Tag Archives: elsa peretti

Halston E03 (The Sweet Smell of Success)

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 E03 (The Sweet Smell of Success)

This episode tells the story behind the creation of Halston, the fragrance the American designer launched in 1974: it became an immediate hit and is still recognized as one of the scented symbols of that decade.

Even if I never write about myself and rarely comment on what I post, I’ve decided to explain what I’ve appreciated in it and what I consider a personal affront.

The episode describes well the designing process of the organic drop-shaped bottle by Elsa Peretti, the original Halstonette: born in Florence, she worked as a model first, but soon became a close collaborator of Halston and later a designer for Tiffany and Co.

The story behind this bottle is accurately presented: it’s true that the manufacturers were not able to fill the curved bottles with the machinery they used and it’s true that Halston paid $50,000 from his own pocket to create an adapter which made the filling operation possible.

The commercial accurately reproduces the advertising campaign with which the perfume was launched.

What has filled me with disappointment and rage is the creative process. When Halston meets for the first time the perfumer who will create his perfume, I literally jumped on my chair. Seriously??? Adèle who??? Poor Vera Farmiga, giving voice to the biggest mistake of the episode.

At least they got something right: the nose who created Halston really worked for IFF. He was the Head Perfumer of the American multinational.

Yes, “he”, because there was no Adèle but Bernard Chant, who gave us fragrances like Cabochard (in 1959), Aramis (in 1966), Clinique Aromatics Elixir (in 1971), Lauren by Ralph Lauren (in 1978) and Estée Lauder hits like Cinnabar (in 1978) and Beautiful (in 1985). In the picture above, he was portrayed by Louie Psihoyos while testing perfumes on human skin.

I understand the reasons behind the narration for TV and I get that Adèle is a reassuring mother-like figure for the troubled designer, but such a gross historical inaccuracy is insulting for the memory of the perfumer, for the designer and for those who were involved in the creation of the perfume.

I’ve covered recent and less recent TV shows by Ryan Murphy and I’ve often praised the impeccable work in recreating the past, but this is too much. What a huge disappointment!