Perfume Bottle Art
Perfume Bottle Art
Excerpts from fragrance editorials "Art of Glass" in Allure Magazine February 2020.
Allure magazine's Liana Schaffner gives you an up-close and personal look at the fine art of glass sculpting, including some of the most iconic perfume bottles, past and present.
Art of Glass
Storyteller, curator, decorator, dream-maker: It's a lot of responsibility to place on one piece of glass. But the artists behind the world's best fragrance bottles aren't cracking under the pressure. Instead, they're reinventing the way we display our vanity - and maybe our humanity."
Novelty by the Numbers
It takes verve, nerve, and plenty of know-how to design a truly unique bottle. Here, some highs and L'Eaux.
$119 @ Macy's
100 - Number of different shoe styles the creative team considered before landing on the final stilleto.
13 - Height in centimeters of the impossibly slim heel.
3 - Years it took to develop a design that could actually be manufactured.
$122 @ Neiman Marcus
15,000 - Yards of faux phython produced for the bottle's synthetic cap.
625 - Miles of gold chain used for the first batch of bottles.
1 - Number of name options the team considered before deciding on Decadence.
$82 @ Sephora
2015 - Year Jeremy Scott send a Windex inspired outfit - this bottle's forerunner - down the runway.
$82 - Price of a 3.4 ounce bottle of Fresh Couture at Sephora.
$2.97 - Price of a 23-ounce bottle of Windex at Walmart.
Sometimes we have to design the bottle even before the fragrance has been made," says Fabien Baron, the legendary designer, photographer, and filmmaker behind some of the most successful fragrance launches in history, including Calvin Klein CK One. "The designers are actually inspiring the perfumers and giving them ideas."
The most iconic fragrance bottles reflect the hopes and values of the era that inspired them, proving time is truly of the essence.
Guerlain L'Heure Bleue
Floral Oriental eau de toilette $88 for 1.7 oz. @ Bloomingdale's
1912 - The heart-shaped stopper on Guerlain's L'Heure Bleue is meant to conjure the romance of Paris before the First World War. Internally, Baccarat artisans call their design the "gendarme stopper" because it resembles a soldier's hat.
Nina Ricci L'Air du Temps
Floral eau de toilette $69 for 3.4 oz. @ Macy's
1948 - The original Nina Ricci L'Air du Temps depicts a rising sun and a single dove to symbolize the dawning of peace. Three years later, Marc Lalique re-creates the bottle with entwined doves (shown) to send a somewhat lighter message.
In 1992, Jean-Claude Ellena told me he wanted to play with a green tea note for Bulgari Eau Parfumée au Thé Vert," says Thierry De Baschmakoff, the Grasse-born designer who's been developing packaging for top fashion and beauty brands for more than 25 years. "That was the first and the last time I actually knew what was going inside the bottle I was making."
Estee Lauder Youth Dew
Oriental Spicy eau de parfum $42 for 1.6 oz. @ Nordstrom
1953 - Because it's considered too risqué for a woman to buy her own perfumer, Estée Lauder markets Youth Dew as a bath oil. Designed for pouring, the bottle encourages women to soak up their scent.
Cacharel Anais Anais
Floral eau de toilette $62 for 3.4 oz. @ Macy's
1978 - With its porcelain whiteness, Cacharel Anais Anais harks back to the Victorian vanity table - and sends a subliminal message of innocence. It's an overnight success.
Revlon Electric Youth by Debbie Gibson
Fruity Floral cologne spray 1.6 oz. (discontinued)
1989 - To deliver a whiff of shock value, Revlon Electric Youth by Debbie Gibson comes with a pink spring coiled up inside. Actor Nancy Giles says the scent reminds her of "candy and acne."
Gourmand eau de parfum $120 for 1.7 oz. @ Sephora
1992 - It takes Brosse Master Glassmakers nearly 1,000 attempts to perfect the multifaceted star for Thierry Mugler Angel. The designer creates the "Mugler Fountain" dispenser for in-store refills.
Jean Paul Gaultier Classique
Floral Oriental eau de toilette $108 for 3.3 oz. @ Sephora
1993 - Depicting an hourglass figure in lingerie (a corset, to be exact), the frosted pink bottle of Jean-Paul Gaultier Classique achieves instant icon status.
Fruity Floral eau de parfum $105 for 1.7 oz. @ Neiman Marcus
1999 - With its nipped neck and fluted base, Dior J'adore mirrors the surreal proportions of a peplum - the full-hipped silhouette made famous by Dior.
Oriental eau de toilette $86 for 2.2 oz. @ Macy's
2003 - Bulgari Omnia is lauded as one of the year's best fragrance bottles. As the line expands, so does the number of unboxings on YouTube as people open the interlocking design.
Viktor & Rolf Flowerbomb
Floral eau de parfum $165 for 3.4 oz. @ Sephora
2005 - Bursting with florals, Viktor & Rolf Flowerbomb disrupts the fragrance industry - and some sensibilities. The grenade-shaped bottle is later banned from shops at Oslo Airport.
Yves Saint Laurent Black Opium
Spicy Oriental eau de parfum $165 for 3.4 oz. @ Sephora
2015 - The glittery bottle of Yves Saint Laurent Black Opium is less suggestive than the 1977 Opium, which came in a package resembling a medicine case - and prompted boycotts. (They were unsuccessful; it's still a best seller.)
It's the first form of communication and the first form of contact that people have with the scent," says De Baschmakoff. "So of course it has to resonate."
Behind the Glass
They story behind a perfume bottle is just as heady and complex as the fragrance inside. We asked designers who have dreamed up our favorite bottles in recent years to distill their creative vision.
$123 for 2.5 oz. @ Macy's
Architect and industrial designer Chafik Gasmi creates sculptural pieces for brands such as Baccarat, Kenzo, and Bulgari. In 2019, he crafted one of the world's slimmest perfume bottles for Lancome's newest scent.
$82 for 2.1 oz. @ Macy's
Jerome Leloup is general manager of the French fashion and beauty label Paco Rabanne. Based in Paris, he oversaw the development of Pacollection, a line of six unisex fragrances housed in flexible bottles.
$60 for 1.7 oz. @ Glossier.com
Senior designer Laura Yeh engineered the Instagram-famous bottle for Glossier You, the digital beauty company's first fragrance.
Additional fragrances mentioned in the article include Ormaie Les Brumes by Baptiste Bouygues, and Veronique Gabai's nine signature scent collection.
Read more @ allure.com / Read the full article online: How Perfume Bottle Designs Affect Your Perception of the Scent Inside
(Schaffner, Liana. "Art of Glass." Allure Feb. 2020: 80-85)