Friday, February 13, 2009

Venuderme Arome De Paris

I have a vintage treasure to share with you before I take off for a glorious three day weekend. The treasure for today's post is AROMA DE PARIS by Venuderme. If you've never heard of it, you aren't alone. I searched high and low and couldn't find anything about it. I'm guessing this bottle is from the 1940s or maybe early 1950s. At first, I thought it was a bottle of toilette water but upon closer examination I began to think it must be something else. It was too plain, too generic looking to be a perfume and the name was weirdly familiar yet wrong for perfume; nu + derme- was this a treatment for the skin? But it smelled so good, I thought maybe it was a commercially prepared base, something a druggist might have ordered from Paris and mixed with flower essences to create colognes and aftershaves for customers here in the US. But since I couldn't find anything more it was a true mystery. To smell it, I was reminded instantly of Dana's Platine. Arome de Paris opens with the same bouquet of 'quelques fleurs' that I smell in Platine. I suspect it is mostly narcissus in a beeswax honey base. It could even be the same exact base as in Platine, because it smells that close; there is not much complexity to it but its floral bouquet is a divine mix of orange flowers, rose, jasmine, tuberose, ylang ylang and storax wrapped up in golden sweetness. Then I found this big clue as to the true identity of Venuderme thanks to an old Portugese magazine advertisement I've got:

Now I'm not sure if you are supposed to apply the product directly to your underarm skin to prevent odors or apply it to the underarm area of a garmet to remove odors? But in any case, the text seems to say that Venuderme protects a girl's best assets. Well of course this got me thinking about deodorants in general. How long has Secret (strong enough for a man) been out? And what were the early deodorants all about, how were they marketed? Below you can see a couple of the examples of 'early' American deodorant advertisements (from Noah's Images), including this one from Mum's :

The text reads in part, "Something men never speak about that every girl should know..." It goes on to explain that popular girls aren't always the most beautiful ones nor do they necessarily have the best smile, but one thing they never have is unpleasant body odors!

And this one from Veto really sums it all up: "Because you are the very air he breathes...". The couple shown in this image amuses me; she looks like a prima ballerina dressed for a performance of Swan Lake and he looks like JFK, maybe it was perfect for 1962 but they look very anachronistic now. The message is the same though- nice girls mustn't smell like girls at all. I could not find much earlier advertising for deordorants, so I'm thinking they must have become really popular during the 1950s.

Being a true vintage road-warrior perfumista, of course I tried Venuderme. For clarification: I will try almost any vintage perfume or beauty potion, as long as it isn't petrified. In fact, the more exotic and unfamiliar it is, the better I like it. And if you wonder how did Aroma De Paris seem to work, I applied it lightly to my post-showered skin several days this week, and it was a thoroughly enjoyable experience, given how divine it smells. The scent lingers most of the day, very light but distinct if you are close enough. As to how well it functions for its intended purpose, I can't really say since I don't have a strong need for deodorants, but even on my damp skin I could tell it has a gentle astringent effect, so I think it probably works pretty well. Now if someone tells me it is only meant for fabrics, I guess I'll feel a little silly, but all in all I'm very happy with my Venuderme experiences. That little bottle packs a whole lotta flower power.

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