would happen any minute, any day, any month.”

I just finished reading Joan Didion’s classic essay collection Slouching Towards Bethlehem (1968), which I’ve been meaning to read for ages and recently received in a Boxwalla subscription.

I noticed a few few smell-related references in one essay—“Goodbye to All That,” her 1968 reflection on loving and leaving New York City. Didion lived in New York from 1955, when she won a guest editorship at Mademoiselle, to 1963, at which point she moved back to her home state of California with her husband, fellow writer John Gregory Dunne.

Here are those references, with added commentary of my own…

Continue reading

A Retro Fragrance Tip for Your Holiday Weekend

Tags

, ,

pittsburgh press.png

Headed out of town this weekend?

On May 27, 1910, an ad for the Rosenbaum Company store in a Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania newspaper made some suggestions for toiletries that its customers might want to pack for their Memorial Day outings. These items (on sale!) included facial cream, hydrogen peroxide, “Lusterite” emery boards, and tinted face powder (and “powder leaves,” which do sound useful for travel, if they’re similar to the “papier poudre” blotting papers still available today)…

Continue reading