The Joy of Living with Fragrance by Avon or When They Knew How to Live in the 1960s {Perfume Images & Ads}



In the 60s, Avon put out an extensive filmed examination of the many advantages of wearing perfume. The distance in time allows us to catch some interesting, idealized habits. They invited women to be "evocative, but provocative."

The more than 13 minute film reveal the company's promotional but also educational efforts, proposing for instance a classification of perfume families into 7 categories: "single floral, floral bouquet, woodsy-mossy, oriental, spicy bouquet, fruity, and modern." They presented a nose and what his work was about. They underlined for instance that a perfumer uses the professional term "sees" to say "smell", which is like smelling but with the help of one's own imagination...


One of my favorite retro moments from the movie is seeing the model apply scent onto her wrists than wave them as delicately and in as ladylike a manner as possible with all the poise that was expected of her. We are looking at the conservative side of the 60s, the uber-polished version of a Mad-Men woman, without a crease nor a ruffle on the surface of her demeanor. Would I dare dab perfume onto my temples like she invites us to do? Not if there is alcohol in the fragrance and if I were to step out soon afterwards in the sun.

Check out how Avon reviewed all the means of perfuming oneself, a room and one's clothes, including by scenting the rinsing water for your lingerie, a practice which still exists - see Tocca Laundry Delicate - but has not completely taken hold judging from the rare number of products available in this category.

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