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Scent and Subversion: Decoding A Century Of Provocative Perfume

Scent and Subversion: Decoding A Century Of Provocative Perfume

by Barbara Herman
Scent and Subversion: Decoding A Century Of Provocative Perfume

Scent and Subversion: Decoding A Century Of Provocative Perfume

by Barbara Herman

Hardcover(First Edition)



Let Scent and Subversion take you for a whiff on the wild side of 20th century perfume.Perfume has been — and continues to be — subversive. By playing with gender conventions, highlighting the ripe smells of the human body, or celebrating queer and louche identities, 20th-century perfume broke free from the assumptions of the prior century, and became a largely unrecognized part of the social and style revolutions of the modern era. In Scent and Subversion: Decoding a Century of Provocative Perfume, Barbara Herman continues her irreverent, poetic, and often humorous analysis of vintage perfumes and perfume ads that she began on her popular blog The book features descriptions of over 300 perfumes, starting with Fougère Royale (1882) and ending with Demeter's Laundromat (2000).Lavishly illustrated with more than 100 vintage perfume ads, it will also regale you with essays on scent appreciation, a glossary of important perfume terms and ingredients, and tips on how to begin your own foray into vintage and contemporary perfume. Herman also looks to the future through interviews with scent visionaries such as odor expert and "professional provocateur" Sissel Tolaas, punk perfumer Antoine Lie, and Martynka Wawrzyniak, the artist behind "Smell Me," the world's first olfactory self-portrait.The perfect book for perfume aficionados (aka "perfumistas") as well as connoisseurs of modern fashion and design, feminist and LGBTQ historians, and fans of vintage advertising.

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780762784387
Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.
Publication date: 11/05/2013
Edition description: First Edition
Pages: 288
Product dimensions: 5.60(w) x 7.60(h) x 1.20(d)

About the Author

Barbara Herman has been the go-to expert on vintage perfume since she began her blog, Yesterday’s Perfume (, in 2008. She’s a senior writer for sparks & honey advertising agency in New York City and has written for Newsweek,, EsquireUK,,, and International Business Times. She lives in Brooklyn.

Table of Contents

Part I Introduction

My Chemical Romance: Why the Perfumed Life is Worth Living

Why Vintage? 3

Take a Whiff on the Wild Side 5

Smell Bent: The Subculture of Perfume Lovers and the Resurgence of Scent 10

Scent Is Subversive 11

Part II Twentieth-Century Perfume Profiles

The Icons of Modernity: Fougère Royale, Jicky, Chypre (1882-1919) 19

Fragrance Fantasias: Shalimar Emeraude, Chanel No. 5 (1920-1929) 31

The Dirty '30s: Tabu, Scandal, Shocking (1930-1939) 51

The New Look, The New Scents: Vent Vert, Femme, Miss Dior (1940-1949) 77

The Bold and the Beautiful: Intimate, Cabochard, Youth Dew (1950-1959) 97

Flower Power: Norell, Fidji, Calandre (1960-1969) 111

A Breath of Fresh Air: Aliage, Diorella, White Linen (1970-1979) 133

Think Big: Paris, Poison, Paloma Picasso Mon Parfum (1980-1989) 175

Water, Water, Everywhere: CK One, L'Eau D'Issey, Laundromat (1990-2000) 209

Part III The Future of Scout and Subversion

Scent Visionaries 233

Antoine Lie and État Libre d'Orange's Sécrétions Magnifiques: Fragrance Meant to Disturb 233

Christopher Brosius of CB I Hate Perfume: Miring Memory with Desire 237

Sissel Tolaas: Scent as Communication and Information 239

Martynka Wawrzyniak: "Smell Me": An Artists Olfactory Self-Portrait 242

A Brief History of Animal Notes in Perfume 246

Perfume 101: How to Become an Informed Perfume Lover 256

Starting a Vintage Perfume Collection: Some Tips 260

Acknowledgments 265

Glossary 267

Recommended Reading 277

Index 278

About the Author 282

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