Thursday, April 17, 2008

Optical Scentsibilities: bottle design

Art apparently not only imitates life, but art itself as well! Here today is photographic evidence of design borrowing concerning perfume bottles.

The most classic example is of course the couturier's dummy by Schiaparelli for her legendary Shocking.

The torso has a seamstress's tape on the neck and a head of flowers. Very 30s.
While Gaultier decided to give it a corset in his take on Jean Paul Gaultier Classique. Very 90s...

Weird shapes and precarious balances also inspire. Hermes did this tipsy bottle that sits on an angle first for Eau de Merveilles and then for Elixir de Merveilles (depicted).

Missoni liked the idea and borrowed the almost on the side, ready to fall but not quite balance on their eponymous scent and later on their Aqua by Missoni.
Youth Dew is a classic by Lauder: their first fragrance. Its shape above (coming from a later design on the original bottle) is echoed though in another perfume bottle.

Madeleine Vionnet, as a couturier, made sure she had a thimble-shaped cap on her fragrance. The rest is quite similar. The sketchy filigree design by Jane Birkin's hand proved successful for the ultra pared-down, functional bottle of Miller Harris L'air de Rien.

Lostmarch opted for a slightly more nostaligic design on theirs, lifting the sparse bottle a bit. Laan-Ael it is. L'artisan Parfumeur designed new caps for all their bottles recently (Why? Completely redundant, they were perfect anyway ~OK, perhaps they needed to inject a shot of masculinity to the image of their unisex fragrances, I am hypothesizing).
Yves Saint Laurent followed with their cap for L'Homme.

Perles de Lalique has one of the most arresting bottles in their extrait de parfum, as you can see.

Until one sees the vintage parfum bottle for Arpege by Lanvin that is.... Sisley came out with a moon-cap for their Soir de Lune. After all lune does mean moon in French.
But apparently Songes, which means dreams, is also tied to moon imagery, according to Annick Goutal. Good night, sleep tight...

Pics from osmoz, amazon, artcover,, scentedsalamander blog (for soir de lune), parfumflacons, flickr, official Miller Harris and Schiaparelli sites.


  1. How about the new black Usher bottle? That reminds me of the one with the feathers. I love that one!

    Years ago one of the jewelry stores here did their windows with feather arrangements. I talked them into buying one when they were done with them. I still love it!

  2. I haven't seen the Usher bottle: have to search for it to see.
    Feathers can be beautiful: those spotted grey ones are really pretty.

  3. Anonymous00:24

    Hi Helg,

    Interesting what you said about the redesigned tops for the L'Artisan bottles. I thought the old ones were just fine, but now you got me thinking.... yes, the new ones are a bit more masculine. Hmmmm.

    And, wow, Perles Lalique really thought out of the box - NOT! I'm being sarcastic because I thought the Perles bottle was super cool and original and then I see that it's not original, it's been done before by Lanvin. I'm glad you posted about it because now at least Lanvin will get the credit. :)

    Happy Scented Trails to you.


  4. Anonymous00:27

    p.s. I should mention this quote in reference to imitating:

    "Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery."


  5. Dear Dawn,

    it is as you say: it gets a little sleuthing to find out some things behind the facade.
    I too loved the old L'artisan bottles: they were so retro charming! The new ones are fine too, of course, but more "streanlined" which I suppose is better received by a masculine audience (and L'artisan has a lot of unisex scents).
    When I first saw the Perles bottle I thought it was super cool as well, although there was an eerie familiar feeling about it...had to go back to my archives to see what it reminded me of. Abd there it is!

    Have a great day! :-)

  6. Anonymous08:48

    WOW! Very cool you found these!! I am saving them pronto!


  7. Glad you liked them Aline! :-)

  8. I have an unusual eau de cologne bottle which was a discontinued perfume named Flora Danica. The bottle will tip over just walking by, so the ground glass stopper has to be firmly in place. I loved it, but the second time around I bought a spray in a can, and there is a little left.

  9. Oh, Flora Danica is a cult classic. Hold on to it! :-)
    The stopper does remind one of ink or wine barrel stoppers, doesn't it.


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