It seems like a gift of fragrance has always been a popular option. This charming ad from 1941 has the perfumes of Corday dominating a winter landscape.
Probably the best known of the Corday perfumes was Toujours Moi. It was the first fragrance released by Corday, in 1924. The scent remained popular into the 1940s. Today Dana Perfumes owns the rights to Toujours Moi, and they still produce a perfume by that name.
Never one to do things in a subtle way, when designer Elsa Schiaparelli released a line of perfumes and cosmetics, she commissioned artist Marcel Vertès to do her print advertisements. Full of color and fantasy, these ads are a far cry from the usual “let’s buckle down and win this war” attitude of most of the advertising of the WWII years. Maybe it was good that someone remembered that people needed a little lighthearted romance in lives that were being consumed with the war effort. If so, then Schiap certainly delivered.
The ad above is from 1940, and is for the perfume, Sleeping de Schiaparelli. The perfume bottle actually looked just like the candlestick the woman is balancing on her nose! Over the years Schiaparelli released a variety of interestingly shaped bottles, including “Shocking” which was a dressform that mirrored the figure of Mae West, and the Book of Hearts, in which the bottle fit into a little book.
The rivalry between Schiaparelli and Coco Chanel is legendary, and I can think of no better way to illustrate the difference between the two designers than to show a typical Chanel No. 5 ad from the same era:
Here is a gallery of Schiaparelli ads. Because there are so many, you’ll need to follow the link to see them all.