Thursday, February 25, 2010

It's in the Air...

One of the most classic fragrances, selling one bottle every minute someplace in the world, is L'Air du Temps by Nina Ricci. Even if it's characteristic, immediately recognisable piquancy of spicy floral has been somewhat dimmed over the decades since its introduction in 1948 due to reformulations, the romantic ideal on which it was introduced to the world ~its doves bringing peace and serenity~ has not. Here are some of my favourite commercials and advertisements which have graced its fragrant trail over the years: From the masterful clip that recalls Hieronymus Bosch's "The Garden of Earthly Delight" to more nostalgic ones ("c'est une vie enchantée", it's an enchanted life). And from the 1993 graphic arrow-shot bottles by Enrique Badulescu from 1993 through to the Jean Baptiste Mondino ones at the subway from the late 1990s. The bottom line is what the lovely soft-focus ads from the 70s by David Hamilton proclaim: "'Un parfum doit être source de rêve." A perfume should work as a source of dreams...

Which one is your favourite?

Related reading on Perfume Shrine: Fragrant Advertising articles


  1. Talk about memory lane... so many brilliant commercials... thanks for sharing!

  2. Wow, I love that first clip. Am I right that it only ran in Europe? Surely I would remember if I'd seen it here in the US.

  3. I *love* LDT- my first perfume, one of my Mother's perfumes, filled with hope and gloriously yellow in every way.

    My favourite ad is the very blue background one

  4. S,

    some of them are so established in our consience they're instant reminders of how the years pass, eh?
    Thanks for commenting! Hope you're well :-)

  5. M,

    assuredly right! It was very briefly shown too, I didn't even remember it all that well and finding it on Youtube was a slap on the forehead moment.
    A pity as I think it's truly masterful and imaginative.
    The only thing is I don't especially tie it in image with L'Air du temps! I wonder why, is it because the doves concept has been so "tattooed" in our minds?

  6. K,

    it's one of the scents which I also love, both from a sentimental point of view but also from an aesthetic one: spicy florals are so my thing! (spicy is generally very pleasing to me)

    Blue background: you mean the one with the angel in the subway or the one with the arrow?

  7. Anonymous16:14

    Dearest E,

    I was never able to relate to LDT much, especially the hyper-romantic, soft focus ads; the first clip, however, is truly fantastic and so completely not what I see LDT as. The combination of grotesque and sublime in that clip is fantastic. Is that beauty supposed to be his saviour from the demons? WHAT does it all mean? I love it.

    Also like the subway angel but in both cases I find it hard to reconcile the images with what the perfume has stood for over the years. Perhaps they were trying to attract a different audience.


  8. N,

    hi there, darling!

    I can certainly sympathise. The US ads seem especially corny to me (oh what a smell, lalala etc), but I do have a soft spot for the Sarah-Moon like hazy photography (same with Cacharel where she actually did shoot the photos). That 70s vibe... Purely personal nostalgia for times I wasn't grown up to savour them, I guess, so they attained a superhero quality in my mind. (everything is possible etc)

    Yup, the first clip IS fantastic! I suppose that it is imparted that the earth is an arena of both goodness and chaos and beauty saves the day. And that the demons are somehow intergral to the whole scheme and we shouldn't "forget" them, but redeem them through our pure, serene thoughts. Or so I thought, at least.

    I am fairly sure the subway angel/dove woman is meant to grab a young audience, the model was very popular with teenagers at the time. And the concept is so 90s!

    Curiously enough, we tend to associate LDT with our grannies and aunts and not with weird images out of a Bosch triptych or a graffiti metro-station, eh? I see your point and I agree 100%!

  9. Late but -- definitely the first one. Were it not for the ridiculous ban on showing the breast on American tv -- remember the Janet Jackson debacle? - maybe the perfume advertising we see here would be as beautiful as that clip, which, to me, is so evocative of the experience of actually wearing perfume. Instead we get sophmoric/suggestive/raunchy advertising that is really much "dirtier" than anything in the clip was (but no culture is absurd...)

    Thanks for posting this!

  10. I mean the arrow- subway one is cool but the arrow seems more L'Air de Temps to me


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