Saturday, 14 July 2012

Fahrenheit 1901: Fragrant Anachronisms From My Furniture Forays

It may come as some surprise to readers to learn that I haven't actually moved yet: I should have been installed by now, but the vendor of my new house deferred for a week, so the big day is now next Wednesday. I have, however, been largely off the blogosphere radar in the past fortnight due to a rush work project - my first paid work this year! - which of course I grabbed with both hands even though its timing could have been more opportune.

In any spare moments I have carried on with the decluttering and packing process, as well as stalking Ebay and making forays to local antique stores in the hunt for essential items of furniture such as a dining room table and chairs. Some of my Facebook friends may have clocked the recent table coup - I posted a photo of it on my wall - but the quest for chairs is still ongoing.

I have been so consumed with work and house stuff lately, that not only is my perfume hobby firmly relegated to the back seat - I wonder what type of seat, and whether it would work with the table? - but some days I am still forgetting to wear perfume. Therefore you may imagine my surprise this morning when these two worlds of furniture shopping and fragrance unexpectedly collided during a routine sortie to inspect some French Edwardian chapel chairs in Cannock.

For there atop an Edwardian dressing table was the following incongruous collection of perfume bottles:

Armani Code Luna
Prada Infusion d'Iris
Armani Diamonds

And perched on an upper shelf, to which its adventurous spirit had doubtless prompted it to clamber, was Davidoff Adventure.

I was just chuckling to myself about these fragrant anachronisms - where, pray tell, are the vintage Guerlains and Carons?! - when I spied another arrangement on a Victorian dresser against the far wall, comprising:

Daisy Eau So Fresh (x 2!)
An empty cut glass stoppered bottle

And on the opposite side on its own:

Dior Fahrenheit

Now in recent weeks I must have visited upwards of 10 different antique shops, but this is the first time that I have found any items of bedroom furniture "accessorised" - or is the word for it perhaps "staged"? - with perfume bottles, never mind such comically modern ones. A tortoiseshell or silver-backed hairbrush or one of those lace doiley things might have been more in keeping.

What were the owners of the store trying to tell their customers, I wondered? Interestingly, no other ornaments were used on any other items of furniture to suggest possible usage. There were no fruit bowls on the dining tables, no hats on the hat stand, no monks on the monks bench, for example.

Maybe it was a message from on high to me not to completely forget my love of perfume in all the hurly burly and chaos of the move. The very incongruity of Diamonds and Daisy etc may have been deliberately intended to provoke a shock reaction, which it surely did.

So here I am, marooned in a sea of cardboard boxes, but wearing perfume again and blogging about it!

Meanwhile, the little French chapel chairs didn't quite cut the mustard (they are lighter and more variegated than they appear in this photo).

However, I have my eye on these ones from Lincolnshire instead...

Photo of Gainsborough chapel chair from, other photos my own


Anonymous said...

Good to hear from you, V!
I love the chair in the last photo, very beautiful.

I'm sure this was a sign - don't forget your perfume bottles, they are here to offer help and succor in times of need.
(Although that probably doesn't go for Versace Diamonds... ;) )

Carol said...

Maybe the antique store owners didn't care about those bottles of perfume (in case someone stole them)


What beautiful furniture. I cannot wait to visit (either through photos or the real thing) your new place. So excited for you.

Vanessa said...

Hi Olfactoria,

Nice to hear from you and it feels good to pop my head over the parapet, however briefly. The pace will start to hot up again next week, not least when I lose my broadband temporarily.

I did take this funny experience as a reminder about my love of perfume - though as you say, not these ones specifically. Well, Infusion d'Iris is pukka (good enough for Chandler Burr, for starters!), and Daisy Eau So Fresh I was surprised to find I actually prefer to the original. : - )

Vanessa said...

Hi Bloody Frida,

That is good thinking about the perfume bottles - maybe they were semi-decorative and semi-abandoned!

Would love if you could visit, but photos will serve in the meantime (once I have figured out where stuff goes...).

Undina said...

Modern perfumes in an antique shop? Sounds suspicious. It reminds me Robert Sheckley's story Fishing Season. Infusion d'Iris, aliens - everything comes together. Be vigilant! ;)

Vanessa said...

Hi Undina,

Thanks for the timely warning - you are right, it is all rather "fishy" and an alien force may well be at work... : - )

Tara said...

Ha! I'm glad this incongruous perfume sighting prompted you to check in. Daisy makes me feel queasy, I'm glad the fresh version is better than that.

Love antique shops so enjoyed all your pics lots. I think those chairs you now have your eye on look great. All the best for the delayed move, as ever.

Vanessa said...

Hi tara,

Glad you enjoy poking around antique shops too. I never used to, I must say. I think they may be the new high end lipsticks in my serial monogamy of shopping obsessions!

I am very hopeful of those chairs, so fingers crossed they are there when I ring up tomorrow. And tomorrow I also get the keys to the house!

Natalie said...

It is nice to "see" you! I am inclined to agree with BF about the bottles; they just put out something that they wouldn't mind if it was stolen (although I actually like Fahrenheit). Were the bottles even in the boxes?

Mazel tov on the work, too!

Anonymous said...

Glad to have an update. Congrats on the work project, and best wishes on your nesting. Hope you find pieces that speak to you at prices that aren't too dear.

I love the word anachronism, and your photos of perfumes atop the dressing tables. It was probably the shopkeeper's idea of gilding the lily; completely unnecessary and distracting, but trying to add class to pieces that needed no help :D

Thanks for your sweet sample offer, but not necessary! That was NOT me trolling for samples. When you like something, and Marina over at PST likes it as well, I’m intrigued. I will keep an eye out stateside to see if it is released here. If not, it gives me a perfume to search out on my travels. Perfume pilgrimages are the best.

Again, best wishes as you move. My lease is up in September, and I’m contemplating a move. I need to declutter, whether I move or not. I dread the thought of moving, so let me send you and Charlie Bonkers positive energy and wishes for unexpected blessings in this change.

ijackofalli said...

You're right, it's a real perfume sample mystery! Think outside the box - they probably wanted to say! haha)

Vanessa said...

Hi Natalie,

D'you know, I didn't even think to check if the boxes were empty or not...half a job!

Thanks for the congrats on my work - I just could do with some more where that came from... : - )

Vanessa said...

Hi HemlockSillage,

The quest for "pieces that speak to you at prices that aren't too dear" is absolutely the name of the game. I secured four of the Gainsborough chairs this morning - coming tomorrow! - and they did indeed tick both those boxes.

I am inclined to agree with your theory that the antiques shop owner was "gilding the lily" in his placement of perfume bottles, and I was certainly distracted by them, hence this post!

And pleased be assured that I didn't think for a moment that you were fishing for a sample of Nuda. I thought you were simply thinking aloud, while on my side I spotted a Nuda-shaped hole that I felt I could fill. : - ) If your pilgrimage for this doesn't come up trumps, the offer to send you a bit still stands!

Good luck with your own move later this year, if you feel one is indicated. I am sure if two old girls like Charlie Bonkers and me can manage it - and we'll soon find out if that is so - anyone can!

Vanessa said...

Hi ijackofalli,


Anonymous said...

Re: Present Period Perfume Packaging Pushes Passion Past Pause, Prompts Post

I'm with Natalie -- I believe those perfume boxes are empty (but they do reflect the owner's/employees' taste in scents).
Locally it is quite common for antique stores to "stage" the furniture, but they have the sense to do it with other items from their stock. Perhaps this store doesn't trade in such small items.

Congrats on getting the chairs, and the key too I trust!

Feel free to continue to share Serial Shopping Stories ;-)

-- Lindaloo

Vanessa said...

Hi Lindaloo,

I have finally reassembled my computer (albeit on a cardboard box), and have just this minute got a broadband connection installed at the new house. This means that I can reply to your hilarious comment, which had me laughing out loud in amongst the chaos of moving day!

Yes, you are quite right that the store didn't carry any more appropriate items with which it could have "staged" the furniture, so the perfume box montage was clearly something improvised by the proprietor from his/her own effects.

Serial Shopping Stories are by no means out of the question, and I hope to write another blog post soon, once I have got the tally of moving boxes overall in the new house down to a slightly more respectable level. : - )

Carol Lee said...

Fahrenheit is from Dior right? This is my uncle's signature perfume ;)

perfumes online

Gerry Bossier said...

Beautiful furniture! I like the second photo better. It is very classy and sleek. I think, no matter how you arrange the perfume bottles, the loveliness of that drawer will still stand out. =)

Vanessa said...

Hi Gerry,

Haha, I think you are right about that!