Why do perfume bottles captivate and seduce us? The scent that the bottles contain are the real prize but the bottles themselves seduce with their shapes and colors. What is the perfume bottle? We are asking a kind of existential question. It is the outward looking statement of what the perfume is. The perfume or the scent appeals to the sense of smell but the perfume bottle appeals to the touch and the sense of sight.
The new Nina Ricci perfume ‘Nina', with its rococo pink shades and heart shaped bottle, is captivating. The perfume, it is said, is for the young woman looking for surprise and adventure and the heart shaped bottle with its pink shade is part of the whole aura and experience. The perfume is an experience and Nina Ricci has tried to create the complete experience with its heart shaped perfume bottle.
Nina Ricci is part of a long line of makers who have appealed to the sense of sight and touch with their perfume bottles. Guerlain’s 1925 perfume Shalimar still captivates as does Mugler's Angel. Perfumes are traditionally luxury items. They are treasured gifts and the perfume bottle is an integral part of this luxury. ‘Mitsouko', Guerlain’s 1919 perfume as well as the original Lanvin Arpege 1927 bottle are other famous perfume bottles. They show the importance of the perfume bottle as a part of the complete experience of luxury, that a perfume gives the woman.
Why is the perfume bottle so important? The perfume bottle appeals to the woman’s innermost search for luxury, glamour and the game of seduction. An expensive perfume is a real gift from a man to a woman. It is still viewed as the ultimate gift and so the whole package is important; the bottle as well as the fragrance inside.
Perfume bottles can turn into prized possessions. Other bottles of some notable commercial perfumes are Beyond Paradise, an Estée Lauder perfume of 2003, Cabochard from Parfums Grès (1959), Bellodgia from Caron (1927) and Pour Un Homme from Caron (1934).
'Beyond Paradise', the 2003 perfume by Estee Lauder, with its captivating rainbow colors, evoke a sense of mystery. The colors are not sensual. There is a classicism and restraint in the colors and the stopper too is almost hidden in the neat cylindrical shape of the bottle. This perfume bottle with its grace in design prepares us for the scent inside. The perfume bottle seduces us with its shape and design and then there is the scent itself! Everything is luxury and seduction here. Beyond Paradise is an example of the importance of good design for perfume bottles.
Dior's Miss Dior Cherie, on the other hand, has a light airy flirty look. Notice the bow also and the airy pink shades. If the woman wants to feel light and sexy and colorful, Miss Dior Cherie is for that woman. Its square container, imbued with a light rococo pink shade, has a certain ‘look’. We can say that the perfume has a ‘look’ and this is due to the perfume bottle. Miss Dior Cherie has a light and airy look and the bow too! We know that this perfume is for a different type of woman or a different mood than Lanvin’s Arpege or Guerlain’s Shalimar.
The perfume bottle is a key to what’s inside and it tells us about the perfume. Perfumes aim to capture moods and feelings. Some perfumes are aimed towards romance and its playful side, others towards mystery and evocation. Perfume bottles in some way are the tangible part of the perfume as the fragrance is the intangible.
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