This is a blog post theme with which I have been toying for some time. I have seen features discussing which perfume bottles on the market people consider to be the most beautiful - or the least attractive - but decided to confine the question to bottles I own. Within this finite category I would venture to say that aesthetic considerations have come into my acquisition decisions down the years, but not to any great extent.
So I had a little rummage in the several boxes housing my collection, and started to draw up a list of possible candidates for either title.
Before going any further, I should mention that the twin pack of flacons above are not mine, but rather are from the little perfume museum in Barcelona I have in fact visited (though I can't say I remember them, as there were so many strange and wonderful specimens to take in). The set belonged to Marie Antoinette no less, and is therefore quite long in the tooth. In view of the unfortunate fate of their owner, we should perhaps be impressed they managed to keep their tops all these years...!
For the most beautiful bottle, I initially thought of going with this 15ml bottle-ette of Calypso from natural perfumery Ajne in California. It is one of the smallest perfume receptacles that could feasibly be counted as full-sized, as well as being the most expensive I have ever bought. I reviewed the scent in question many years ago here, and am pleased to report that I still have some of this sultry tropical number left, and that it hasn't turned. The problem with the bottle is - if I am perfectly honest - that the metal filigree work is tacky and cheap-looking: the gold is too gold, if you know what I mean, while silver - or any silverish alloy for that matter - would have been more refined. It is so easy to get gold-type metals wrong. See how much better this cheap tea light holder looks next to it? Hmm...actually, the gold filigree doesn't look too bad in my photo, but trust me that it does in real life - and light!
Indeed I made that very mistake again recently with some make up bags and purses from a company called Elizabeth Scarlett. Several people reading this so nearly got one for Christmas(!), but luckily for them I sent the whole lot back due to the cheap and gaudy-looking fastenings - and made sure to tell the company so. Actually, the pouches were also very creased, and even though I have greatly relaxed my high ironing standards during lockdown, the extremely wrinkly state of the fabric was troubling. Which is a shame as the designs were gorgeous. So yes, it only takes a little slip on one aspect of a product's design to compromise the whole shebang. Going back to Calypso, it also didn't make the cut because its spray mechanism has given up the ghost, so you have to unscrew the whole caboodle and anoint yourself with the rather sharp and pointy end of the little white tube-y thing. Meaning Calypso is out of the frame on two counts. And I swear I am not dismissing it because I felt the shop in Carmel stood me up when I tried to visit. ;)
Now there was a clue to my favourite bottle in the image above of the Elizabeth Scarlett pouch, which has quite fortuitously been styled next to a (bizarrely empty) Annick Goutal bottle. I own three AG perfumes: Grand Amour, Le Chevrefeuille, and Songes, and the prettiest of all is....Le Chevrefeuille! How much do I love that egg yolk yellow ribbon, which nicely sets off the elegant fluted oval-shaped bottle. It is not unlike a boiled egg that has been given a good hard squeeze, something I daresay we Brits are all looking forward to come June, hehe.
Then honourable mention should go to DKNY Gold, even though my bottle is scratched and battered.
I love its 'beaten' gold panels (in an acceptable shade of gold ;) ) and chunky square wooden top, with a soupcon of a nod toward Brutalist architecture.
And what about my least favourite? Well, there was a lively jockeying for position amongst the shortlist: a hot contender was the overblown and space-guzzling Oscar de la Renta, with its floral excrescence of a top, which makes it difficult to store. It is such an awkward beggar in fact that it also refuses to have its image rotated.
Then I do like the graceful arch of my Flower by Kenzo Oriental, but it towers above the other bottles, and invariably ends up lying on top of them like a stagediving pop star. But no, the accolade of 'least favourite' has to go to Olfactive Studio's Lumiere Blanche. What a plain, functional, dull, rectangular non-entity it is! I have seen more seductive half bottles of cheap vodka or maple syrup.
Plus my olive oil bottles are all without exception more winsome than this lumpen thing. In the spirit of full disclosure, I must say I didn't actually buy the Lumiere Blanche - it was a kind hand-me-down from a fellow fumehead. And I speculate that my aesthetic sense would have been sufficiently offended to have put me off a purchase even if I had been lusting after the scent. Which is saying something, because the juice usually trumps all.
Finally, another pic of the winner, topped off by its bright and luxuriantly bouffant bow! Spring is not quite here, but how cheering is this sight?
And now I would be interested to hear about your own bottle awards, based on your personal perfume wardrobe.
(Photo of perfume bottles at the top of the post from Wikimedia Commons via Marta Muntada Artiles; photo of palmier pouch from amara.com; photo of church in Berlin from art.news.com - other photos my own)