One of my Saturday farmers market friends has been telling me that she has two large boxes full of perfume samples and small bottles, gathered over several decades, and that one of these days she is going to bring them to show me, knowing that we have a mutual love of some classic perfumes. This weekend, it was my luck, as she arrived to drop off the two boxes, for me to browse, and perhaps, keep a few.
Many of these are from the 70’s and 80’s, when the department stores used to give away all of these samples, with beautiful packaging. Today, they are more rare. I have another friend, who is French, and who says she tosses all of these kinds of perfume samples as she wears one and only one perfume for several years before she might change, currently wearing a Chanel. And I think of all the Clean Surfaces people in my life who would never save things like cosmetics samples, let alone for 30 years. I have tossed some samples that I now regret, like Youth Dew, which is horribly strong in a spray but great for the bath. It’s a shame to toss these samples, I think. If you follow the perfume world a little, you know that with the formation of the European Union certain standards were been put in place, and certain materials are now banned from perfumes for environmental reasons, as well as some for political reasons. That has resulted in the reformulation of many classic fragrances, including many Guerlain favorites like L’Heure Bleue (longtime perfume of Catherine Deneuve) and Shalimar. And so the older formulas are highly coveted. If conserved properly, as the contents of these boxes have been, in a cool, dark place, the old formulations are gold. It incredible to smell a small vial of Robert Piguet Fracas….so much richer than the current version, which I still love….But oh my, two boxes, full, and so many pieces~
I did what you would expect after looking through the boxes for a few minutes….I pulled all the French ones. Here they are with a few limes for the tartes I made this weekend. Guerlain, Chanel, Caron, Annick Goutal, Rochas, Saint Laurent, Dior, Boucheron, Balmain and more….I love them….and they inspired many women to stop in their tracks and beg to have a look. Hard to resist!
Among the French I chose a few notable Italians, including a Valentino sample with a tassled box and bottle; what thought to the packaging! A very pretty little bottle…I didn’t even smell the perfume.
There are quite a few Chanels in the lot, all splash, and so I had a little appreciation for the new magnetic tops that line up. Still, who can argue with a lineup of vintage Coco??
And vials of more than a few classics, that smell just divine….if you find vintage Chanel 19 with the old formulation in good shape, snap it up, it is better than new 19, though I still wear that…
My favorite though, in all of the hundreds of bottle large and small, was this one, a vintage frosted sample bottle of some kind that has a remarkably detailed Eiffel Tower on it. The bottle itself is just about 3 inches tall but very detailed; I just love this little bottle~
The tone of the metals on it is a perfect match for all the shades of amber of the perfumes.
And its smaller companion, a little 3” bottle with garland detail, and a jewel-toned top. The lattice work on the top is very close to the metal work on a tiny Eiffel Tower I have….just a sweet little piece…
but oh, the Chanel keeps drawing me back….vintage Coco, 19, 5, and a few others….Un Fleur de Chanel, one didn’t know but which smells lovely. I remain a big fan of the house of Chanel~
These boxes will go back home next weekend, but if you have some of these in your collection, please do keep them!! They are gold!
Comments are off; I am selecting fonts this week and today chose the cover font for Reve. Progress!!
ps you can also follow me on Instagram HERE for images of what I am seeing and doing….the images showing in my gallery now are a little old, but I got a new phone this week and am finding lots of new inspiration for Instagram; it’s a great way to keep up with me real time for images.