Friday, December 3, 2010

The Next Most Wonderful Thing

Study in GREEN

In the first post I dealt mostly with the color blue, blue eyes, blue dresses, blue bottles.  I may have more to say about blue bottles in a future post but perhaps this time I will deal with green. Green is a favorite color, too, right next to blue and sometimes forging ahead. The photo above includes green slag glass bottles for Renaud "Sweet Pea" perfume, English "Wood Violets" bottles, old green atomizers and a prize bottle of "Le Jade" by Roger & Gallet with perfume of a green tint.
I was born into a green world of rainy forested hillsides on the west coast of Oregon.  This is a part of the world where it rains big time.  Check these stats:
Waldport, OR, gets 68 inches of rain per year. The US average is 37. 
Snowfall is 1 inches. The average US city gets 25 inches of snow per year.

So moss, frogs, ducks and webbed toes are the norm.

One of my earliest memories is of wading in the ocean under the bridge that spans the mouth of the Alsea River at Waldport. The bridge was built in the depression years as part of the WPA efforts. The concrete for the bridge was made with local sand which had a high salt content and which caused deterioration over the years.  So it was considered necessary to replace it with a modern span in 1991. Only a few decorative sections of the old bridge were salvaged and are now displayed at the Waldport Museum.
There is no known photo of me under the bridge so I have included one of my youngest daughter, dressed in green, playing in the sand at Westport, WA in about 1969.

My collection of Emeraude bottles.

To bring the blog back to it's central subject, the first perfume that I chose for myself was "Emeraude" by Coty, the bottle evoking, obviously, an Emerald.
"Emeraude" by Coty
I don't remember when or how I obtained it but it was probably in the late 1950s.  I remember using it for special occasions, "dates" with my husband when we were in Portland and later in British Columbia. I seem to have lost it in the shuffle when packing for our move to Brazil so I had none and could not find it there.  I'm not really much of a perfume wearer anyway so I didn't worry much about it but soon after she learned that I couldn't get my favorite, a dear friend made a gift to me of another perfume in a bottle also shaped like an emerald.
"Maja" by Myrurgia

That perfume, "Maja" by Myrurgia soon became and has remained a favorite.  The label on these bottles depicts a Flamenco Dancer in her beautiful red dress and carrying a fan.  My collection of Myrurgia bottles includes Maja, Embrujo, Joya and Flor de Blason.

Lentheric "Au Fil de L'Eau" --  With the Current or Tide
Here is a perfume by Lentheric which has a spectacular bottle with a beautiful floral green stopper and band of design circling the bottle. The band of design is molded into the glass and treated with a green stain.

Slag Glass bottles for perfumes by Renaud.
 These handsome slag glass bottles were made for Renaud by the french glass company Crystalliers de Nancy. The green ones here contained a scent called "Sweet Pea".  The red bottle was filled with "Orchidee".  Slag glass bottles were manufactured for several well known perfume makers and were made in many beautiful colors.

If anything is true it is that there is always more fascinating things just over the horizon, and among the bottles that I do not own but are on my "wish list", here are a couple that fit our green theme: 
Niki de Saint Phalle's famous "Nanas".  Okay, not actually a bottle but a perfume related artifact. I once saw a couple of these in a small size (about 12-18 inches) when I first started searching perfume bottles on ebay but have not seen any since. I don't think many were made. These bosomy female forms are usually huge, fabulous, over life size constructions displayed in museums or public squares.  Some of them have traveled the world and been available for the public to view.  In the past Boston, Saint Louis, Rome, Naples and many other places have hosted some of her pieces.  A permanent installation is in place in Hannover where lucky fans can now admire many of Niki's works in the Sprengel Museum, on the banks of the river Leine and in the Herrenhausen Gardens.,43.05,70.0 
Be sure to click!  Don't miss this panoramic view. 
A Niki de Saint Phalle "Nana"
...and bottles by Schiaparelli:
This one is shaped like a leaf.  Elsa Schiaparelli's perfumes were contained in very intriguing and oftentimes controversial bottles, some shaped like female torsos.  It is thought that her famous torso bottles were fashioned after the dressmakers dummy that she had used when she designed clothing for Mae West.  The leaf bottle contained "Succes Fou". It is acknowledged to be an "ivy" leaf but to me it looks like it might evoke the "fig" leaves used to cover pubic areas on early statues and paintings.  


Ivy leaf shaped bottle for "Succes Fou" by Schiaparelli

And to end this green post with a floral flourish I'll just toss in this fuchsia called "Billy Green".  It is one of my favorites and often graces my back deck in a large container in the summer. 
Fuchsia "Billy Green"
See you next time.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Obsessions, Vintage Perfume Bottles and other bits of beauty

This is my blog, begun because everyone else is doing it.  I won't be providing the world with jewels of wisdom, or suggesting ways to save the economy.  I will just be showcasing things I love.  Purely for my enjoyment and I hope some of my friends may find it interesting. 

It seems I have been a collector all of my life. When I was a little girl it may have been paper dolls then it was... well, not sure what else. Then I collected little girls. In my family we have always insisted that two of something is only a pair and three becomes a collection, so four daughters is surely a collection.  :-)  

Some of my more interesting collections have included antique duck decoys, stoneware crocks, baskets, antique books, bone china teacups, lace table doilies, blue and green poison bottles, siphon bottles, and I'm sure there are other things stashed away in my cupboards.  I am obsessed. But my most recent obsession, old perfume bottles will be the main subject of this blog. And after all, if you are going to be obsessed about something, why not make it about a work of art, a piece of beauty?
When I was very young I remember my mother's perfume, TABU by Dana.  Her bottle of this scent always sat on her vanity table and smelled wonderful. One day, when we were living in Portland, Oregon, she came home with two beautiful little perfume bottles, one for me and one for my sister.  They were empty, beautiful, sort of triangular in shape with ornate tops, glass daubers and painted flowers. She then decanted a bit of Tabu into each.  Mine had a green jewel on the ornate stopper and tulips painted on the sides. My sister's bottle had a red jewel on top. I still have my little bottle today with some residual perfume in it.  And so it began, my beautiful obsession, in large part because my mother introduced my sister and me to things she loved.  Today, my sister and I are old ladies and we still enjoy collecting beautiful things. 

  The next perfume that came into my life was one that was the ubiquitous scent of the day, Evening in Paris.  It seemed that every girl in my high school, except me, had a bottle of it. But it's distinctive cobalt blue glass never found it's way into my hand.  Now, primarily because of that wonderful color, it is one of my favorites.  I have collected almost every variation I can find and am still looking for more.  

The beauty of those Bourjois bottles led me to look for other blue bottles. After all, blue is my color. My mother always dressed me in blue because of my blue eyes.  My sister, whose eyes are brown, got to wear green and red. The first time I had money of my own I struck back at my mother's choices and  my school clothes were green and red that year.  But she was right, and I wear mostly blue now because I really want to.

Back to bottles, Dans la Nuit and Je Reviens, both by Worth have the same cobalt hue and have been added to my shelves in various sizes. 

The french designer Niki de Saint Phalle created a line of perfume displayed in blue that'll knock your socks off.  Her iconic snakes and bosomy women are easily recognizable.

One of the Prince Machabelli scents was presented in a beautiful little blue crown bottle and has become a favorite.

...and small atomizer bottles are also easy to find in complementary blue tones. 

Where do I go from here?  Right now I don't know but there are so many bottles, so many beautiful things that I love.  This is an unfinished work, a work in progress.  I may change things, eliminate things, add more things. I hope you have enjoyed your visit and will come back often.