Sunday, August 8, 2010

Max Factor Green Apple Cologne

Go take a look at for another view of this 1973 magazine advert.

So do you remember this one?? I've been thinking about it for years. We used to wear MF Green Apple so much back when I was a pre-teen! The apple shaped decanter- in frosted or clear glass, depending on the size you bought- is so iconic and the grass tinted juice inside it was- fantastic. Back in the 1970s, that Green Apple bottle sat on so many American girl's vanities. You may be thinking that one of Donna Karan's very very similar (and I'd have to say, nearly outright copy-cat) Delicious scents would be an acceptable substitute.

But believe me, they don't come within a country mile of the original Green Apple by Max Factor. For a cologne, MFGA was very strong and clear with a tart bright and sweet mouthwatering opening. The greenness and appleness were spot on to a Granny Smith apple- which can be almost too sour and crunchy to eat as a raw fruit but it translates beautifully as a scent. And as lovely and long lasting as the opening was- there were sly flower notes, Lily of the Valley and lemony rose, and a stunning but light sweet musk base that fleshed the scent out and married perfectly to the opening tartness. I don't smell smell such simplicity in the DKNY apple scents- they have too much wood, too much perfume, and way too much production about them.

Max Factor's Green Apple owed more to Boone's Farm than to Primitif or Electrique, so it should not be surprising that I would reject LVMH's attempt to stylize and modernize the original concept.

You might ask yourself why you hardly ever find mention of this scent today- really, it's vanished so completely that to some of us, it had seemed like a fantasy scent; as if perhaps we'd all shared the same young-girl's fever dream... But no, it was a real scent and it was a Max Factor creation. It was so easy to wear, so natural- it was exactly right for a young girl. So where did it go? This stupid little cologne actually accomplished a pretty rare thing for a perfume back then- more like a modern day body spray with a good 3 to 4 hour sillage- it was light and tenacious- and wearable for so many. And you could reapply and reapply without ever overdosing on it. I believe unlike so many perfumes that languish, most of the bottles that were produced were sold and quickly consumed.

Max Factor did not choose to pursue Green Apple. It was made for maybe 1970s-1980s and by the mid-1980s, I believe it was gone in the USA entirely. It seems likely that perhaps some back stock was shipped off to other countries, as we hear some people who recall it in being sold in other markets through the 1980s.

Why didn't Max Factor like Green Apple? It seemed to fit in with their attempt to update their image in the 1970s, as with their Organics Line... But in the end and at the time it was just marketed too young, I believe.  After all, I was able to buy bottle after bottle just on my allowance and meager babysitting earnings; it's price-point was much lower than Max Factor's other perfume offerings of the same time. So that's one thing.

And Max Factor was changing rapidly in the 1970s. The third and final generation of original Factors had gotten out of the business to pursue their own interests, and the company was now being run more and more by and like a machine. At the time, Green Apple was almost a novelty. It had a limited appeal (only because of the marketing!) and in the end the almost hippie, natural vibe did not fit well with the rest of Max Factor and their Make-Up for Movie-Stars image. While Max Factor never really got a toe-hold in the youth market other players, Love's Baby Soft line of colognes, as well as Avon and Bonnie Bell, would dominate the growing scene of cosmetics aimed at young American girls.
But as for Green Apple- I always wonder, did someone connected to DKNY or LVMH fancy the original enough to seek out and snap up whatever back stock was around back in the early 2000s, when Be Delicious was on the drawing board?? And where has all the old advertisement copy gone- it was ubiquitous for a short time in American history but believe me, you won't find many images of Green Apple around now.

In any case Green Apple has become incredibly rare at this point- and it surely deserves a special mention here at the Vintage Perfume Vault for its well deserved cult status. I sure do wish I would have saved that last bottle of mine that I lugged around in my purse back in junior high... It's the time of year, I suppose- still summer but with fall drawing nigh- that's gotten me in the mood for this spectacular scent from yesterday!

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

note: I'm not posting image references here anymore. If you look at my html text you will see that I tag the reference site source to the image in the photo title, which I've been doing for quite awhile. Let me know if you want a specific reference.  


pitbull friend said...

Wow! How interesting! I grew up in the US in the 1970s and 80s and never even heard of this before. Now I'm pining for it. Maybe some day it will show up at a garage sale or thrift shop. I can only hope.

Amelia said...

I hope so for you, too:)

Amelia said...

But only if I don't see it first!

bakelette said...

Hi Ladies, don't know if anyone's interested but I just listed one of these on eBay - almost full and with box :) Long story short is that I also used to wear and love it as a child in the 70's but once I got it in my hands as an adult, I found it triggered an asthma attack. Very annoying - have over the years had to stop wearing many favorite scents. Smells exactly as I remember it, making it all the more bittersweet that I can't wear it.

moi said...

Wow, this post was a punch of nostalgia! Sounds like you and I grew up about the same time and I remember this one so well. Like Babe and Love's Baby Soft, I sure would love to get my hands on a bottle again. It makes me wonder if, 30 years from now, we'll look back on today's current drug store offerings with the same wistful craving. Somehow, though, I can't imagine getting weepy over Fancy or Midnight Fantasy. At any rate, thanks for another wonderful—and possibly wallet-draining—post :o)

Unknown said...

I LOVED this perfume as a teenager also, and wore it religiously!!! It sat on my mirror tray on my dresser with the likes of Love's Fresh Lemon and Fabrege's Woodhue ( my "adult" scent then!) I miss those scents so much! Even as an mature woman, I miss those basic scents that don't have fifty layers and end up smelling like something different than what you started with... Now to just get the companies to bring them back- lol!

Amelia said...

Yes, I think all us, children of the 1970-1980s, would go for MF Green Apple if we ever saw it again- perhaps DKNY was hoping for similar success with their Delicious fragrance line... if so, they such got it right- Delicious is beyond popular $$$$ !