Style/art/fashion news from earlier this week:
“The Costume Institute’s spring 2019 exhibition [CAMP: Notes on Fashion] explores the origins of camp’s exuberant aesthetic. Susan Sontag’s 1964 essay ‘Notes on “Camp”‘ provides the framework for the exhibition, which examines how the elements of irony, humor, parody, pastiche, artifice, theatricality, and exaggeration are expressed in fashion.”
Could we also look for camp (both intentional and intentional) in the visual presentation of perfume? I think we can.
Here are a few examples, paired with quotes from Sontag’s landmark essay…
It’s amazing how many different fragrance brands exist or have existed, even in the not-so-distant past. For example, this ad caught my eye when I was browsing the results of some random image search, but I’m not familiar with the name “Marta Harff.” I looked her up and learned that she’s an Argentinian entrepreneur who has run several fragrance/toiletry brands, including a namesake line of “Aguas Florales” (“flower waters”). This one is “Manzanilla.” (Chamomile?)
What really interested me in this ad (which seems to date to the 1990s) was the image it used on the bottle label and in the background…
— 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.”
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?
One of the major mainstream fragrance releases for autumn 2013 was Estée Lauder’s Modern Muse, with the tagline “Be An Inspiration” and an advertising campaign featuring the model Arizona Muse.
In the initial advertising for this fragrance, Muse (the person, with the perfume!) made an appearance at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York.
In the print ads, including the one above, she poses inside the Guggenheim, which is immediately identifiable by its spiral ramp and its circular skylight…
Karl Lagerfeld died last week, on February 19, 2019, at the age of 85. Lagerfeld was probably one of the first fashion designers I knew by name, thanks to the prominent ads for Chloé that appeared in my mother’s copies of W magazine—favorite reading material for pre-teen me.
There are plenty of obituaries and features that give a comprehensive overview of his life and work. This post, however, is just a look at five perfume-related moments of his career…
This advertisement was published in The Daily Messenger (Canandaigua, New York) on February 2, 1950. “So very much more than just a card for your Valentine” — the house of Lenthéric was offering minis of two best-selling fragrances, Tweed and Repartée, in lacy greeting-card presentations. So sweet.
Wishing you a happy Valentine’s Day, however you choose to celebrate it!
The past week has been particularly busy at work and beyond, but I’ve still had perfume on my mind. Here’s a sneak peek at the newest fragrance from Anna Sui, which I sniffed last night at the designer’s boutique in SoHo. It’s called Fantasia Mermaid and it’s a follow-up to 2017’s Fantasia, with a similar bottle topped by a mermaid. (Fantasia’s cap featured a golden unicorn.) I sampled a quick spritz during my visit and my initial impression was that Mermaid is very different from its older “sister.”…