One of the most interesting scenes of the episode sees Halston (Ewan McGregor) and Elsa Peretti (Rebecca Dayan) going to Bergdorf Goodman to check how the newly-launched fragrance is doing. The sales assistant explains that it’s sold out.
There’s a huge bottle on the counter, but the prop masters have done something weird here: they put the glass stopper of the original Halston perfume on a bottle of Halston Couture, a fragrance launched in 1988 (two years before the designer’s death). The original bottle was all made of glass, while the other had accents of silver, stopper included.
This scene is not all about Halston, though: if we look behind Elsa and Halston, we can see a couple of factice flacons bouchon coeur by Guerlain. It’s impossible to know what fragrance they contain. Maybe Mitsouko?
When Halston and Elsa leave the room, we can see on a glass table a factice bottle of Guerlain Chamade, created by Jean-Paul Guerlain and launched in 1969.
Next to Chamade there’s a flacon montre of Shalimar eau de cologne, a trademark prop in many Ryan Murphy shows. The gold stopper is historically accurate because it was used between 1972 and 1979.
Halston (Ewan McGregor) is getting ready to go to bed. On a glass on his washbasin there’s a Marvis toothpaste.
The bad lighting doesn’t make the id easy, but I think it’s the Jasmin Mint flavour.
The black toothbrush could be by Marvis, too.
Halston (Ewan McGregor) is becoming a regular at Studio 54. Before heading out, he takes a shower and puts on a fragrance by his brand. Unfortunately it’s impossible to tell what fragrance this is because there’s an interesting story behind the men’s scents by Halston.
Halston Z14, with a prominent leather note, was created by Vincent Marcello and Max Gavarry and launched in 1976. It was housed in the so-called “pinch bottle”, which reproduced on brown glass the effect of fingers pinching a soft material.
Too bad that the aromatic green Halston 1-12 was launched on the same year, housed in the same exact bottle (but made of dark green glass)! From the screencap it’s not clear if the glass is brown or green, so it could be both fragrances.
Michael Edwards, author of Fragrances of the World, first published in 1984, revealed in an 2001 interview with Basenotes’ Grant Osborne the truth behind this unusual double launch:
“I had the chance to concentrate on fragrances when I moved to Paris, to direct the international rollout of Halston’s fragrances, Halston (1975), the great women’s classic created by Bernard Chant, and the two men’s entries, Halston Z-14 (still superb) and 1-12 (both 1976). If you wonder why two men’s fragrances, the answer is that Halston couldn’t make up his mind which one he preferred so he said, ‘Launch both’. The names, Z-14 and 1-12? Those were the perfumer’s code numbers.”
In this episode we’re brought back to 1983, when Elektra (Dominique Jackson) is trying hard to achieve her goals and to help her three daughters (Blanca, Candy and Lulu). They share a dingy flat, but this doesn’t let Elektra down: it probably gives her a reason to fight and improve her condition.
The deep connection between Elektra and perfumes is nothing new: she name-dropped Caron Poivre in Season 1 and I spotted Givenchy Ysatis on her dressing table in Season 2. I’m glad we get to know her better through another perfume.
In the early 1980s she wears White Linen by Estee Lauder, a floral aldehydic fragrance created by Sophia Grojsman and launched in 1978.
In 1983 this was the advert of the perfume: model Karen Graham, portrayed by Victor Skrebneski, was wearing a chic white outfit with blue details and looked relaxed in an elegant mansion. The imagery conjured here is so different from the world of Elektra, but it represents a goal to reach – money, luxury, comfort.
On her dressing table there’s also an orange OPI nail polish.
Selena is in her bathroom, getting ready to go and take Yolanda to the hospital. Among the lipliners on the counter there is Cork (muted golden brown) by MAC.
The lipstick she wears is a brownish pink shade by MAC.
Selena (Christian Serratos) has just arrived at her boutique to interview candidates for a sales assistant position. Yolanda (Natasha Perez) hands her a MAC lipstick.
When Selena applies it, we can see it’s a deep red shade, possibly Russian Red (intense bluish red), which she used in real life.
Lemar Khan (Jason A. Rodriguez), a former member of the House of Abundance, Ferocity, Evangelista and Wintour, is now the father of the House of Khan and he’s ready to challenge his former mother, Elekra Evangelista.
On his dressing table we can see a bottle of Thayers rose petal and witch hazel alcohol-free toner and a bright red nail polish by Sally Hansen.
There’s also a pump bottle of Palmer’s Cocoa Butter Formula moisturizing hand wash.
The protagonist of the episode At the Opera is Eve (Shirley MacLaine), a woman with a fashion emergency that ensues when her rival, Madame Lisari, gets photographed in a dress that Eve believed to be a unique piece.
The perfume bottle on her dressing table is Hermès Calèche, a 1961 floral fragrance created by Guy Robert.
The bedroom of Blanche Devereaux (Rue McClanahan) has often been under the spotlight for its distinctive palm leaf wallpaper and the exquisite pink and green decor. But let’s not forget the many perfume bottles on her vanity.
In the screencap above, there’s a splash bottle of Delagar Royal Dove cologne, housed in a bottle with pink bird stopper. The design was clearly inspired by Nina Ricci L’air du temps, housed in the dove-topped bottle created by Marc Lalique in 1951.
This floral fragrance, now discontinued, was launched in 1982.