Coty Perfume - An Old Favourite Still Available Today

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Vintage perfume bottles will always have a special place in my heart. Their characteristic clean lines and statesque bottles never fail to connote classic Hollywood glamour atop any dressing table or nightstand. While the most known example of their enduring quality is undoubtedly Chanel No. 5, I am always on the look out for the unconventional, and in this case more affordable, perfumes, eau de toilettes and colognes, that women of the past liked to use.

Above: Coty's L'Aimant "The Magnet" advertisement, 1939.

One of the things that always surprises me is their shared heaviness of scent. I wonder if it was the result of a particular "fashion" for heavier, more musky, smells or whether it was a necessity, resulting from the popularity of smoking and the subsequent need for more distinct and stronger scents. Whatever the reasons may be, I personally am still not convinced about the smells and in all but one case (which I will reveal in the near future) would not wear these perfumes. At least not now, while I am still young and prefer lighter notes, if any perfume at all.

Nonetheless, I like knowing that, were there ever to be a need, I can still go out and buy the same perfume ladies in the 1940s would, just down the street at my local drugstore! Coty's L'Aimant was launched in 1927 and was part of a series of cosmetic products of the same name. It was one of the first scents released by the French-founded American company, which is now probably most known for their celebrity collaborations as well as ownership of brands such as Rimmel London or Chloe fragrances. However, in the past, it was recognised as a stand-alone name and could frequently be seen advertising their newest makeup line on the back-cover of women's magazines.

I found a more in-depth review by a writer who knows more about the specific notes and ingredients - if you are looking for a more exact description of the scent and  a comparison to different perfumes, here is the link.

Coty's L'Aimant c. 1960s

The same perfume currently on sale on

Below are some photos which I myself took while on a trip to Boots. As you can see, the perfume comes in a variety of sizes and the price is always under 15 GBP.

Books, Articles, Memos

Saturday, August 26, 2017

23 June 2017
What is the marimekko dress? Who wore it? What did it symbolise? - all these questions are addressed in Alexandra Lange's article for The New Yorker entitled, Jane Jacobs, Georgia O'Keeffe, and the Power of the Marimekko Dress.

Click here or paste in this link.

Above: H&M's tribute to Marimekko, 2007.

Marimekko's first fashion show in Helsinki, 20 May 1951.

21 November 2003 - 15 February 2004
The exhibition Marimekko: Fabrics, Fashion, Architecture at The Bard Graduate Centre Gallery - (a link from the above article) this is a summary of the past exhibition, which focuses on the aforementioned Finnish brand, Marimekko.

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21 June 2017
Rebecca Arnold's short introduction to the history of pockets for COS stores.

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11 July 2017
Vintage dresser and model, Daria Nelson, talks about her fascination with 1950s fashion and recommends her top three vintage shops in Paris!

Click here or paste in this link.

16 December 2016
An introduction to Moda Polska, the iconic Polish fashion house, founded by Jadwiga  Grabowska.

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Where To Find Vintage-Looking Nightwear?

Saturday, August 12, 2017

How often is it that you stumble upon pyjamas in a vintage store? Much like swimsuits it seems to be one of those wardrobe essentials that is quite difficult to acquire. And once you do find a style that you like it usually turns out to be either not in your size, in mediocre condition or simply too expensive to justify buying. This mission can be a challenge to complete. Therefore, I myself have resorted to looking for a simple white nightgown - something which, as it turns out, is not that much easier to do!

Although I love vintage shopping, on-line and in store, nightwear (a bit like underwear) is a rather personal matter. One often (hopefully!) needs a couple of sets and the material has to feel soft and be comfortable to wear. I have made the switch to nightgowns long ago, primarily for two reasons. Firstly, I prefer the breezy feel of a nightie, as opposed to the stiffness of a classic, long sleeved and long trousered pyjama set. Secondly, they are a hundred times more delicate and feminine (well, at least they have the potential to be so) and fit in much better within my aesthetic. 

Also, is there not something satisfying about stepping into bed in a fresh, newly bought, crisp white nightie? For me, it is a timeless piece of female clothing which gives nod to the Edwardian tea gown - a style of dress developed as a more casual alternative to the typically rigorous fashions of the time.

My favourites are those with detailed embroidery or lace trim and always in 100% cotton. The one above is from Zara Home and it is serving me very well. I included a few screenshots with similar finds below and wish you all the best on your search. They must be selling these classics somewhere!

Zara Home

Zara Home

The White Company

Where do you look to find your favourite authentic-vintage or vintage-looking sleepwear?

Theatre: It's On Our Heads

Thursday, July 27, 2017

On until the 12th of August, Theater: It's On Our Heads, is the latest exhibition at The Opera Gallery - a small gallery situated in the wing of Warsaw's National Opera.

As soon as word got to me about the opening of this exhibition, I was determined to go and relieved that it was on during the summer - when I am home from university. Were I to be unable to see it, I would be breaking my attendance record at their fashion related exhibitions! Having previously focused on dress and footwear it seemed only natural that the next area of interest will be millinery. And so, I walked into a room full of headdresses, bonnets, horns, wreaths and even full-on animal heads. All were gathered together to portray the variety of hats held and produced in one of the country's most prominent wardrobe departments.

Above: Fascinators worn by the choir in Franz Lehar's The Merry Widow.
Dir. Maciej Wojtyszko, 2002. Designed by Izabela Chelkowska.

By dividing their exhibitions into the aforementioned categories one is able to focus solely on particular elements, which, when seen on stage, become part of a complete costume. It is easy to forget that hats are often produced by specialist milliners and long-time masters of their craft, rather than by the general costume designer, and because of this are entitled to an exhibition of their own. The attention to detail in the objects portrayed was exemplary, however, at the same time, one could tell that these were one-of-a-kind pieces; fashioned, re-fashioned, cleaned and mended to meet the specific measurements and survive the long, tiring hours on stage, atop actors' and dancers' heads.

Although the purpose of the exhibition is to draw attention to the meticulous craftsmanship of the individual artists working backstage, it also serves as a reminder of the collaborative nature of theatrical productions. It is not unheard of for commercial fashion designers to lend their talents to theatre costume departments. For the former it is an exciting new challenge, while the latter view it as a way of appealing to contemporary trends and an opportunity to welcome a fresh viewpoint on designs and productions which often run annually for decades. In my photos below you can notice designs by Joanna Klimas as well as, perhaps the better now known internationally, Gosia Baczynska (ever since Kate Middleton wore one of her gowns during her July 2017 visit to Poland). One look at the silver bejewelled slinky gown and feathered fascinator, which Baczynska created for the protagonist in Verdi's La Traviata (Warsaw National Opera, M. Trelinski, 2010), and you will not stop wondering why this designer is not yet famous around the world.

Theater: It's On Our Heads is a peek behind the curtain into the studios of those who rarely recieve due appreciation for their work. Along with previous exhibitions about dresses and shoes, it is a symbol of gratitude and acknowledgement for the work that can be difficult to fully appreciate when seated far away from the stage, surrounded by gleaming lights. Seldom do we thank these artists and creators at the end of a production and therefore I feel it is our duty to do so by visiting The Opera Gallery - especially since the entrance is free!     

Entry to the exhibition (entrance from the theatre lobby, 2nd floor).
The title hat features the design of Warsaw's National Opera/Grand Theatre by Antonio Corrazi and Bohdan Pniewski.

The staircase leading to the exhibition (entrance from the street).

Headdresses from Stravinsky's Rite of Spring. Choreography adapted, from Waclaw Nizynski's original, by Millicent Hodson, 2011. Designed by Nikolaj Roerich / Kenneth Archer.

Wreaths from Karol Kurpinski's Krakovians and Mountaineers, dir. Janusz Jozefowicz, 2007, designs by Maria Balcerek AND from Wladyslaw Zelenski's Goplana, dir. Janusz Wisniewski, 2016, designs by Janusz Wisniewski.  

Hanna's wreath from Franz Lehar's The Merry Widow. Dir. Maciej Wojtyszko, 2002. Designed by Izabela Chelkowska.

Costume and fascinator with feather plumes belonging to Violetta Valery in Guiseppe Verdi's La Traviata. Dir. Mariusz Trelinski, 2010. Designed by Gosia Baczynska. 

Kokoshnik's from Tchaikovsky's Mazeppa. Choreography by Jurij Grigorowicz, 2011. Designs by Andrzej Kreutz Majewski.

Detail from above.

Middle design by Joanna Klimas for Tchaikovsky's Onegin, dir. Mariusz Trelinski, 2002.

Headband from Franz Lehar's The Merry Widow, dir. Maciej Wojtyszko, 2002. Designed by Izabela Chelkowska.

Cloistress cornette from Mozart's Don Giovanni, dir. Mariusz Trelinski, 2002. Designed by Arkadius. 

Nun's cornette from Nino Rota's La Dolce Vita. Choreography by Zofia Rudnicka, 2000. Designed by Izabela Chelkowska. 

Masks from Hector Berlioz's La damnation de Faust. Dir. Achim Freier, 2003. Designs by Achim Freier and Axel Aust. 

Theatre: It's On Our Heads is on view at The Opera Gallery from 16.05.2017 - 12.08.2017
in Warsaw, Poland.

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