The perfume diaries – the sweet smell of Harrods

October 10th, 2010


Chanel No 5

Image by The Style PA via Flickr


Fashion-Mommy was lucky enough to get to see ‘The Perfume Diaries’ exhibition that was showing at Harrods recently, and I am pleased to say that it both looked, and smelt amazing.

Perfume has been with us for a long time, far longer than I would have believed, and the Harrods exhibition was a celebration of this fact. There was a selection of herbs and flowers that go to make up different perfumes, and a selection of vials that you could smell, although some of these were extremely strong, a bit like smelling salts.

Every top brand was featured in the exhibition, which was designed like a timeline to perfume. The perfumes and perfumers were featured in chronological order, and it was surprising to see that some perfumes had been with us for so long.  I love Floris fragrances, and could not believe that this brand had been with us since the 18th century. Je Reviens – a favourite of my mom’s was shockingly revealed as a turn of the century fragrance. Whilst the fabulous Tresor by Lancome has been around since the 1950’s.

There were stunning, original, iconic perfume bottles on display everywhere. These ranged from fab 1950’s ‘Lady Dior’ bottles in coloured glass, Art Deco Lalique bottles for l’air du temps, Schiaparelli bottles designed by Salvador Dai, and my personal favourites, the Lanvin ladies.


Lanvin Ladies


There was a great display to the amazing Elizabeth Arden, one of my absolute heroines. I couldn’t survive without her eight-hour cream, whilst Red Door is a favourite fragrance. I always remember my best friend Dawn wearing ‘Blue Grass’ when we were younger and it is a smell that evokes pleasant memories of youth for me.


pretty dior bottles


The exhibition was extremely pretty, and what made it more so was the additional displays that helped to illustrate the fashion timeline of the each era. There was a beautiful Dior dress to illustrate the 1950’s, along with a giant Ferragamo wedge shoe. There was an original pair of shoes belonging to Judy Garland, and a film which featured Marilyn Monroe, who allegedly slept in Chanel No 5. The 1960’s display sported a stunning 1960’s Pucci dress in a vibrant print, whilst the 1980’s Halston dress in midnight blue sequins screamed the decadence of Studio 54.


Pucci dress - so 1960's.


The modern section showed the rise of the celebrity perfumes, with Kate Moss, Victoria Beckham, Sarah Jessica Parker and Jennifer Lopez all featured, along with the immortal Elizabeth Taylor, who kickstarted the celebrity sprays.


Hermes display


At the end of the exhibition, you felt that you needed to buy perfume. Maybe you’d rediscovered an old favourite, or found a new one. Either way, you had to pay a quick visit to the Harrods perfume department on your way out…

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