I’m a longtime fan of Atlas Obscura, so I was thrilled when its editors were interested in my idea for an article about the perfumer Ann Haviland. I came across Haviland’s name by chance, and the more I read about her work, the more fascinated I was by her innovative approach to perfumery in the 1910s and 1920s. She was a woman ahead of her time.
I hope you’ll enjoy reading the article, which you can find here. Please feel free to share with any friends who might also be interested!
Note: This beautiful illustration was created for the article by artist Whooli Chen. I think it’s perfect for this story. Thank you, Whooli!
November 11 is Veterans Day, and I’m marking the occasion with this World War II-era cover illustration from the Saturday Evening Post. This G.I. certainly seems to be enjoying the customer service he’s receiving at the perfume counter.
Illustration by John Newton Howitt (1885-1958) for the Saturday Evening Post, published January 17, 1924.
I’m looking forward to trying English Oak & Recurrant and English Oak Hazelnut, two new fragrances from Jo Malone. In the meantime, I’m thinking about their visuals.
According to perfume Yann Vasnier, “the idea of the forrest [sic] and English oak” was a starting point that Jo Malone wanted to explore. The brand’s Vice President of Global Fragrance Devleopment Celine Roux explains, “The inspiration started with the English oak tree. A powerful and noble symbol, which lies deep in the heart of the English woodland. A place of mystery and enchantment, where legends take root and imagination takes flight. And nowhere better captures this magic and mystery quite like Sherwood Forest in Nottinghamshire, famous for its tales of wandering knights and outlaws – and Robin Hood, of course!”
I’m seeing an additional source of inspiration for the promotional imagery: the story of the Cottingley Fairies, which happens to be celebrating its centennial this year…
In late 2014, I visited the Jewish Museum to see an exhibition on the life, career, and art collection of cosmetics mogul Helena Rubinstein. The show included materials related to the perfumes released by her brand, which was especially interesting for me. I was particularly curious about the ads for the fragrance Emotion, launched by Helena Rubinstein in 1960.
This ad, which dates to 1965, shows a stylish couple posed against a background of wavy black and white lines that resembles the patterning of a particularly mod zebra. The man is kissing the woman’s hand, or perhaps inhaling her perfume…
I’ve never had a chance to do any “official” research on Audrey Flack’s work, but I’ve been a fan of her photorealist still-life paintings for a long time. Here’s one titled Jolie Madame, dated 1973. (It belongs to the National Gallery of Australia.)
Flack (b. 1931) is known for her contemporary reinterpretations of vanitas images—still-life compositions that symbolically evoke mortality and the “vanity” of earthly pleasures…
This is such a perfectly summery perfume advertisement that I had to post it. I don’t know anything about Princesse Isabelle, or about this fragrance, other than that it seems to be a romantic floral eau de toilette.
What I do know is that Princesse Isabelle selected a painting by Claude Monet for this ad…
Last week I took a “busman’s holiday” and spent an afternoon going to museums. The Cooper-Hewitt was on my list because I wanted to catch the temporary exhibition The “Jazz Age: American Style in the 1920s.”
I had already happily wandered through rooms and rooms of radios, jewelry, textiles, architectural renderings, and furniture, when I spied a small but rich selection of perfume bottles. Here are my snapshots…They’re not great, but they give an idea of what I saw.