The style of perfume bottles changed dramatically in the late 1800’s. There was a great incline of the arts movement called Art Nouveau. Most Art Nouveau designs consisted of floral motifs, and were primarily used to design the perfume label and box, leaving the perfume bottles fairly traditional in styling.
Several famous pieces of this time were the Bouquet Nouveau, Royal Vaissier, and Cri du Coeur. The Bouquet Nouveau was a Roger & Gallet perfume. It had a square green-glass bottle with an unusual gilded brass casing. Royal Vaissier displayed magnificent Art Nouveau style paper motifs in the form of a fleur de lys designed by Baccarat. Cri du Coeur (Cry from the heart) was a Lorenzy-Palanca powder box. It had a woman-flower image which is a rare high-style Art Nouveau icon.
Belle Epoque was the preferred style for perfume presentations at this time. The style tended to be traditional, cluttered, very elegant and very French. Examples of perfume bottles of this style were Coronis by Monpelas and Roger & Gallet’s Gloire de Paris.
A new trend in perfume bottles was creating luxurious crystal look bottles with elaborate brass caps. The bottles had classic designs, and the brass caps matched the ornate gold labels and boxes. Examples of this style were Rose Ispahan and Prince Igor by Riguard, Rose de Chiraz by F. Wolff & Sohn, Stylis by Delettrez, Eros by Richard Hudnut, Le Lilas by Riguard, and Mavis by Vivaudou.
The 1910’s brought a new tradition in perfume bottles. The emergence of psychology and new perfume creations led to much more complex perfume bottles and names. The power of suggestion and dreams was having a huge effect on cultures in general, and perfumes were also effected. Perfumes were being marketed for specific times of day, seasons, and people. Guerlain introduced the perfume “Voila pourquoi j’aimais Rosine” (That is why I loved Rosine). The bottle resembled a vase, and the stopper was concealed under silk flowers. The bottle shape was again used in Guerlain’s “Muguet” (Lily of the Valley). It was later re-introduced in all white with a white ribbon replacing the silk flowers. This presentation was an immediate success. Guerlain later introduced “Le Mouchoir de Monsieur” (The Gentleman’s Handkerchief) which had an innovative bottle with the shape of a triangle and a spiral motif on each side.
Other creative perfume bottles of this time were “Rediviva” (Revived) by La Compagnie Francais du Lysogene. It was shaped like a porcelain coffeepot, and the perfume was dispensed through the end of the spout. Illusion was presented by Dralle in 1908. It had a silver case shaped like a lighthouse, and the perfume bottle was held in this case.
Rene Lalique was approached in 1906 by the perfumer Francois Coty to design the bottles for his perfumes. Coty was well established in the perfume industry and desired both beautiful and affordable bottles to hold his perfumes. Lalique was successful in fulfilling Coty’s wishes, and continued to design bottles for his future creations. His most famous designs include Au Coeur des Calices, L’Entrainement and Ambre Antique. He also designed bottles for other perfumers. Some of his most famous creations were developed for Houbigant, Roger et Gallet, D’Orsay, Forvil, and Arys and Molinard.
The Oriental Movement in Paris began in 1910 by Paul Poiret, a famous designer. Pioret introduced an Oriental style in clothing, furnishings and perfumes. Women who longed to wear the gowns he designed, but could not afford them, could still wear the perfume. For women who did wear his collections, the perfume was the final touch. Poiret developed a new perfume “Chez Pioret” with beautiful and innovative packaging. The bottle was made of clear glass with a colored glass stopper. It was decorated with gold tassels, and had a new label with a classic “R”. Pioret used his boxes as a tool for expressing the style of the fragrance.
Bichara Malhame was a very successful perfumer in Paris. His famous label on his perfumes portrayed himself seizing a mythological figure of Fortune by the hair. He also appeared on a Baccarat stopper wearing a wig, and appearing as an English judge.