There are two tin boxes of Bésame Cosmetics cream rouge on the dressing table at the Wolford, the Manhattan strip club where Miriam (Rachel Brosnahan) works as a comedienne.
When Miriam decides to meet L. Roy Dunham (Hari Nef), a journalist who has been writing scathing articles about her shows, the first comment she gets is about her perfume.
The journalist thinks she’s wearing Lanvin Arpège. Even if we’ve never seen so far what perfumes sit on Miriam’s dressing table, I think Arpège is a nice guess. Created by Paul Vacher and Andrè Fraysse and launched in 1927, this iconic white floral fragrance would suit the protagonist’s bubbly yet classic style.
Before leaving Shy Baldwin’s wedding party, Susie (Alex Borstein) wants to get a gift bag but Miriam (Rachel Brosnahan) doesn’t agree because she thinks gift bags are “tacky”. She changes her mind when she realises the bags contain Chanel No. 5.
Susie ends up leaving with many gift bags!
What I find strange is that the only perfume bottle seen on the gift bag table is not Chanel No. 5 but Coco (see the black paper strip around the bottle neck). I would be curious to know why the prop masters didn’t use the perfume mentioned in the conversation but opted for a fragrance launched in 1984, decades after the time in which the tv show is set.
The new season opens with new adventures and new career goals for Midge (Rachel Brosnahan): she’s performing at a military gig to entertain the troops. Before the performance, we see her backstage with Susie (Alex Borstein), adding the final touches to her red, white and blue outfit.
On her dressing table there’s a can of the Australian hairspray Gossamer.
On another dressing table there’s the round cardboard box of Coty Airspun loose powder.
When Susie (Alex Borstein) goes to B. Altman to fetch Midge and take her to an evening gig, we can see a big factice bottle on a counter. Despite the hot pink liquid in it, the bottle is clearly recognizable: it’s Hermès Calèche sans the ribbon around the neck.
There are some Revlon lipsticks (with the ivory and gold case) on Midge’s counter. On a shelf nearby there’s a Guerlain flacon quadrilobe: impossible to say what scent it contains.
The other make-up products on the counter are by Revlon but I couldn’t identify any of them. Some are original (see the Paint the Town Pink box) but the others seem generic items with the label Revlon on them. I couldn’t find any evidence that Revlon nail polish had ever had those bottles, for example, and the same can be said for the black and red compacts. This leaves me a bit perplexed. If Revlon allowed the production of the tv show to use its name, why didn’t they provide original vintage items?
While Midge Maisel (Rachel Brosnahan) is walking through the beauty department at B. Altman, we get a glimpse of two factice bottles. The tallest one is Rochas Madame Rochas; the one with the squared black stopper is an eau by Lanvin (it could be either Arpege or My Sin).
One of the most ground-breaking eye shadow colours – the jade green Mermaid Eyes by Max Factor – gets a mention in this scene, set at the make-up counter where Midge works. Too bad this namecheck is historically inaccurate: the story is set in the late 1950s, while the Max Factor product was released in 1962.
Even before starting to work at B. Altman as sales assistant, Midge Maisel (Rachel Brosnahan) puts herself in the spotlight by recommending a lipstick to a customer. She actually mentions two shades, both by Revlon – Raven Red and Cherries in the Snow.
The first, launched in 1945, has been discontinued, while the second, launched in 1953, is still among the most popular colours of the brand.