December 10, 2022
A Note From The Founders...

The holiday season is celebrated in many different ways, and it's all about family and friends. And of course, perfumes and vanity items!

We didn't realize the variety of holiday themed items we've collected over the years until we started to unpack and organize them for our seasonal displays.

We've turned the Passageway into a holiday Passageway, with new showcases and a large tree decorated with mini perfumes and compacts. We thought we'd share some of our holiday themed items in this issue.

Please visit our website for tour schedules or contact us if you're planning a visit.

Happy Holidays to all!

Jeffrey and Rusty, Co-founders
Holiday Collecting Categories...
Like all collectibles, holiday themed perfumes and vanity items can also fit into specific collecting categories. Bottles, compacts, powders and ephemera are just a few categories that are included in the Perfume Passage holiday collection that are on display throughout the galleries.
Perfumes and Colognes

Arthur Philippi produced a variety of drugstore perfumes in the 1940s. They were located in New York and many of their perfume presentations had Christmas motifs. Their Noel fragrance (left) had a bottle with a tree as a stopper and came in this one ounce size. A fun Philippi perfume and corsage, perfect for Christmas or even a holiday wedding, came with a tiny bottle attached in the center (below).

(Above) Prince Matchabelli Potpourri and Holly Berry colognes in the boxes. Each box has the image of Santa pulling his sled with reindeer sitting in the driver's seat. The bottles date from 1953-56.

(Left) A 1920s crowntop perfume by Heinz Brothers features a standing Santa Claus wearing his usual red suit and he has a sack of toys slung over his shoulder! The bottle is impressed Germany 5912 on the back.
A sweet Kolone Kanes set with cologne and bubble bath was a perfect holiday gift for children in 1946! Made by the Mayo-Reese company from Chicago, the glass bottles are candy cane shaped and have cork stoppers.
1950s Apple Blossom perfume bottle in plastic boot!
New York's Rubicon Inc. produced this Snowman Perfume that could also be used as an ornament. The box included the original price tag of 26 cents from McCrory's dime store. The snowman is a styrofoam covered glass bottle that dates from the 1940-50s.
1987 Pierre Cardin After Shave ornament distributed by the Shulton company.
Richard Hudnut Yanky Clover mini perfume housed in a plastic green leaf ornament, 1950s
Arthur Philippi miniature perfumes plastic ornament from the 1940s. The fragrances are Gardenia, Six Flowers and Apple Blossom.
Seaforth Spiced Cologne & Aftershave Christmas set. The box has an Image of a man dancing with a Highland Santa Claus. The product was distributed by Prince Matchabelli in 1957.
J.B. Williams Aqua Velva Ice Blue aftershave. The box has an image of an elf sitting in a wreath. From the 1980s.
The Coty Sleigh Bells compact included powder and rouge. The bells at the top actually jingled! Advertised in a 1942 Vogue magazine selling for $5
Wadsworth and Henriette made several ball shaped compacts in the 1950s including these known as the Christmas ball compacts. The insides have mirrors and powder areas. They have a flat spot on the bottom so they don't roll off a vanity table!
Estee Lauder
Estee Lauder has been producing solid perfumes since 1967, many with holiday themes! Since 2001 they have introduced a solid perfume holiday bear for London's Harrods department store, including this 2006 edition named Alexander. The other solids are Candy Cane (2008), Holiday Wreath (2006) and Prancing Reindeer (2005)
Holiday Ephemera
Holiday ads are a great way to date and learn the original cost of our collectibles! From the left: Woolworths (1947), Seaforth (1955) and Rubicon (1946)

Original Lanvin watercolors used in 1950s advertisements for Cresendo and Arpege perfume bottles. The artist is Alexander Warren Montel (1921-2002) who was a fashion illustrator for the House of Lanvin in the 1950s. He included glitter on the bottles on this image (left) to make them shine and sparkle.

An 11" x 17" Lanvin Arpege Christmas tree original watercolor (right) has a black and gold bottle of Arpege in the center. It's signed and numbered 67.
1950s Schiaparelli Shocking original watercolor for a holiday advertisement and a 1950s Elizabeth Arden advertisement for Noel fragrance by artist Rene Gruau.

This "Christmas Tree" is a holiday presentation with Pinx and Deviltry fragrances by De Raymond released in 1940. It's a glass bottle inside an opalescent plastic tree that looks as bright as neon. It measures 5" tall.
A fabulous 1926 Saks Fifth Avenue store holiday gift catalog featured 24 pages of gift suggestions. Purses, compacts, dresser accessories, jewelry and lingerie evoke "don't you wish" thoughts!
Page 11 of the catalog offered a Lalique clock with your choice of designs at $45, a beautiful Robj powder or candy jar for $12.00 and a bakelite powder wand with a down puff for just $4.95!
"Such gorgeous handbags as these are gifts to captivate the most captious" says the heading of a page of purses!
The petit point purse in the upper left corner on page 7 had sapphires on the 14kt gold frame. The carry chain was also 14kt gold. The purse was for sale at a whopping $495.00!
Seattle's Bon Marche department store produced this holiday brochure that featured 23 pages of perfumes and toiletries from a variety of popular cosmetic companies including Helena Rubinstein, Lucien Lelong, Lentheric, Elmo, Richard Hudnut, Prince Matchabelli, Dorothy Gray, Bourjois and Revlon among others. While the brochure is not dated, it appears to be from the 1940s. This Lelong Taglio perfume bottle was launched in 1945 and offered for sale at $19 and $28. Bon Marche was "where all Seattle shopped!"
Department store holiday advertisements are a fun source of information as a variety of items were promoted as the "perfect gift for the holidays!" This Chicago Mandel Brothers holiday ad from December 3, 1926 included a variety of perfume bottles from $2 to $35, atomizers for $1.95 to $25, jeweled dresser articles for $2.95, gold lacquered perfume trays for $2.75 to $3.45 and interesting looking shell perfume lamps starting at $1.95!
Coquette Cosmetic Stores on Main Avenue in Passaic, New Jersey sold a variety of perfumes, toiletries, compacts and cosmetics. And they would even give you a free perfume with each purchase you made before Christmas, according to their December 19, 1930 advertisement!
A somewhat generic holiday perfume ad from the Hens-Kelly company store appeared in the Buffalo New York Enquirer on December 12, 1906. The prices were enticing and the Santa Claus perfumes sound like a real bargain at 10 cents!
A vintage vanity themed Christmas card shows an angelic looking young girl powdering her nose!
Mabel Lucie Attwell (1879 - 1964) was a British illustrator and comics artist, known for her cute, nostalgic drawings of children. Her drawings were featured on many postcards, advertisements and greeting cards such as this 1930-40s vanity themed Christmas card!
Save the Date!
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Perfume Passage Journal Subscription...

In an effort to share our collection and to create reference material that is both useful for research and beautiful as a coffee table magazine, we have developed the Perfume Passage Journal.

Published three times a year, the magazine includes articles and information about the known history of specific companies and items in our galleries.

We recently launched an annual subscription program, beginning with the Summer 2022 publication on fashion illustrator and artist Rene Gruau. The annual subscription will include three print versions of the magazine. Click here to visit our website and subscribe!

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Our mission is to preserve the history, beauty and artistry of perfume bottles, compacts, ephemera and related vanity items. Through education, outreach, and awareness of the Perfume Passage collection and library, our goal is to inspire art lovers, collectors, archivists and curators to keep this history alive. 
We Hope To See You Soon!

Types of tours include:

  • Private docent-guided tours
  • Group tours
  • Symphony of Scents and Sounds
In accordance with local updated guidelines, Perfume Passage no longer requires proof of vaccination against COVID-19 or masks for museum visitors. However, we strongly encourage all of our guests to wear masks while in the building.