Thursday, March 19, 2009

Perfume Bottle Copy Cats: Perry Ellis 360 and Lucien LeLong's Tailspin

Today I am bringing another example of copy-cat bottle designs. This type of perfidity seems widespread in the perfume world with numerous perfumes housed in bottles that are copied from other designers. In the past perfumers worked with the most accomplished glass artists of their time to create painstakingly crafted vessels deemed worthy of the juice contained within them. Check out the bottle I found on the on-line Shiseido museum, a beautiful commercial bottle, a copy of an even finer one made by Baccarat for Elizabeth Arden's "It's You" perfume in 1939. It is truely an exquisit presentation deserving of a high end luxury perfume. Yet predictably, there is a low end Avon copy of this design somewhere although I can't locate a photo for you.

A cheap container speaks volumes to the consumer and what is says is not good, especially if the perfume is touted 'high-end'. Perfumes have long been considered luxury products so it is a shame to see the declining quality of packaging; it hints at the same cheapening of the contents
inside. When niche or exclusive perfumes come to me in cheap packaging, I feel a stab of betrayal. I spent money for something I hope is a magical elixer that will transform me but the packaging rudely wakes me from the dream- it makes me feel that someone might be producing the whole thing in their kitchen sink and printing the label on their ink jet printer- which is definitely not what I want to think about when I'm buying something that to enhance me, seduce me with its mystique.

Today's example: Perry Ellis 360 parfum produced by Parfums Stern, Paris... At first
the bottle appears charmingly unique.

But then I happened upon the bottle shown below while shopping at Passion for Perfumes (see links, where to buy and no I'm not affiliated). Lucien LeLong's Tailspin is housed within a "gyroscopic" bottle nearly identical to the Perry Ellis one. In this case, there is a flat brass topped stopper and dauber, while the Perry bottle has a glass stopper and no dauber. Also the Lelong bottle is an actual gyroscope, while the Perry bottle follows the lines but the entire base of the container is filled with perfume and a small dimple on the bottom allows it to stand up.

The Perry Ellis perfume bottle is pretty but it's not original and knowing it is a copy, makes it even less appealing. The Lelong bottle is much more complicated (the perfume is housed within an inner bottle, so it remains upright while the gyroscope could be rolled across a flat surface) and it seems to be an original design, and therefore it seems more desirable and more luxurious, something one would want to hold, play with and contemplate with each wearing of the perfume. I hope modern perfumers learn the value of luxury and reach out to new designers to create more of the types of bottles that made bottle collecting such a passion for perfume lovers.

I have seen photos of some of the new Guerlains, which come in shockingly plain bottles, despite the little badge at the base, they look cheap to me.... I should not single Guerlain out, they are by no means the only ones, but honestly I would never spend big money on something that comes in a cheap rectangular bottle that could be hair spray, when I can go back into time to have something that was made with care, and is truly fine. Yet some of the modern perfumes smell wonderful, and they deserve the best in bottles as well. If not the future of perfume bottle collecting is going to be very dim indeed.

The Vintage Perfume Vault, where the scent of yesterday's vogue lives.


Melissa said...

And sometimes they even dig up their past. An example is Lancome's new Hypnose perfume is in an exact copy of the crystal bottle they made for Magie many years ago. I think has one on their site right now. And there's also Jean Paul Gautier's bottles that look a lot like Schiaparelli bottles. I guess it's true when they say everything old is new again... just more cheaply made. :)
And I agree with you, if they're going to charge me an arm & a leg for a bottle of perfume, it better look nicer than something I'd find at the local drugstore.

Amelia said...

You have a good eye to catch the Lacome example. They copied from a great perfume however I'll admit to liking Hypnose (better than their newest release, Magnifique). I've always thought about JPG's bottles and I've seen a couple of other copies of the dress-form bottle, too. It's kind of fun to find those links between modern and vintage, isn't it?

Lawrence said...

I too am passionate about perfume bottles. Here in Portland Oregon at our main branch library is a book on perfume bottles that featured a perfume that came in a necklace case and it had a series of jewel shaped bottles that mimicked a fancy necklace, it also came in a bracelet version too. Also, If anyone knows the name of the perfume botlle used in the movie,"The Women" (I believe it had 3 umbrellas on it) I would appreciate knowing if it was in fact a real perfume or just a prop made especially for the movie. Lastly, see the movie,"Perfume" with Dustin Hoffman.