Burt Reynolds’s Favorite Fragrance…and his Ad for Elizabeth Taylor White Diamonds (1998)


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As we bid farewell to American actor Burt Reynolds (1936-2018), let’s look back to his ads for Elizabeth Taylor’s perfume White Diamonds…and some of his other scent-related moments.

White Diamonds was released in 1991 and was a best-selling celebrity fragrance long before every pop star and her sister jumped on the celeb-scent bandwagon. Taylor and Reynolds had already been friends for a long time (he reportedly advised her on negotiating her $1 million salary for Cleopatra), and he was featured in television and print ads for White Diamonds in 1998. Kenny Rogers also did the honors in his own set of White Diamonds ads.

(These appearances obviously pre-dated Brad Pitt’s bizarre 2012 campaign for Chanel no. 5, which was hailed as a groundbreaking move—a male star as the face of a top-selling feminine fragrance. Apparently we’d already forgotten about the Men of White Diamonds.)

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The Art of Perfume Ads: Alexander McQueen Kingdom


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My husband and I recently went to see the new documentary McQueen. I’ve been an admirer of Alexander McQueen’s work for a long time—even before his death in 2010. In 2011 I was a frequent visitor to “Savage Beauty,” the retrospective exhibition of Alexander McQueen’s designs at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and I’m still haunted by McQueen’s artistry and the magical way it was showcased there…

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Perfume Review: Dawn Spencer Hurwitz Eau Cerise, Figue Interdite, Bakul Medjool


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My latest post on Now Smell This is a review of three new fragrances from indie perfumer Dawn Spencer Hurwitz: Eau Cerise, Figue Interdite, and Bakul Medjool. They comprise her new collection, Les Fruits Défendus (Forbidden Fruits), Volume I.

You can read it here.

Image: detail of Édouard Manet’s The Street Singer (circa 1862), Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.

Passing Fancies ~ August 2018



Reading: Marta McDowell, The World of Laura Ingalls Wilder: The Frontier Landscapes that Inspired the Little House Books (a gift from Mr. Professor; highly recommended!)

Audio: Went to see my longtime musical love Lloyd Cole at City Winery; now I’m playing and replaying lots of his albums in the aftermath

Art: A recent visit to the Whitney

Video: “McQueen,” the documentary film about designer Alexander McQueen

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Upcoming Class: “Travel in American Art” at the Brooklyn Brainery




Later this month I’ll be teaching a one-night art history class with the Brooklyn Brainery. I thought I’d share the details here, even though it’s not perfume-related!

The class is called “Wish You Were Here: Travel in American Art” and it will be held at the Brooklyn Museum on Thursday, August 23 at 6:30 pm. You can find more details and a registration link at the Brainery website.

Image: Christopher Grant La Farge (American, 1862-1938). Small Card Decorated with Mount Fuji and Flowers, 1880. Watercolor and metallic paints on one-ply card stock, 3 1/2 x 5 in. (8.9 x 12.7 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Bequest of Christiana C. Burnett, 2001.47.5