Sunday, July 12, 2015

"A woman who doesn't wear perfume

has no future.  
                                                                          ~Coco Chanel

"Evening in Paris" is a phrase that, for many, connects to a perfume although I would gladly spend an evening in Paris with or without perfume!  There are certain products though that are iconic in this vintage world...and Evening in Paris perfume is one such product.  From this week's finds...
 Ernest Beaux of Bourjois Paris developed the scent in 1928, and it became an instant success in the US.   In 1929 it was marketed in Paris as Soir de Paris,   It was the favorite fragrance of World War II, and it was a worn by women worldwide.  Mais Oui  ("But yes!") was another perfume from the same company. 
Evening in Paris was attractively packaged in gift boxes, some in the shape of stars, sailor's hats or a crescent moon. These special gift sets were often for sale around Christmas, Mother's Day and Easter.

The set I have in the shop has the silver wrapping below so it was probably a gift set.
It is possible to find the various novelties for the perfume made up of blue marbled Bakelite, white plastic or light green plastic. You might come across the horseshoes, a clam shell, a hotel door, a shoe, the grandfather clock, an owl or very rarely the Eiffel Tower or the Marble Arch presentations from the 1950s.

During the 1940s, there were wartime presentations and all packaging bears the following statement: "This is a temporary Victory package. The contents are unchanged."


Chanel now owns Bourjois, and Evening in Paris was reformulated in 1992 by Chanel's leading perfumers. The result was a sweet, smooth, creamy, slightly wood based fragrance known as "The Most Popular Fragrance in the World."  The newly formulated perfume is still for sale today.

The bottles were sold from the 1920s-1960s, and their bottles changed very little, but their labels can tell us a great deal about when they were produced. The majority of bottles are cobalt blue glass, but there were also clear glass and gilded glass examples to be found.

My research uncovered the history of the various bottles and packaging.

Silver triangle labels on cobalt bottles:
During the 1920s to the 1940s, most of the labels were triangular shaped. The 1920s and 1930s saw bottles with frosted glass stoppers, these generally had cork ends. The 1940s bottle had metal and cork stoppers. (see pic on the right)

Silver curved label on cobalt glass:
In the 1930s, the bottle appeared with this curved label; later on in the 1950s, gold labels appeared on clear, gilded and cobalt bottles.

Silver rectangle labels on cobalt bottles:
During the 1940s, silver rectangular labels were used as well as silvery metal screw caps. There was also an instance of thin silver labels across the bottom front of the bottle, noting Evening in Paris in script. (see pics 1 and 2)

Gold labels on cobalt or clear glass:
These began appearing in the late 1940s-early 1950s. (see pic 3)

Gilded glass bottles:
Bottles with a gilded or silvery  finish first appeared in the late 1940s, and continued into the 1950s.

Round silver labels on cobalt glass:
These rounded silver labels appear on cobalt "Mae West" shaped bottles of the 1950's. These bottles have blue plastic caps. (see pic 4)

V shaped silver labels on cobalt glass:
These v-shaped labels started appearing in the 1960s, easy to date because of the zip code found on labels. (see pic 5)

Gold screw caps:
Date your bottle to after late 1940s and into the 1950s.


Bullet shaped cobalt purse flacons:
First appearing in the 1920s, they continued to be added to gift sets well into the 1950s. Older examples have black Bakelite caps and tassels.
(see pic 6)


Now you can see how much history is inside a bottle of Evening in Paris!

“Perfume is magic. It’s mystery. We recreate the smell of a flower. Of wood. Of grass. We capture the essence of life. Liquefy it. We store memories. We make dreams,” he told her once. “What we do is a wonder, an art, and we have a responsibility to do it well.” 

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