Little Details

A Fact-Checking Community for Writers

Previous Entry Share Next Entry
Popular perfumes in the 1920s?
vintage
stolenfairytale wrote in little_details
I'm writing a story set in the 1920s. I need to find a perfume popular in that period, preferably between 1922-1929. I've searched google and come up with nothing, so this is my last resort. Anybody know any?

Googled: 1920s perfumes, trends 1920s, roaring twenties perfumes, eau de toilette 1920s, perfume brands 1920s.

Earth not being a monolith, where in the 1920s?

Anywhere. I'm not picky. After all, travel was becoming more common in that period.

Travel is very common in THIS period, and trade is global, but still you cannot get every product everywhere, and even if you can a scent that is popular in Paris, France may not be popular in Paris, Texas.

My main character is a girl whose father is British and her mother is French. She's traveled Europe on a grand tour, so like I said, I wasn't particularly concerned with where.

A couple places to start...
http://www.yournewfragrance.com/Perfume-Bottle-1920s-s/855.htm

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Famous_Perfumes

But yes - where is your story set? It will make a difference.

I imagine, too, that you could google the names of the famous perfumes on the second link and see when they were popular and when they waned.

Edited at 2009-07-14 03:24 am (UTC)

Chanel Nº5 was introduced in 1921. There were quite a lot of others (the 1920s were huge for perfume), but that's a big name.

Try this site, which has perfume bottles. I'm not sure if the names referred to are the glass manufacturers or the perfume names, but you can do that research. (I googled "flapper perfume".) You might also have success if you look on auction sites for 'antique perfume bottles'.

Evening in Paris came out in 1929.

You can search here by year, or if you want to know what the perfumes mentioned smell like, it may give you a few details.

http://www.basenotes.net/fragrancedirectory

I'd go for the classic Guerlain scents. Mitsouko (1919) if she's a free spirit, L'Heure Bleu (1912) if she's a romantic, Shalimar (1925) for the seductress, Après L'ondée for the respectable woman. All of these are still in production, so you can try them on and see what fits your character :)

Samsara might also work, but I don't know when that Guerlian started to produce that.

Nope, Samsara's an Eighties scent. One of my fondest memories is when my mother came back from a trip to Paris smelling of it :) Still my favourite perfume for a night out.

It's one of the few scents that doesn't trigger a migraine in my mother or me when she wears it. I stick to BPAL.

I'll take oddest places to run into another BPAL fan for 100, Alex

What is a post talking about perfume scents?

Hee...

True. I was thinking more completely unrelated comm.

I've seen it happen over in migraine. It doesn't surprise me anymore.

Have you tried dropping a note to the folks at BPAL? I'd bet they have your answer.

I wear their Bordello (smell better than a French workin' girl, I do), Phantom Calliope, and a couple others. It's smelly crack. I love it.

Jicky would have also been around, though being from 1889, it might be considered a bit old-fashioned. (Mind you, I just got a bottle of my own.)

Jicky (1889, but available to this day) if, like Aime Guerlain's English girlfriend, she's something of a tomboy; ditto Tabac Blond (1919) which also implies that she's a smoker (which used to be a defiant feminist gesture) and proud of it.

And *the* iconic fancy high-end perfume, Chanel No. 5, dates from 1921.

http://theperfumedcourt.com/Categories/Sample-Sets/Sample-Sets-by-Historical-Significance.aspx

This site has lists of the most popular perfumes by era. But again, this is only in the western world... I assume if you refer to it as "the Roaring Twenties" you mean the US anyway.

Seconding the Guerlain scents, but right at the end of the decade ('29) there was also "Soir de Paris" from Bourjois ...

1921 chanel n°5
1925 Shalimar de Guerlain...

Hi! How fascinatin'. Would very much like to read your story. Wadn't the music, of that glorious era, just too devine? Just finished a time-travel comedy thriller (which pays tribute, in part, to the Jazz Age). Of the latter, I'll soon be shopping it around.

just wondering if internet was available already at that time, if cheap online perfumes existed already...what could have happen to the perfume industry?

Habanita de Molinard was first used to scent women's cigarettes in 1921. Then it was made into an EDT in 1924. It was for the "wild women" of the time.