Screen Time: Perfume in “Stranger Things” (Season 3, Episode 2)

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Stranger Things, S 3 Ep 2: “Mall Rats”

This post is spoiler-free!   😉

My husband and I just watched the latest season of the Netflix series Stranger Things, and there are so many things I could write about it… but I’ll focus on a fleeting perfume-related moment in the second episode!

In this season, a new mall called Starcourt has just opened in the small town of Hawkins, Indiana. In the shot above, Max (with the long red hair) is introducing Eleven (“El”) to the joys of shopping.

(I lived this experience as a teen, in the malls of New Jersey, and I loved this sequence.)

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The boys of “Stranger Things,” out of their element

Meanwhile, Mike (in the yellow shirt) wants to buy a special gift for El, who’s his  girlfriend. He heads to Starcourt with his loyal buddies Lucas (in the tank top) and Will (in the striped shirt).

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A department store perfume counter at “Starcourt Mall”

I took a screen cap of the boys browsing at a department-store perfume counter because I wanted to see what they were sniffing.

I was a little surprised when I looked closely at the bottles later, because most of them seem to be Avon fragrances — i.e., not department-store brands at all. Some of them were available in 1985 (when Season 3 of ST takes place) but they were only available through Avon representatives.

In any case! What are they?

Ebony magazine, October 1978

This was the one I recognized first:  Avon Tempo, with its snazzy bottle. Here’s a Tempo ad from 1978. This one was definitely still available through Avon in the mid-80s.

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A vintage Avon “decanter”

And here’s a thimble-shaped bottle like the one visible below Mike’s arms. This bottle was available with a choice of several classic Avon fragrances, including Charisma and Bird of Paradise. Some online vendors/dealers date this bottle to the early 1970s, so it’s not actually accurate for this episode.

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Avon Black Suede

Near the thimble bottle: Avon Black Suede, seen from the back. Black Suede is a men’s fragrance, so its placement at this counter is a little odd. And it was in production in the 1980s, although only available through Avon.

Louis Féraud Vivage

I spy several boxes and a bottle of Louis Feraud Vivage on the counter itself. (There was some kind of Avon/Feraud fragrance licensing connection in the 1980s.) Vivage was released in 1984, so this one is timed correctly…even though, again, it was probably an Avon product and not available at the mall.

Avon’s “keepsake” California Perfume Company perfumed talc in vintage-style packaging

There might also be a canister of Avon’s California Perfume Co. dusting powder (launched in 1977, no longer available in 1985), seen from the back…although this could be my imagination.

Next to the talc shaker, I also see a bottle with a green plastic cap that could be Prince Matchabelli Windsong.

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Cacharel Anaïs Anaïs (released in 1978)

What would I buy for Eleven? If I were to choose an Avon fragrance for her, it would be Sweet Honesty. And I think Camp Beverly Hills would suit her new look, but it wasn’t released until 1986.

Another pick would be Cacharel Anaïs Anaïs, a soapy white floral perfume with stunning ads photographed by Sarah Moon (above).

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Bonne Bell advertisement in the South Bend (Ind.) Tribune, 1984

For something even more affordable (Will is very young and he’s probably shopping with his allowance!), I’d recommend the drugstore classic Bonne Bell Skin Musk (released in the 1970s, but still widely available).

What would you recommend as a scented gift for El?



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