"The perfume of the soul is rememberance," the French novelist George Sand once wrote. Spring's best fragrances provide a glimpse back to bygone eras as well as a nod to the future.
Excerpts from a fragrance editorial by Michaela McMahon-Dunphy, Past Notes.
At Christian Dior's first runway show in 1947, he introduced "The New Look," a style that celebrated femininity and opulence. The updated Miss Dior Chérie, with gentle notes of ruby orange and a hint of neroli, will have you feeling very '40s-debutante-on-the-Champs-Elysées.
Fragrance - New Miss Dior Cherie Eau de Parfum, $98 for 3.4 fl. oz., dior.com
The '50s were a decade marked by letterman jackets, Peter Pan-collared blouses buttoned to the top, and lots of plaid. Embrace your inner prepster with Vera Wang's latest scent, which contains notes of juicy red berries and honeysuckle.
Fragrance - Vera Wang Preppy Princess eau de toilette spray, $75 for 3.4 fl. oz., at macys.com
In 1966, Karl Lagerfeld was named head designer of the young fashion house of Chloé, beloved for its ethereal and romantic pieces. The scents of orange and wisteria blossom, lilac, and pink pepper in the brand's new fragrance -- inspired by the memorable scent of Coty Airspun Powder -- evoke a whimsical, retro style.
Fragrance - Love, Chloe Eau de Parfum, $110 for 2.5 fl. oz., at Saks Fifth Avenue
The '70s produced some of America's greatest rock bands, including foud "bad boys from Boston." Givenchy's Very Irresistible L'intense, which has Aerosmith progeny Liv Tyler as it's face, contains notes of plum and Turkish rose and comes in a tattoo-inspired bottle bound -- perfect for eliciting, yes, sweet emotions.
Fragrance - Givenchy Very Irresistible L'Intense, $93 for 2.5 fl. oz., at Sephora
In the '80s, power dressing ruled: think broad shoulders, sky-high stilettos, and bold colors. The debut fragrance from Jimmy Choo -- featuring warm, rich, woodsy accords -- conveys all of the decade's strong sentiments, minus the shoulder pads.
Fragrance - Jimmy Choo eau de parfum, $95 for 3.3 fl. oz., at Saks Fifth Avenue
On one hand, the '90s were all about androgyny and anti-fashion; on the other, logos ruled. With a high-fashion pedigree and ultra-modern bottle, Narciso Rodriguez Essence Eau de Musc creates a similarly unlikely yet delicious union of feathery iris notes with rose nuances and a strong musk.
Fragrance - Narciso Rodriguez Essence Eau de Musc, $100 for 4.2 fl. oz., at Saks Fifth Avenue
The 21st century started off with an abundance of technological advances. The new floral fragrance from Cartier, scented with juniper berries and musk, is inspired by the pale glow of the moon -- one of the few joys still available with no Internet access.
Fragrance - Cartier de Lune, eau de toilette, $98 for 2.5 fl. oz., cartier.com
(McMahon-Dunphy, Michaela. "Past Notes." Nylon Mar. 2011: 150-151.)