As this NYT Magazine article (with a slideshow here) explained, the perfume industry goes to great effort and expense to create the containers that express its scents. Chandler Burr wrote:
The industry hires artists and artisans to create them: Serge Mansau sculptured the delicate block that held Diorella. And Rene Lalique designed perhaps the most beautiful fragrance bottle ever created, the frosted globe filled by Jacques Worth with Je Reviens. Publicly, Dior hardly ever talks about Diorella as Mansau's creation but as the receptacle for Edmond Roudnitska's juice. But privately those in the industry benchmark their scents by the beauty of these small creations. They refer obsessively to ''the Chanel square.''
But as beautiful as many of these bottles are, they lack a certain old-style glamour. In a comment on our holiday gifts post, AnnH wondered whether anyone still makes those bottles "with heavy sculpted glass applicators? Speaking of glamorous, I seem to recall that the dazzling women in 30s and 40s films would dab such straight parfum on to themselves with the glass applicators."
You may not find them in department stores, but such bottles are available. These photos show several lots up for auction online from Rago Arts on January 24. I particularly like the black-and-white Art Deco collection.
Posted by Virginia Postrel on January 09, 2009 in