The Costumer's Manifesto: PERFUMES FOR THE PERIOD SCENT
PERFUMES FOR THE PERIOD SCENT
by Tara Maginnis
While scented waters were common even in Ancient times, the first trueperfume extract in the modern sense was not created until the 10th Century A.D., when thefamous Islamic physician, , first discovered the process of distilling oil fromthe petals of roses. This essence, diluted with water, became rose water, the first modernperfume. Since then every period in European history has had its own signature scents, anda number of the most popular ones continue to be used today. A person wishing to add thefinal period touch to the fashion "statement" of their costume can sometimesfind a suitable period scent no further away than their local drugstore or departmentstore.
Early, simple scents like lavender water and rose water have never losttheir popularity, and some of the complex perfumes that were developed later enjoyeddecades, and even centuries of common use. What follows is a chronology of some of thoseperiod perfumes which continue to be available for sale, and a list of sources for buyingthem. All of them, obviously, have been used continuously since their invention, and socan be used for any period after their origin.
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Rose Water-Distilled by the Islamic physician, Avicenna in the 10th Century.
Water-Distilled by German Benedictine nun, Hildegard of Bingen in the 12th Century.
Hungary Water-The first Alcoholic perfume, originally concocted for Elizabeth of Hungary in 1370.
Eau de Cologne-18th Century variant on Hungary water developed by the Farina brothers in Cologne, Germany.
Lily of the Valley and Rose Geranium-Mid-18th Century perfumes by Floris of London, founded in 1730.
No. Six Cologne-Was made from a formula brought to America from England in 1752 by the founder of Caswell and Massey, Dr. William Hunter. The most popular scent in early America, it was sent as a gift to Lafayette by Washington while he was President.
-Based on a formula made by a French émigré friar, this scent was named after the house number assigned to the Mulhens Family perfumery's shop during the 1794 French occupation of Cologne. Napoleon used to bathe in a diluted version of this scent.
Scent developed in the Mid-19th Century for the Empress Eugenie by Guerlain.
-After-shave made for the Hungarian cavalry attached to the court of Napoleon III by Edouard Pinaud, the court perfumer.
CologneEau de Cologne Imperiale-Lilac VegetalFlorida Water -Citrus-based American variant on Eau de Cologne from 1856.
Cologne-Another American version of Eau de Cologne made in 1868.
-First highly-concentrated perfume (like 20th Century perfumes), made by Guerlain in 1889.
Floris No. 127-Made in 1890 exclusively for Russia's Grand Duke Orloff, it was re-introduced in the 1940's when it became a favorite of Eva Peron.
Pink Geranium-Floris scent introduced in 1890.
Red Rose-Edwardian scent by Floris used most famously by Rosa Lewis, owner of the Cavendish Hotel.
-Guerlain perfume of 1912.
-1922 perfume that quickly died until it was revived again in the 1980's. (Catch it while you can, it appears to be going under again, despite a subtle exotic scent reminiscent of Shalimar.)
-The first expensively produced perfume using artificial scents, a strikingly modern innovation in 1920.
-"Eastern" style scent produced in 1925 by Guerlain.
JickyL'Heure BleuePavlova Chanel No. 5ShalimarJoy-"The most expensive perfume in the world" blended in 1926 for Patou.
Sources for obtaining period perfumes that are still in useinclude:
File:Www.netImage-904740-9112740Caswell and Massey Co., Ltd. Mail-Order Division 111 8th Ave.New York, NY 10011 (212) 620-0900
No. 6 Cologne, Rose Water, Lavender Water and others
Crabtree and Evelyn Limited Box 167 Woodstock Hill, CT 06281(800) 624-5211
Rose Water, Hungary Water, Eau de Cologne, Lavender Water and others
Floris PO Box 1375 Port Washington, NY 11050 (800) J-FLORIS
Lily of the Valley,Rose Geranium, Floris No. 127, Pink Geranium, RedRose and others
Guerlain (800) 882-8820
Eau de Cologne Imperiale, Jicky, L'Heure Bleue, Shalimar
4711 Cologne, Pavlova, Chanel No. 5, Joy and some Guerlain perfumes
4711 Cologne, Lilac Vegetal, Florida Water, Hoyt's Cologne
(Learn about traditional African American mojo uses of these vintage scents here):
This article originally appeared inThe Lady'sGallery magazine.
For more on the history of perfume &cosmetics, see
More Period Perfumes:
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