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Perfume & Scarves

I have several vintage scarves that were promotional gifts from fragrance and cosmetic companies such as Estee Lauder and Jean Patou. These all come from my grandmother or mother’s collection. My grandmother was a writer for the New York Times and covered fashion, style and beauty in the late 1960’s – 80’s. In this role she was often sent products to write about: cosmetics, perfume, books, etc. My mother was a packaging designer for Estee Lauder and Revlon in the 1970’s – 1990’s. She designed perfume bottles, cosmetics boxes, labels, displays, etc. She has told me fascinating stories about her times with these iconic companies, and clearly I inherited my design proclivities from her. She has an extensive collection of vintage perfume bottles including some Art Deco stunners. This post is dedicated to both of these women who are a big inspiration to me.




Jean Patou was a French clothing designer who is credited with inventing the first knitted bathing suit, the twin-set and the monogram. He was known for designing chic and casual couture; which seems like an oxymoron. He opened his first boutique in Paris in 1912 which became known as the “House of Patou.”

In addition to fashion, Patou created many fragrances, his most successful was “Joy.” Joy was released at the beginning of the Great Depression in 1930 and given as gifts to some of his most prominent American customers who could no longer afford to buy his clothing after the crash. This seems like an ingenious promotional idea for the time and was a way for the House of Patou to remain relevant.

The fragrance was created by perfumer Henri Almeras and due to its fine ingredients it was coined “the most expensive perfume in the world.” The iconic bottle and packaging was designed by Louis Sue, a painter, architect and designer who was prominent in the Art Deco period. He designed the home of Jean Patou and collections of furniture, textiles and wallpaper.

After the death of Jean Patou in 1936 the label continued with prominent designers over the years such as Karl Lagerfeld, Jean Paul Gautier and Christian Lacroix. The House of Patou no longer designs fashion but the fragrances live on. Joy is still the second best selling perfume in the world after Chanel No. 5.

I have read that a silk scarf was included with the perfume in its early days. I would like to think it was this design but I have no idea if it dates back as far as that. However I do have several vintage bottles of Joy, all inherited from my grandmother. I have to guess that Joy was a favorite of my grandmothers since there are so many bottles between my mother and I. The bottle and label are examples of chic simplicity. The vintage advertisements are also lovely, here are a few examples:












This is a scarf from Clinique, the beauty brand offshoot of Estee Lauder which was launched in 1968. Clinique was conceived by Vogue editor Carol Phillips and dermatologist Norman Orentreich. The focus of Clinique has always been skin care and this is what made it stand apart from the Estee Lauder products. Its brand identity is clean, simple and fresh which was famously conveyed in their ads photographed by Irving Penn.

Clinique packaging employed a sea foam green which has become a signature of the brand. The color appears in this floral pattern that was first introduced in the 1970’s, and variations of the pattern have been used on Clinique packaging, displays and advertisements over the years. I love the pale and soothing colors of this scarf, as well as the Arts and Craft style botanical interpretation of the flowers.


Caron Perfume was founded in 1904 by Ernest Daltroff in Paris. Caron has produced many legendary fragrances such as Tabac Blonde and Pour Un Homme, and continues to launch new scents to this day. This scarf was a promotional gift to celebrate the Fleurs de Rocaille Perfume which was launched in 1934 (and is still available). Owner Daltroff appointed Felice Bergaud to oversee packaging design for Caron, and she became something of a romantic muse. The bouquet seen on the scarf and the advertisement below was also on the bottle stopper of the perfume and some of the boxes. It is a lovely piece of artwork and I love the colorful florals against the striking black background.


Fleurs de Rocaille Perfum

Estee Lauder


This scarf is from my mother’s collection from her time time with Estee Lauder. This beautiful floral pattern was most likely inspired by a vintage toile textile. The scarf would have been a promotional item or part of a gift with purchase. In addition to being used on this scarf the pattern was also used to line the boxes of holiday gift sets. Pale blue was an early signature color on Estee Lauder packaging and various shades of blue appear through the years in their branding.  This particular pattern is so classic and timeless: just like Estee Lauder.



This is a scarf produced by Faberge perfumes for its fragrance “Xanadu” which came out in 1969. The scarf is of the poem “Kubla Khan” written by Samuel Taylor Coleridge in 1816.  The poem is about the city of Xanadu, which was built by the emperor as a temple to sensual pleasure. The poem celebrates the beauty and savagery of such a paradise. In choosing to promote Xanadu with this poem, Faberge was emphasizing the perfume’s exoticism and Eastern influences as a marketing angle.

Graphically I find the choice of typeface for the poem’s text odd: the gothic formality may allude to  the time period in which the poem was written but it definitely does not reflect the vibe of 1969 when the perfume came out, nor the groovy plastic colored packaging that it was sold in.



This is a Pertegaz silk scarf from the designer Manuel Pertegaz. He was one of Spain’s most famous and successful fashion couturiers, starting his business in 1942. Based in Barcelona, Pertegaz was asked to succeed Christian Dior after his death in 1957 but he turned it down to continue at his own company. He launched his first perfume in 1965 and had follow up scents in the 1970’s and 1980’s. I have been unable to find any imagery related to the design on this scarf so I am unable to date it. But its graphic quality, op art use of dots and color combination feel very 60’s & 70’s to me.

Pertegaz passed away in 2014 and the brand is currently being revived and relaunched as “Pertegaz Boutique.”



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