Scent & Subversion
Decoding a Century of Provocative Perfume
By Barbara Herman
(Lyons Press, Hardcover, 9780762784387, 281pp.)
Publication Date: November 2013
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Perfume has been -- and continues to be -- subversive. By playing with gender conventions, highlighting the ripe smells of the human body, or celebrating queer and louche identities, 20th-century perfume broke free from the assumptions of the prior century, and became a largely unrecognized part of the social and style revolutions of the modern era.
In "Scent and Subversion: Decoding a Century of Provocative Perfume, "Barbara Herman continues her irreverent, poetic, and often humorous analysis of vintage perfumes and perfume ads that she began on her popular blog YesterdaysPerfume.com. The book features descriptions of over 300 perfumes, starting with Fougere Royale (1882) and ending with Demeter's Laundromat (2000).
Lavishly illustrated with more than 100 vintage perfume ads, it will also regale you with essays on scent appreciation, a glossary of important perfume terms and ingredients, and tips on how to begin your own foray into vintage and contemporary perfume. Herman also looks to the future through interviews with scent visionaries such as odor expert and "professional provocateur" Sissel Tolaas, punk perfumer Antoine Lie, and Martynka Wawrzyniak, the artist behind "Smell Me," the world's first olfactory self-portrait.
The perfect book for perfume aficionados (aka "perfumistas") as well as connoisseurs of modern fashion and design, feminist and LGBTQ historians, and fans of vintage advertising.
In Scent And Subversion, Barbara Herman explains how, at the turn of the 20th century, most perfumes were still just one note, floral. Then along came a fragrance that changed everything. "With Chanel No. 5," Herman says, "Coco Chanel said, 'A woman needs to smell like a woman, and not a rose.'" More at NPR.org
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