Category Archives: perfumes in movies

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.

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.

Parenti serpenti (1992)

If you asked me what is the ultimate Christmas Italian film, I would surely choose this one. Despite being a brutal depiction of the petty intrigues and toxic relations among the members of the same family, it’s a comedy, so the line between laugh and darkness is very very thin.

I’ve watched it many times, but I’ve never noticed an intriguing detail in Milena’s bedroom: the iconic silver, black and turquoise metal bottle of Yves Saint Laurent Rive Gauche on her vanity. Milena, as most of her relatives, masters the art of simulating and pretending, and rarely shows her real self. Using a very trendy perfume is in tune with the character, who wants to appear different from what she really is.

Thanks to my friend Rocco for the id.

La dea Fortuna (2019)

The bathroom that needs Alessandro’s intervention as plumber has a very peculiar decor: lots of Guerlain bottles lined up on the marble washbasin countertop. They have a decorative function, because they are filled with colourful liquid and not with perfume.

Most of the bottles are the teardrop-shaped flacons goutte, with shell-shaped stopper. First launched in 1923, it was created to hold the eau de toilette version of the most popular fragrances of the maison.

The taller bottles are flacons abeilles, still used for colognes and eaux de toilette. Originally designed to hold the Eau de Cologne Impériale, it’s decorated with bees, symbol of Napoleon.

The Women (1939)

Many real perfumes make their appearance throughout the film, but the most popular (the only one that literally moves the plot) is a fictional one – Summer Rain. Its bottle is first seen on a bedside table in Mary’s bedroom.

The bottle amplifies the name of the perfume: it’s topped by a naked glass figurine holding an umbrella to protect herself from a rain shower.

When Mary (Norma Shearer) meet her friend Peggy (Joan Fontaine), they end up talking about Summer Rain, which has already become more than just a perfume. For Mary, it’s a symbol of marital love, since her husband gave it to her for her birthday.

When the first rumours about the infidelity of Mary’s husband begin to circulate, the dynamic duo of Sylvia (Rosalind Russell) and Edith (Phyllis Povah) decide to learn more by snooping around the perfume counter at Black’s Fifth Avenue: that’s the place where the alleged mistress (Crystal Allen, interpreted by Joan Crawford) works. Once at the shop, more bottles of Summer Rain welcome the two friends.

The perfume doesn’t exist in real life, but there’s an interesting story behind the bottle. As explained by Lanier Smith, the man who chose it was the film’s art director, Cedric Gibbons. He selecte a bottle by the Czech designer Curt Schlevogt, who produced Art Deco perfume bottles with his father-in-law, the glass artist Heinrich Hoffmann. Lanier comments that Gibbons “added a plastic umbrella, a label and some festive ribbon work to the nude figure on the stopper and Summer Rain was born an M.G.M. star.”

Hable con ella (2002)

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Benigno Martín (Javier Cámara) is a personal nurse and caregiver: he looks after Alicia Roncero, a beautiful dancer he has been obsessed with even before she was in a coma. When he opens a cabinet in the girl’s hospital room to take a Pina Bausch’s autographed picture, we can see the products he uses on her.

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Three of them are by Shiseido. The red drop-shaped bottle is Energizing Fragrance, a floral eau aromatique created by Claudette Belnavis and launched in 1999.

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The tall bottles are from the Relaxing Fragrance line: the one on the left (with the shorter stopper) is the body lotion, while the one in the foreground is the fragrance. Hugely successful in the late 1990s (I used it myself for a while), it’s a floral green scent released in 1997.

There are some Chanel lipglosses on the left side of the cabinet, too.

And then a limited-edition bottle of Jean Paul Gaultier Classique, the powdery white floral masterpiece by Jacques Cavallier, first launched in 1993.