Several bottles of Floris perfume and a tin box of talcum powder can be seen on display in the cosmetics department.
There are lots of Bourjois products at the cosmetics counter. The beautiful round pots made of paper in pastel colours are from the Ashes of series, which included several lines in several scents: rose, lily, violet, carnation, wall flower, lavender, gardenia, sandal, heliotrope, mimosa/muguet, jasmine/iris.
According to Grace Hummel, Ashes of Roses, created by Ernest Beaux, was first launched in France in 1909, in the USA in 1913 and in England in 1923. As for the graphics, they featured “a slender vase with a single flower,” which was “typical of the Paul Iribe drawings from 1910.”
Bourjois paid homage to its own past in 2010, when the Vintage collection was released. It included 5 eyeshadows and 3 blushes (Ashes of Carnations in Lilas d’or, Ashes of Roses in Rose Frisson and Ashes of Wall Flower in Rose d’or) in the trademark little round pots.
There’s a bottle of Guerlain Mitsouko on Ellen Love’s dressing table – a contemporary bottle which was given the vintage touch of an atomizer pump. Choosing this perfume may not be historically accurate – it was created in 1919, ten years after the time in which this episode takes place – but it totally suits Ellen’s vampy and flamboyant style.
When Mr Selfridge asks his mistress to be the testimonial for the first Selfridges perfume, her mind immediately goes to one of her personal heroines – Emma Calvé, the most famous French opera singer of the Belle Époque. Ellen certainly loves the opera singer for being talented and successful, but is also fascinated by her lifestyle, which includes using Guerlain perfumes. Who knows? Maybe Ellen wears a Guerlain perfume herself to emulate her idol.
Several Roger & Gallet coffrets of three soaps are displayed in the cosmetic department.
From top to bottom, they are Rose, Gingembre, Thè vert, Jean Marie Farina and Lavande Royale. The choice of displaying these boxes is historically accurate: the third season is set just after the end of WWI, while Roger & Gallet round au chaudron soaps were first launched in 1879.
Harry Selfridge (Jeremy Piven) takes Nancy Webb (Kelly Adams) to Selfridges for an evening shopping spree. They stop at a table where several perfume bottles are displayed. The perfume in question, “straight from Paris,” is Caron Tabac Blond. The choice is historically accurate: Ernest Daltroff created this provocative perfume in 1919. According to Fragrantica, Tabac Blond is “a homage to women’s liberation,” combining “leathery top notes usually found in men’s fragrances with an eternally feminine floral bouquet.” It was a fragrance for women who smoke cigarettes, “the perfect symbol of freedom”.
Even the box that Harry gives Nancy is historically accurate: made of gold cardboard, it’s embellished with a matching silk tassel.
Box and perfume bottle make another appearance when Harry visits Nancy’s flat, now empty. She’s left them on her vanity table, symbols of a love story which is over. The bottle is similar to the original but the original front label didn’t include the name of the perfume and the brand.
Thanks to a larger shot, we know that those are bottles of Malabah, sitting on the glass counter next to Lily of the Valley and a factice bottle of English Fern.
Picking Penhaligon’s perfumes for this show is historically accurate, since Penhaligon’s was established in 1870. Some of the fragrances seen on Selfridge’s counters were launched way after the 1910s, though – Orange Blossom in 1976, Malabah in 2003 and Lavandula in 2004. On the other hand, Lily of the Valley was created in 1907, English Fern in 1910, so they could be actually sold in the Oxford Street department store.
Several bottles of Caron perfumes can be seen in the beauty department. Two types of bottles are displayed: one is made all of glass, with tall rectangular stopper; the other is made of dotted glass with gold fluted stopper. Unfortunately, it’s impossible to tell what scents they contain. On the contrary, we know the black bottle in the box is Nuit de Noël, a floral fragrance created by Ernest Daltroff and launched in 1922.
Kitty Hawkins (Amy Beth Hayes) and the girls at the cosmetics counter are ready to welcome Delphine Day (Polly Walker), a businesswoman and nightclub owner who’s the talk of the town: sexy and independent, she’s presenting her novel at Selfridges. Lots of Guerlain flacons bouchon coeur can be seen, including a giant factice bottle.
I’m not sure about the scents of the white and pink soaps, but they could be discontinued. As a matter of fact, their boxes and packaging could be coming from the 1980s, definitely not from the most recent collections. Contemporary Roger & Gallet soaps are wrapped in tissue paper, as usual, but they only have a round sticker – not a wrapping label.
Some flacons bouchon coeur by Guerlain can be seen on another counter. Most of them have no label, so it’s impossible to know what perfumes they contained. One thing is certain: their glass stoppers tell us they’re from before 1962, year in which plastic stoppers replaced the glass ones. As for the Mitsouko modern bottle, the pump atomizer is a nice way to give it a vintage feel.
Agnes Towler (Aisling Loftus) meets Henri Leclair (Grégory Fitoussi) in the beauty department. They have a short conversation about perfumes, from which we learn that Agnes is a classic British girl, who loves traditional perfumes like Yardley Lavender. The aromatic fougère, launched in 1919, is another not-historically-accurate choice, but it works.