Monday, March 29, 2010

Deltah No. 7 Perfume

(girl outside drugstore, circa 1930s from

Who: Deltah Perfumes
What: Early American Drug Store perfume line
Where: New York City
When: 1920s-1950s
Value: 0-$50
Rarity: 5/10

The Deltah Perfume Company is like so many other early 20th century American companies. It existed in a time past and beyond the reach of the internet. For the most part, it was born and died without leaving much of a mark on our modern lives. That is, unless you were around back in the hey day of America's small town drug-stores (or you're a vintage perfume nut and you've put in the time to comb through the flea markets and antique shops of America's byways); then, chances are, somewhere along the line, you've come across a little bottle of Deltah perfume.

(Deltah No. 7 with box; image is mine)

Deltah is one of the very typical American "drug-store" perfume brands that florished from the 1920s through the 1960s. Popular in variety store settings, nesteled among furry wind-up dogs, depression glasswares, seamed nylons, umbrellas and gloves, they were America's optimistic, do-it-yourself answer to the much finer but more expensive imported French concoctions. But for a regular date night, what gal wouldn't have appreciated receiving a box of Deltah perfume? The bottles were generally packed into brightly colored, decorated boxes. The box my bottle came in is such a cute squatty cube shape, covered with festive blue-and-silver-bubbles-on-white patterned paper, and stamped with the Deltah logo- a bejeweled Arabian turban, with the velvet scarf below drawn back to reveal lettering: DELTAH/ Distributed by Deltah Perfumes, Inc. N.Y.C. The bottle itself sits in a cut-out of the gold colored cardboard base. The bottle is square based, ~2" tall and has the traditional Deltah label, triangular shaped, gold with blue print. In 1932 the price of  small flacons (mine is 1/2 ounce) packaged in a decorative box ranged from 85 cents to $1.00. The larger bottles typically had triangular panel design with the same triangular label and crystal cut stoppers (more often, you see the fancy or plain bakelite caps). These fancier bottles came in beautiful cases and sold for $8.00.  In the 1940s Deltah offered perfume, compact and lipstick sets that were advertised for $7.50 - $16.50. By 1959 the company was advertising it's perfumes for sale by the gross; at under $15 dollars for 144 packaged bottles, the price afforded shop owners a nice profit margin. 

(Deltah Midnight Hour at

The origins of Deltah Perfumes remains a mystery. Was it the creation of one of New Jersey's large chemical manufacturing houses, such as United Drug Company, the likes of which supplied most of America's flavor and scenting products at that time? A story published in 1932 in a local Prescott Arizona newspaper reported that the O.A. Hesla Company were the exclusive agents for Deltah perfumes. It seems a little unlikely that Deltah was quite this exclusive; after all, vintage bottles of Deltah perfumes continue to come to market from many locations across the USA. But possibly at that time, it was understood to be true... Certainly  the perfumography of Deltah Perfumes is very little known. However in 1932 the advertised line already included :

Mon Bijou- (this is the only one I've ever seen pictured in ads!)
Ecstasy de Deltah
Mon Desir
Une Senteur
L'Heure de Minuit (Midnight Hour)
Chez Elle de Deltah
(image: kbizandstuff, ebay)

and of unknown dates:
Chypre (I have a 1929 version)
Gardenia (another earlier release)
#7 Gardenia
Deltah No. 7
Rendevous (some sources date this release 1941)

(image of Ecstasy by Deltah, Ebay user Chevy21965)

In the early 1940s, Deltah came out with what may be it's last release- Rendevous. And the one I have-  Deltah's No.7 (which is not to be confused with their similarly named #7 Gardenia). My No. 7 is a sweet powdery old fashioned rendering of Heliotrope. I believe my bottle of No.7 dates post 1932 but not later than 1940s. I also can't help but wonder if there were more in the numbered series?

The one thing I noticed in my research is that Deltah did not advertise directly to the public but rather the perfumes were marketed directly to retailers, who then indepedently advertised them to the consumer, mostly it seems in little local newspapers. But the funny thing about Deltah and the real reason I wanted to feature them here, is the quality of their juice! I noticed this first when I smelt their Chypre (and we all know, I love my old school chypres)-  that it was a really fine version of Chypre, very well preserved and full of the all important top notes. I take it as a special mark of the quality of the juice, since the little bottle was practially a throw away, it had been almost all used up and was under no special preservation but even still, it was so good. Then when I opened this little bottle of Deltah No. 7, I was once again surprised by the quality of the scent. This time it is a simple composition featuring sweet, yet slightly bitter almond-cherry notes in what amounts to a lovely, straightforward rendering of Heliotrope. Some say heliotrope has a vanilla scent but to me, at least as presented in vintage perfumes, it has more of a baby powder type scent. Still it is a pleasing if old fashioned floral, very appropriate for early spring and something I would wear if in the mood for a soft, innocent scent.  Enjoy the photos of all the little Deltah bottles I managed to find online since there are no glossy magazine ads for us to oogle. Have you ever found anything by Deltah; if so, do tell us about it!

(image of Deltah's Chypre: Quirky Finds)

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

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

The Ghost of All Yesterday's Parties: Coty Nuance

(image: stevesvintageads)
Coty's Nuance was released in 1975. It was the era of women's liberation and Helen Reddy had a little diddy on the radio that you may recall titled, I Am Woman. In that same year, Prince Matchabelli released Aviance, a fragrance marketed to the suburban housewife with fantasies of liberation. The tag line: "I've been sweet and I've been good, I've had a whole full day of motherhood, but I'm gonna have an Aviance night." Even if it was just a moment in the 70's I recall those ads vividly. A frumpily dressed house wife strips into lacy nothings and greets her man at the door. The print campaign consisted of a  full-page shot of the man leaning against the doorway, as seen through the bare legs of what is his loving, laying-in-wait wife- but you can't find that ad online!

Also, recall the revolution that was Charlie, the scent for the modern woman released by Revlon just two years earlier in 1973. Charlie was raking it in with its cute, fresh working woman advertising campaign. So there was for mainstream, middle class America a multitude of images competing to define the "new" modern woman. She brought home the bacon and fried it in the pan (nothing new there but it was recycled to sound pretty good for those with short memories), even if she was portrayed as a strictly neophite version of the working woman... These scents were part of  the landscape of the brave new world of the 1970s. The fragrances were designed and driven by their advertsing campaign and marketing strategists, rather than having the advertisement designed to serve the real product, fragrance. The makers of these scents were more driven by Wall Street concerns, than any tradition or practice of art. They needed something to appeal to the spirit of the day and sought something that would oppose the conventional tastes of previous generations. In the case of perfumes, that happens to include some glorious, stunning creations, fine fragrances of  the 1940s and 50s from Dior and Guerlain and the like. So instead they gave the American consumer something new, something cheaper and also much more vulgar. In a way, the new fragrances didn't even need to smell so good. There is a quote from someone at Prince Matchabelli, I think, saying something like that Aviance sold well, despite not smelling very good, even to the ones who were making and selling it. But it appealed and in the end, won many dollars of sales through its advertising story. It promised just the right thing, at the right time. Nuance was Coty's answer to what perfume the modern 1970's woman wore. Coty tried to be right there with the 1970s zeitgeist but chose to play up the indivdiuality aspect, and struck a chord with the do your own thing generation. Nuance's selling point wasn't about it's big up-front message of a new attitude, but just a deft use of one of the oldest tricks in the book- "if you want to capture someone's attention, whisper... " It was touted at the time that it developed differently on each woman and created a lasting, evolving impression. Don't forget that Coty was once a great French house and had the tradition of designing great fragrances in their past. I recall magazine advertisements at the time, or possibly television spots, telling that Nuance gave each woman something of her own signature scent. I think I actually bought it for my mother one mother's day, comforting myself that it was a truly special gift by virtue of it's magical property of smelling different on different women. She was very sweet to wear it a while back then.  It was ubiquitous in the stores back then, too, and for many years afterwards. I believe it has been discontinued, and if you check at on line etailers it is growing more scarce, although I know there must be plenty of new old stock bottles out there collecting dust across the USA.

(image: mississauga at kijiji)

I have my stash of Nuance from an old drug store byout that resulted in a number of small Christmas tree decoration style bottles full of the cologne version. Coty often offered it's yearly perfume releases packaged as Christmas ornaments during the holidays ( continue the tangent thread of my nutty, out of time Christmas fragrance binge...). Nuance opens with a burst of aldehydes and soft fruity rose, a touch of cinnamon spice and more than a touch of finely milled, mild French soap note including hints of woody aromatic lavendar. It has shadows of a woody, even mossy greeness and the whole is blanketed in Coty's 1970 era musk, which has a rich vanilla sweetness to it. Nuance does indeed tell a story; it opens in control and assertive, the office gal who plays it pretty tough at the local bar after work but quickly reveals herself to be more tender and tentative, a shy and probably pretty girl who only lets her hair down loose when she thinks no one is watching, in the garden. The spice and aldehyde give it that inital push in the brash direction, and the lavendar lets you know this isn't just any shrinking violet in a skirt but before anyone forms any firm conclusions, the vanilla softens 'em up and reels 'em in.  The lasting impression is soapy, musky and a little sweet. I think Nuance probably has some well deserved fans out there because at this point, even to me, nothing smells exactly like it any more. It's ironic, because at one point in time Nuance was impossibly derivative; now it is more like iconic. And better smelling than Aviance or Charlie, imo.
The Vintage Perfume Vault, where the scent of yesterday's vogue lives.

Coty Perfume Rare | Noise Putty

(images from and stevesvintageads)

Coty Perfume Rare Noise Putty

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

Monday, March 22, 2010

Vintage Houbigant Esprit de Noel Perfume; Spring is here but Christmas is still near and dear...

Spring is here and now I spend more time outside and smelling real flowers instead of chasing after the bottled fantasy. As soon as the intoxicating almond blossoms begin to fade, we are treated to the early spring showing of cherry blossoms. Cherry blossoms are reputed not to have much smell, but that isn't quite right. We have cherry orchards surrounding our entire neighborhood and a very large tree right in our own front yard. If you sit under the tree, you gradually become aware of its gentle perfume, a papery honey sweet nectar scent and all of the bees that work the thick white clusters with such persistent dedication can surely smell it very well. Cherry trees open their flower blossoms before the tiny leaf buds begin to unfurl, and that's when the scent of Cherry blossoms peaks. Within days of those first blooms and by the time you see small leaves popping out, much of scent seems to have dissipated.

(image: Fashiontribes)

Despite the many charms of the garden, I have been contemplating a series of perfumes that I began collecting over this past winter, a Christmas themed perfume kick (or side kick). Caron's Nuit de Noël was my first inspiration for this series. Unfortunately I do not have a good vintage sample of NdN; mine is a modern EDP spray. It is a sophisticated fragrance, at once sweet and comforting, not nearly so dark or smoky as the vintage seems to be described, with vaguely mossy aspects. Classified now as an oriental fragrance composed of rose, jasmine, tuberose and ylang-ylang, sandalwood and (at one time) Mousse de Saxe and musk. While it did not blow me away, Nuit de Noel captured my imagination, so I began to notice and try a number of other perfumes with similar Christmas inspired monikers: Silent Night, Christmas in July, and White Christmas, to name a few.

(images: hprints)

When I spotted another Christmas themed perfume, Esprit de Noel by Houbigant, I knew it was one I really wanted to try. After all Houbigant creations are of superior quality and construction and the name is rich in history as well. Established in 1774, Houbigant began as the house that catered extensively to royalty and the ultra rich. Known simply as A la Corbeille de Fleurs, or Of the Basket of Flowers in the beginning, the shop was so called according to the quaint story that Jean-Fracois Houbigant arrived at the location of his first shop on no. 19 rue de Faubourg Saint-Honore with a basket overflowing with a bouquet of mixed flowers. He began to use the image on his sale bills and signs and for many years the shop was simply known as the one with the "basket of flowers" sign over the door. Upon his retirement, Houbigant passed the company on to his son and from then it went to another Royal Palace perfumer named Chardin. After Chardin, Magny and Gabillot took turns running Houbigant.
(image: hprints)

In 1881, the company was acquired by Javal & Paul Parquet. Parquet is widely reputed to be one of the first to use synthetics in his perfume creations. He is also given credit for creating the first fougere fragrance, Fougere Royale, in 1882 or 1884 (depending on source). Royal Fern is famous in perfume history for the early use of the newly synthetized material coumarin in its formula— which British chemist William Henry Perkin had accomplished only a few years earlier in 1875. Coumarin is derived from the Tonka Bean; Tonka is commonly used in its natural form as a fixative base component that softens and sweetens the perfume. Many say Tonka approximates the effect and scent of vanilla, while coumarin has more of a grassy, almost grainy sweetness and is likened to the scent of newly mown hay.
                                                                  (image: hprints)
It is at this point, in 1882 that most perfume historians begin to catalog the names of Houbigant perfumes. As you would expect from a house with such a lengthy history the list is quite long and in some aspects incomplete. It varies somewhat depending on the source you consult. Both Philip Goutell's Lightyears Project and Basenotes have detailed perfumographies for Houbigant (among others) but my favorite Houbigant catalog (the most historically complete and accurate to this point) has been published online at Fragrantica by member Grace E. Hummel. Many of you may know her also as Cleopatra of Cleopatra's Boutique- to me she is a hero of the free information movement on the Internet and especially in the area of vintage perfume, without parallel. I've appended her Houbigant perfumography here (she begins with the most recent releases and works back in time):

(1988) Demi-Jour (dana)

(1988) Lutece (dana)

(1982) Raffinee (dana)

(1982) Monsieur Musk (dana)

(1973) Chantilly (dana)

(1941) Quelques Fleurs Royale

(2004) Apercu

(2000) Quelques Roses

(1997) Quelques Violettes

(1996) Duc de Vervins

(1991) Sportsman

(1988) Presence

(1984) Les Fleurs

(1980) Ciao

(1980) A Rose Is A Rose Is A Rose

(1975) Ambergris

(1973) Civet

(1973) Air Nouveau

(1972) Indian Summer

(1957) Halyard

(1956) Eden Roe

(1955) Thunderbird

(1948) Chantilly (original)

(1946) Air Nouveau

(1945) Sous la Charmille

(1945) Anneau D'Or

(1945) Penny Merrill

(1945) Perseverance

(1945) Faune & Flore

(1940) Lilac Time

(1940) Transparence, reintroduced in 1945

(1939) Presentation

(1938) Magnolia

(1938) Honeysuckle

(1937) Eau Florale

(1937) Versailles

(1936) Verte Foret

(1936) Dedicace

(1936) Incartade

(1936) Farandole

(1936) Boutade

(1936) Town & Country

(1936) Country Club

(1936) Trouvaille

(1935) Chasse-Croise

(1935) La Nuit Tombe

(1934) A Demi Mot

(1934) Lyrisme

(1933) Cle Des Champs

(1933) Diapason

(1933) Presence

(1932) Abandon

(1932) Desinvolture

(1932) Dissonance

(1932) Demi-Jour

(1932) Autre Chose

(1932) Contraste

(1932) Les Heures Choises

(1932) Croquis

(1932) Allegorie

(1932) Ebats

(1932) Enchappee

(1932) Dedale

(1932) Floraison Houbigant

(1931) Entr'Acte

(1931) Parenthese

(1931) Avante Premiere

(1931) Avante Scene

(1931) Episode

(1931) Sports D'Ete

(1931) Sports D'Hiver

(1931) Subterfuge

(1931) Prophetie

(1931) Cadence

(1931) Resonance

(1931) Ritournelle

(1931) Interpretation

(1931) Jeux D'Orgue

(1931) En Sourdine

(1931) Consecration

(1931) Etude

(1931) Plein Ete

(1931) Emaux

(1931) Festival

(1931) Transition

(1931) Dominante

(1931) Chiberta

(1931) Tous-Deux

(1930) Fleur Bienaimee

(1930) Douce Quietude

(1930) Deci-Dela

(1930) L'ile De Beaute

(1929) Au Loin

(1929) Un Tour de Jardin

(1929) L'aile Du Reve

(1929) Intermede

(1929) Couleur du Temps

(1928) Essence Rare

(1928) Raffinements

(1928) L'Art de Plaire

(1928) Fraicheur

(1928) Premier Mai

(1928) Un Parfum Precieux

(1927) Bois Dormant

(1927) Dilettante

(1927) Royal Fern

(1927) La Fleur Bien Aimee

(1926) Un Coin du Ciel

(1926) Heureuse Surprise

(1926) La Fleur Noble

(1926) Temps Nouveaux

(1926) Sur La Terre Endormie

(1926) Souverainete

(1925) Celle Que Mon Coeur Aime

(1925) Curiosite

(1925) Princesse de Legende

(1925) Grand Air

(1925) Au Bois

(1925) Vert Gazon

(1924) La Belle Saison

(1923) Flatterie

(1923) Subtilite

(1923) Au Matin

(1923) Moulin Galant

(1923) En Butinant

(1923) Le Champ Des Oiseaux

(1923) Le Temps des Lilas

(1923) Douce Illusion

(1923) En Visite

(1922) L'Oeillet du Roi

(1922) d'Argent

(1922) Royal Bouvardia

(1922) Rose Ideale

(1921) Mon Boudoir

(1920) Un Peu d'Ambre

(1920) La Rose de France

(1920) Subtilite

(1920) Mes Delices

(1919) Un Peau D'Ambre

(1919) Mon Boudoir

(1918) Parfum d'Argeville

(1918) Note

(1918) Jasmin

(1915) Evette

(1915) Giroflee

(1913) Peau d'Espagne

(1913) Quelques Fleurs L'Original

(1912) Parfum Inconnu

(1912) Quelques Fleurs

(1911) La Rose France

(1908) Premier Mai

(1906) L'Oeillet Du Roy

(1903) Les Violettes

(1900) Le Parfum Ideal, reintroduced in 1926

(1899) Coeur de Jeanette, reintroduced in 1920

(1899) Eau d'Houbigant (original), reintroduced in 1920

(1885) Fougere Royale, reintroduced in 1900, 1920

(1882) Eau de Cologne Tres Pure

Anekdote (unknown launch date)
(image: trubells @ wordpress)

What a list! Well, you would expect such a thing from the favorite house of such illustrious and famous clientele as Josephine and Napoleon Bonaparte, right? And if you're still tuned in after all of that, then let's continue retracing the history... Around 1900, Robert Bieniame, an assistant to Paul Parquet, began working as a lead perfumer for Houbigant creating Houbigant's next big hit and one of the classic 20th century perfumes, Quelques Fleurs. While it has undergone several subtle name changes and reformulations including reprises reinstating the original formula, there are still excellent vintage bottles of a variety of formulations- perfume, edc and edt concentrations available. Those of us lucky enough to know this magnificent creation in pure vintage form know it as a beautifully turned out floral composed of jasmine, rose, carnation and a plethora of other flowers. I will be somewhat lazy here and insert my old basenotes review, since I can't seem to think of much to add: "it is a beautiful scent, not green-sharp but very balmy, polleny, exactly like a lush bouquet of assorted flowers, lilac, honeysuckle, narcissus, lily, rose, iris, tuberose, carnation, violet and more, heavy at the point of still bursting fullness, and the base is sweet and precious with beeswax and softest resins. It is light enough to be worn anywhere, and if you recall the scent of Faberge Wheat Germ Oil and Honey Shampoo, you have an idea of the smell of this perfume"... I smell jasmine foremost and could add ylang-ylang and orange blossom, and cross lilac and violet off the list, smelling it today. But exactly part of the charm with Quelques is that its mix seems to allow you to project your current favorites onto it. You should probably seek it out if you haven't already and form your own impressions. Sometime in the 1970s , Houbigant decided to do a retro offering of some of their most popular scents. The boxed set contained 1/4 ounce Eau de Toilette bottles of IDEAL, QUELQUES FLEURS, INDIAN SUMMER and CHANTILLI, and it has a very good smelling representation of Quelques Fleurs.

(this image is mine)

And now back to the Houbigant perfume that sparked my renewed interest in the house: Esprit de Noel. EdN isn't listed among any of the perfumographies for Houbigant, making it an oh, so rare bird... yet it pops up from time to time for sale (usually for a steal, being so incognito). The bottle I purchased (second hand, estate) is from the years 1950-1970. It is frosted, globular with a rather defined shoulder and base, and an atomic, moulded gold-tone plastic screw on top. Embellished with a red and gold fabric bow and a gold foil label on the shoulder that reads: ESPRIT de NOEL/ Eau de Cologne/ Houbigant/ Paris New York/ Cont 4 oz/ Comp'd US. The bottom of the bottle does not have any label. The juice is a beautiful pale olive green in color and the scent is positively outstanding. It begins with a sweet and bright opening of Bergamot and a trace of cedar wood, married by subtle hushed florals quickly give way to the real stars of EdN- frankinscence, myrrh and tonka. The air of EdN is the air outside midnight mass, whisps of the incense softened by the cool night air, traces of pine wood wrapped within sweet resinous balsams. There is a small trace of something off early on- it is a wide flat note, I often describe it as fat. It is bland, weakly sweet and soft, reducing the edges from the composition. Thankfully here it is used in small amounts. And as time goes on, I grow more impressed with the lasting power and strength of the incense notes, along with the tonka they are still going strong after 6 hours. I prefer perfume in nearly every instance however EdN leaves me quite impressed, especially for an eau de cologne. After 6 hours, traces of incense remain with a hint of amber (or ambergris), salty and powdery a perfect punctuation for the lingering gentle incense. It seems Houbigant went with a classic interpretation of Christmas and created what has turned out to be the current star of my Christmas perfume collection. It is befitting that it's also a bit of a mystery... Please share if you know or remember this one!
(image: hprints)
Edit: I just wanted to make sure I included to tell you of the candied citrus and a hidden fruitiness in this perfume. I did not really say enough about how sweet and persistent it is, leaving a divine edible trace on any fabric, and adding another dimension to this scent as does the refined support of a smooth musk in concert with the tonka and ambergris base, and woven deftly with the warm and soft incense but which only appears to me with liberal splashing and after some additional skin time.
The Vintage Perfume Vault, where the scent of yesterday's vogue lives.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Random Sightings- Kidmetics Cologne, Lentheric Miracle and Vintage Rouge


This week and for almost no good reason, comes a little trio of vintage finds. Each is worth mentioning in its  own right but I'm not up for three separate posts. First is Kidmetics Cologne... we have tons of this type stuff on the market now, toiletry products aimed at post-Johnson and Johnson aged kids. But back in 1953, the ads for Kidmetics grooming products for children asked, "Why hasn't somebody thought of this before?" Boxed sets contained children's shampoo, cologne and powder. This weekend I came across a little bottle of their Sugar 'n Spice cologne and it reminded me of sweeter by-gone days.

(image: my own)

Sugar 'n Spice was a classic idea for children but today the popularity of foody notes in perfumes has soared so much that we see sugar and spice themes in many adult releases, as well. Luckily for us, the perfumer usually works in a few other notes as well to hold one's interest. But I get the feeling that this children's scent was an afterthought of a marketing man's scheme to appeal to a new target demographic for consumers, and that it is done without much respect for the recipeint... Kidmetics' Sugar 'n Spice smells sweet and plasticy.

(image: Ebay seller cagna03)

                                                     (image from

 It's flat and heavy and reminds me a little bit of the gas they used to put you under when you got your tonsils pulled out, back in the day of  big black rubber gas masks. It's that type of sickly oversweet thing... and under this top is a faintly sour, powdery underscent; there is a smidgen of cookie dough, as well.  Mostly it is worthy for its cute retro graphic label and cool bakelite caps. Cute graphics on the box, too, and perhaps, if the ad is correct, it was the forerunner of a now huge category of cosmetic related grooming products for kids. From the Kidmetics division of Associated Brands, Inc, Brookland, New York, circa 1953.

(image from vintageadbrowser, Lentheric 1945)

(image: quirkyfinds)

Next is Lentheric Miracle cologne. Miracle is a sparkingly citrus cocktail with sweet herbal touches that highlight a light chypre base; really delish, it's a tall drink of cool water. I've said before that I'm a little shy of collecting Lentheric, many of their scents that I come across, seem to have turned...  The set above contains Miracle, Shang-hai and Tweed, three of the biggest sellers for Lentheric in 1945-1955 years.  I had issues with one of the companion bottles to this one, the bottle of Shang-Hai, because the perfume had broken apart into dark balls of oil in a clear liquid... But, perhaps it's only been bad luck so far? Happily for me this specimen of Miracle smells lovely and makes me want to look further into this brand I've mostly neglected.


(image: cgi_ebay)

And lastly a shout-out for my growing passion- vintage powder rouges. The ones you see in my photo wit the perfumes is Avon Dressing Table Rouge, in Ripe Cherry.  The center one is a vintage find and lastly is Heather's Oramber. These powder rouges can be fantastic finds! They tend to survive mostly intact, in wear-able form, even these many years later, giving a dynamite selection of authentic vintage colors. The powder is finely milled and contains some of the most highly pigmented of any powders I've found, including modern stage make-up. I have Oramber, a somehow cool light coral, and now this beautiful bright cherry red (brighter than it appears) in my collection. Both appear clownishly bright in the pan but when blended give surprisingly fresh and natural looking results. I use it mostly to tint my lips. Dotting it on with a small amount of lip balm creates a very pretty and very buildable color, giving anything from the sheerest wash to the deepest high drama matte velvet lip. Just a tiny dot on the apples of the cheeks, blended with a dot of that same lip balm, gives you the shining flushed cheeks of  a young Elizabeth Taylor. A little black mascara and a swipe of black liner along the top lashline (a wash of sheer white eyeshadow), and you have a fresh faced, vintage look that has never gone out of style. Now the disclaimer- I know and control the products I use on my body and so should you. Never wear anything you haven't checked out first, with vintage as with new.

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