All posts by Born Unicorn

Pedantic archivist of beauty products in films and tv shows

Self-Portrait Reflection in the Window of the Guerlain Boutique (1930)

This self portrait was taken by the American photographer Lee Miller around 1930 in Paris. The surface reflecting her image was the window of the Guerlain boutique.

The two bottles are flacons bouchon coeur, designed by Raymond Guerlain in the early 1910s to house three fragrances in their extrait version (L’Heure Bleue, Mitsouko and Fol Arôme). The front labels are not readable, so it’s impossible to know exactly what perfumes they contained. We can make some assumptions, though: all the three fragrances I’ve mentioned above are good candidates, because they were released well before the 1930s (L’Heure Bleue and Fol Arôme in 1912, Mitsouko in 1919). One may also include Shalimar as a possible candidate: launched in 1925 in the famous flacon chauve souris, somehow it was available in the flacon bouchon coeur, too, although it’s an anomaly, as beautifully explained by Dimitri Dimitriadis.

Another question that arises is about the location of the shop. Where was this picture taken? The French perfume house was founded in 1828 and had its first shop at 42, rue de Rivoli in Paris. In 1840 the flagship store was opened at 15, rue de la Paix. When Miller took this picture, the flagship store was at  68, Champs-Elysées, the same location it has today. That is where the beautiful picture above was taken and that is where Miller’s picture was taken as well.

Miller took other pictures outside the Guerlain store, and from them we can see the location was indeed the Champs-Elysées (see the characteristic arched windows).

Special mention to the shot Exploding Hand, which shows the scratches left by thousands of rings, worn by Guerlain customers, on the glass entrance door.

Picture source and source.

Thanks to my friend Rocco for sharing this photo with me.

This Is Paris (2020)

Paris is getting ready to meet former classmates from the Utah boarding school she attended as a teenager [1].

She’s holding a NARS compact, probably containing the All Day Luminous powder foundation or another pressed powder product.

[1] I never write personal comments on the films I post about, but this time I feel I have to. This is Paris is a documentary by Alexandra Dean which throws some light on what is behind the glamour and fame of the American heiress. Her experience at Provo Canyon boarding school and the trauma that she’s still dealing is not easy to witness, but I think Paris was brave to standing up and share painful memories as an attempt to deal with them. She has also joined the Breaking Code Silence movement to raise awareness about the damages caused by the Troubled Teen industry.

Pieces of a Woman (2020)

Martha (Vanessa Kirby) goes shopping at a department store. The lip colour she wears is Maybelline Superstay Ink crayon lipstick in Settle for More. The brand sticker has been removed.

In the same display there are other Maybelline make-up items – Fit Me! Matte + Poreless foundations and Fit Me! concealers.

Bitter Moon (1992)

When Mimi (Emmanuelle Seigner) follows Oscar at a house party after their break-up, she’s wearing a drab dress and looks very depressed. He mocks her by advising to put some make-up on. She follows the advice by powdering her face.

In the bathroom where Mimi powders her face there are three great perfumes. The first on the left is Hermès Calèche, created by Guy Robert and launched in 1961.

The bottle with drop-shaped stopper is Van Cleef & Arpels First, created by Jean-Claude Ellena and launched in 1976.

Last, Caron Nocturnes de Caron in the fascinating black bottle with round glass stopper. This floral perfume, created by Gerard Lefort, was launched in 1981.

Été 85 (2020)

David (Benjamin Voisin) and Alex (Félix Lefebvre) are recovering after being attacked by bullies at a local fun fair. They’re cleaning themselves up in David’s bathroom.

The first bottle I can see on the left side of the bathroom shelf is Boucheron Pour Homme eau de toilette. I don’t think David wears it, so it’s likely to be something his late father used to wear.

There’s another perfume bottle, and this definitely belongs to David’s mother, the outgoing Mrs. Gorman. It’s Fabergé Babe, a floral fragrance launched in 1977 and famously advertised by Margaux Hemingway.

In the screencap above there’s also a tube of Colgate toothpaste.

On the shelf there’s also a bottle of Pétrole Hahn Vert hair lotion and a box of Nivea Creme.

Conte d’hiver (1992)

Félicie works as a hairdresser. One of her clients is reading a magazine while having her hair washed. The back cover of the magazine features an advert that will surely send a thrill of excitement down your spine: the ubiquitous Guerlain Samsara!

The nose who created one of the greatest Oriental fragrances was Jean-Paul Guerlain. Launched in 1989, it was housed in a beautiful pagoda-like red bottle with gold accents.