This poster from a 1920s opera shows perhaps the archtypical dream of little babes tucked into their downy beds, left with visions of Mum, dressed like a Fairy Princess in whispers of satin and lace. Under the luxurious warmth of fur and amidst the soft clicking of her pearls, would be the intoxicating scent of her lipstick and perfume as you were tucked in and breathlessly kissed goodnight. You can see in the rosy cheeks, the glow imparted by the ritual. And what perfume did the dream creature wear? If you were as lucky as the churubs in this image, it would be none other than Coryse Salome's OPERA parfum!
Coryse Parfums was established by Maurice Blanchet at 64 rue de la Chaussee-d'Antin, Paris in 1919, then ten years later it became Coryse-Salome. Opera was released in 1932 and the last perfume from this great house was reportedly called Intrepid (1977), although if you look online you will find not one speck of evidence for this and only one perfume, Nuit D'Orient, by Coryse Salome. Nuit D'Orient is highly suspect to me, the advertisements bear no product information, not one review or customer comment, and appearing as if it is some generic made by a larger company fronting nameless faceless perfumes mass blended under psudeonames pulled from random lists that include a few vintage fragrance company names.
Even if you have never smelled OPERA, the juice itself is one you would know in an instant for it is a rather smart and rich smelling dupe of Chanel No. 5. I image that 1930s France must have been full of lush aldehydic floral bouquet perfumes inspired by the chicest original, never mind it had debuted a decade earlier in the early 1920s. At first I thought Opera might be a little less sweet than No. 5 but the Coryse fragrance is a dead ringer in every detail to the later 1950s vintage No. 5.
Why bother with a dupe when the first was so well done? Obviously everyone wanted that powdery scent with a furry animal base, even if they did not want to shop, or could not afford to shop, at Chanel. Yet Caryse Salome is said to have been a fine perfume house of the day, associated with Cartier and Baccarat. So what if I was initially a little disappointed with the lack of originality of this perfume compared to Chanel's materpiece? I am not especially well tuned into the family of aldehyde-laden floral mixes, so I'm sure some of the individual charm and subtlety of these perfumes still eludes me. And until I find a vial of Rose d'Ispahan, or one of the other mythical Coryse Salome perfumes, all I can say is- Welcome into the vault, Opera!
The Vintage Perfume Vault, where the scent of yesterday's vogue lives.