When Elsa Mars (Jessica Lange) announces she will move to Hollywood for a fresh start, her “freaks” give her a precious gift: a set of Westmores of Hollywood beauty products.
The set is made of three golden bottles and a round box. The gold bottle on the left surely contains body powder, while the box contains face powder. The three bottles look like factices, while the box is emblazoned with the Westmore logo.
Ethel Darling (Kathy Bates) explains these products are “the best” and she’s right. The brand was founded in 1917 by George Westmore, an English wigmaker who established Hollywood’s first make-up department; he became the forefather of a dynasty of make-up artists who left an indelible mark in the history of cinema.
The medium stiff-bristled faux bone-handled lady’s hairbrush Dandy Mott (Finn Wittrock) is buying for the Tattler twins happens to be by Mason Pearson.
Venetian Romance is a fictional perfume which has an important role in this episode. It’s Penny’s signature scent, the one she wears when she meets her lover Paul (Mat Fraser).
Paul goes to a drugstore to buy it for Penny. Thanks to the screencap above we can see its bottle is actually the one of a historical and extremely popular perfume, Evening in Paris by Bourjois. The cobalt blue bottle with the curved label began appearing in the late 1940s/early 1950s, so the choice to use it is historically accurate. A cobalt blue talcum powder bottle of the same scent can be seen on the drugstore shelf, too.
In the episode we also learn that Paul is Elsa Mars’s lover. She smells Venetian Romance on him and understands he’s having an affair with another woman.
As a revenge, she badly wounds Paul: she straps him to a bullseye wheel and stabs him on purpose. Penny arrives to the circus and finds Paul fighting for his life. Elsa immediately realizes she’s the one Paul is having an affair with. “Speaking of cheap perfume” conveys her contempt for the perfume and for its wearer (let’s not forget she wears Caron Nuit de Noël), but also her envy for the two star-crossed lovers.
Dandy Mott (Finn Wittrock) buys some beauty stuff for the Tattler twins. His purchases include Bésame Cosmetics cake mascaras and lipsticks (in the trademark red velvet pouch) and Royalty hair nets (in their original 1950s packaging). He also buys compacts, hair clips, Band Aid tin boxes, satin headbands and eyelash curlers.