Tuesday, July 12, 2011

The Meaning of Perfume (and of Jealousy), as photographed by Helmut Newton

Perfume Shrine has the honour of presenting you with a rare document today: One of the most aesthetically creative editorials on fragrance, appearing on the glossy pages of US Vogue magazine, issue May 1977, and photograpphed by Helmut Newton, following a plot of erotic jealousy played on the exotic locale of Marrakesh. My historical research on the work of photography in relation to interpreting smells into images often leads me to discover old clippings & snippets on yellowed pages, and it strikes me how the main allure of fragrance hasn't waned, connecting perfume with memory and mood enhancing. It's interesting to note that by 1977 the editors of Vogue US were claiming that fragrance was everywhere, being definitively on the rise; it would become a serious industry in the 1980s with the cementing of the fragrance wardrobe idea and the concept of projecting an image through it.

The following pictures can be enlarged by clicking on them, revealing their full size which allows the images to display both their impressive glamorous aesthetics and their retro 1970s text, referencing some of the fragrances we have reviewed on Perfume Shrine, such as Paco Rabanne Calandre and Shiseido Inoui (classified as "greens"), Jean Couturier's Coriandre or Halston by Halston. It also gives some tips on skin type reacting with perfumes,l psychology of choosing a personal fragrance and weather-suiting advice, though I suppose most of our readers know about (and occasionally disregard) the latter. I hope you enjoy!

US Vogue May 1977
The Meaning of Perfume
Photographed by Helmut Newton



  1. sofi17:56

    Inpirational!!!!Helmut Newton, a real admirer of women's beauty!Amazing plot!Excellent review Elena!

  2. Thank you soooooooooo much for showing this!! *____*

  3. LOVE the "movement" within the photographs - gorgeous! I'm a dancer and choreographer, so I'm particularly drawn to images that capture movement......speaking of, have you ever seen the "Slow Dancing Films" by David Michalek? Beautifully filmed dancers slowed down and then projected simultaneously on Buildings....I saw it in Orange County a few years back. The films somehow remind me of how "sillage" would look if one could capture it on film. Maybe it's just me trying to bring the worlds of Dance/Movement and Perfume together, but none-the-less, the films are captivating. Here's a link if you are interested....


  4. Sofi,

    I adore his inimmitable style. Glamazons, indeed.
    Thanks for the most kind words! :-)

  5. Mitchin,

    you're welcome. Glad you enjoyed!

  6. Marko,

    how very fascinating! I love your simile of sillage being like that and I enjoyed the sample videos as well. And what an interesting job you have: putting movement in an organised thought continuum is like painting with bodies.

  7. Yes! Choreographing is definitely like painting with bodies!

  8. Oh, my. This was a walk down memory lane for me. I was 19 when this article was originally published and devoured all articles on perfume. This would have been during my Bakir-wearing years and the start of my veering-into-men's-scents, which continues to this day. Thanks for the memories.

  9. Woodgirl,

    that's so good to know!! Thanks for letting me know, I love doing that kind of thing. It's nostalgia lane, isn't it? Wish I had known those years myself.


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