Thursday, January 3, 2008

How much more gorgeous can you go?

Seek and you shall find: it is these biblical words that come to mind upon seeing the gorgeous advertisements of the year 1972 by Guerlain.
I was seeking an ad that would depict a red-haired beauty for Mitsouko in a futile search for the entertaining although completely frivolous concept of perfumes for certain haircolours,; a concept that had been in practice however at the start of the 20th century when houses would produce indeed fragrances aimed at different types of women, as classified per haircolour. Patou was one of them. Guerlain also had created Mitsouko for darker women and L'heure bleue for blondes, as I had read in a perfumer's confession to a journalist acquaintance.
And then I stumbled upon these. And a vista of beautiful possibilities opened up...

Shalimar for a raven-haired seductress

Mitsouko for a redhead introspect

L'heure bleue for a wistful, enigmatic dark blonde

Jicky for a dynamic, sizzling blonde

and finally, the pièce de resistance:
Vol de Nuit for a regal auburn-shaded brunette

Never mind that it looks like it's the same model on all the above ads. Ah...the perfume lover can dream, can't she?

all pics courtesy of okadi


  1. Anonymous14:50

    Those are hilarious and slightly revolting photos. Thanks for sharing, I think...

  2. It is quite funny. I don't find them 'revolting', though, because I was young in 1972 and have good memories of the period.

    The model for L'Heure bleue looks very familiar: she did lots of ads for other companies at the time. (I think they all look very different, btw.)

    Jicky was my first grown-up perfume and I had very dark hair at the time. So there! :-)

  3. Well, for the record, I think Jicky transcends all categories, it is ur-perfume (said the graying brunette with chestnut highlights.)

    The idea of scents for hair colors is silly, but completely irresistible to me for some reason. Hove still describes some of its perfumes as being for a brunette or blonde. Luca Turin has said that Tocade is for blondes, and I think he's absolutely right. I always feel as if I'm wearing a Marilyn wig when I use it.

    PS. Leo, you slay me.

  4. They are quite funny in a way, L! Very 70s-looking most of them; although revolting? I don't think so. But they do project a weird vibe. I consider them quite a find, even if I say so myself.

  5. J,
    thanks for commenting. Interesting that the model for LHB is well-known. I don't know how she is, though. (but surely she must be the same as the one for Mitsouko: the features are identical)

    LOL, yes, I am sure haircolour plays no part in perfume choosing (and Jicky is such a great choice: did you go for EDT or Extrait? I find them very different).
    But it's such a perversely fascinating idea! I couldn't resist!

  6. Dear M,

    I love Jicky too and I am neither blonde, nor "dynamic".

    I am glad you "get" the idea and find it irrestible, as you say. There is an element of sheer fun in all this, IMHO.
    Tocade for blondes: I must try it again with this in mind!

  7. Hi, E! They are not the same woman: Miss L'Heure bleue has slightly bulging eyes; the shape of her face is different and so are her eyebrows, mouth and skin colour, and her nose is slightly shorter too. (I've always been very good with faces - especially in pictures and films; my mother always said I should get a job as a 'physiognomist' in the Nice casino. It has spoiled many a film for me, when one of the characters has been in disguise. I can always tell.)

  8. Oh, do you suppose so? Hmm....colour of skin impression I attribute to different lighting and surrounding clothes and hair colour etc. But the rest (mouth, face shape) -apart from eyebrows which are changeable-, hmmm, you got me thinking...

    Hehehe, it's an asset, surely, you possess! I remember a great documentary on BBC with John Clease as presenter who explained exactly those nuances that make for recognition. Do you recall that one?

  9. True, about the skin colour and the eyebrows (I didn't even mention the hair colour, obviously), but look closely at their eyes, mouths and noses. Trust me on that, E: they are different. :-)

    It's not that much of an asset; it just means that whenever I'm watching something I'm constantly thinking of where else I've seen a particular D-list actor. Very often it was only once in some obscure serial. I feel obliged to check it up on IMBb as soon as the programme is over. I always know who the murderer is in thrillers and series like CSI and Law & Order b/c it's always an actor of some kind (just slightly more well-known that all the other extras). I knew who the culprit was in Copycat, for instance, b/c the guy is seen very briefly, in the distance, in an early scene. He was the only face I knew I'd seen somewhere else and I wondered why he would be in that crowd if he didn't have a bigger part to play in the story later.

    I've never seen that prog. with John Cleese, but I know that face recognition is to do with shapes and the relationships between different features (distance, position, etc.); it's about the 'overall' impression you get when you see a face. I recognize people even when I can only see a tiny bit of one of their features, BUT I am very bad with names. I go, 'Oh, what's the name of that actor; s/he was in that film about such and such,' and my partner - who is totally hopeless with faces - instantly goes, 'Ah, you mean X!' A different bit of the brain is involved in face recognition.

    I'm afraid I'm the same with voices. Ads on the TV turn into a great guessing game. When I hear a voice, I immediately see a mouth, which automatically brings the rest of the face to mind. OK, enough boasting. LOL!

  10. This is very interesting, actually. No need to be afraid of boasting!

    I share your interest in film and theatre as you might know if you have read here for a while and I happen to do the guessing game as well ;-)
    Your point about the slightly more known actor being the cuplrit is usually very true (which is why most of the who dunnits are so lame). And it's really hard to make a good film/book in the genre, because like it has been pointed out by someone much smarter than me, everything has been done expect the murderer being the reader.

    The John Cleese BBC documentary is called The Human Face and it was highly involving: how the actual process of face recognition works, what ticks it gets going in the brain, how to spot liars by the so-called micro-expressions, how we recall faces and connect them to names etc. There was even a case of rape being reported based on the assumption that people of a different race seem more uniformally similar to people of another race: the poor guy wrongly accussed luckily got out of it, though.
    I highly recommend the series! They showed it on national television channel here at some point back then.

    It's this one:

    Me I am not that good with voices I'm afraid (I usually don't connect the voice with the face), but I always remember a face and am very good with names.

  11. Anonymous19:21

    dear e.,
    great, witty post :) !
    i immediately looked for my favourites - which is kind of hard as i love almost all guerlains - but then chose mitsouko & l´heure bleue.
    while mitsouko - judging on my hair colour - doesn´t seem to suit me at all, LHB should be "me" LOL

    what about après l´ondée? i´m not sure which hair colour you "must" have to pull that one off?
    i think of a fragile, petite woman, but i´ve no idea which hair colour she has???

    - another short OT: today i got a sample of sonoma scent studio balck amber: first i wasn´t impressed, but it grows on me! now my nose is glued to my wrist ;D

  12. Anonymous20:00

    I know that perfume houses used to designate fragrances for particular hair colors, but it seems so ridiculous now! And how about countries in which there is little hair color variation--should all women in Japan wear the same perfume despite their different preferences and personalities? In the early 20th century there was much more of a tendency to equate hair color and temperament. It's rather like phrenology.

    And I'm not a dark blonde, but I love L'Heure Bleue. So there. :-)

  13. Anonymous00:58

    I thought the first and last model might be the same. At any rate, I love the ads. Fragrance wise, they remind me of a great time in my life. Thanks for the memories. As for the hair color, VdN should be my fragrance. I have yet to try VdN and Jicky, but love the other three (along with some other Guerlains). And now, that my hair has changed to gray/silver (only inwardly though, outwardly I'm still brunette, ha), which fragrance can I wear?.

    This is Sabina, stupid blogger wouldn't let me sign in.

  14. Dear C,

    thank you :-)

    Apres L'ondee is tricky: delicate, melancholic and chilly ~ash brown with curly tendrils? light auburn?

    Glad you are growing into the SSS Ambre Noir :-))

  15. Maria,

    this is exactly the axis: those were times and countries in which hair variation did exist ~namely the western European ones and the US. (your Japan example is very apt!)
    I mostly attribute this concept to a desire to put order in chaos and market scents more "scientifically" which surely must have made quite an impression on the clientele ;-)

  16. Thanks Sabina for your comment and interesting that you think the first and last is the same model *hmmm*
    Vol de Nuit especially IMO is trully magnificent, you simply must try it!

  17. Oh, E-
    Too funny !
    All so young, expressionless.
    Pretty, vapid, bloodless.

    Let's get some real PASSION in there!
    [I don't look like any of them- and I wear ALL of them, lol]

  18. Anonymous13:23

    Hilarious! They couldn't be from any other decade. I'm afraid I don't really conform. My loves being Mitsouko and VdN I should perhaps be embracing my inner ginger but according to this line up I should wear Shalimar!

  19. I will seek out that programme with John Cleese. I love that kind of thing. Can't think how I could have missed it (perhaps I was out of the country when it was shown). There was another very interesting series about body language and how we betray our emotions through it with Pr Robert Winston. They dissected footage of politicians, etc. It was hilarious and illuminating.

    Btw, the first and last models couldn't be more different: the first one has a kind of 'squat' face with a straight hairline (you can change the hair but not the hairline), a retroussé nose with large, 'curly' nostrils, and thin, straight eyebrows; the last model has an oval face, a thin, pinched nose, and thicker, arched eyebrows, etc. etc. :-)

  20. Dear I,

    yes, they are quite caught in the headlights and vacant looking.

    All of those frags are so gorgeous though!

  21. Dear Donanicola,

    aren't they so much a product of their decade? This was the first thing that etched them on my mind: especially the L'heure bleue, Mitsouko and Jicky images.

    We (I mean us, perfume lovers) all wear what we like and to hell with it, I guess.

  22. Bela,
    seek it out, by all means. I will try to find the one you talk about; sounds very interesting as well.

    Yes, the first and last are -to me at least- the most unlike each other from the group, if we take it that there are all different women. This is why I paused when the other reader said they resemble each other.


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