September 29, 2023
A Note From The Founders...
The Art Deco era has always been very special to us for its architectural and design elements. The straight and smooth lines, heavy geometric shapes and sleek forms created the perfect balance in what we feel is the most glamorous time in history.

And of course our collecting interests feature perfumes, compacts and vanity items that reflect the deco style.

In January 2021 our PassageWAY eNews highlighted the Deco gallery at Perfume Passage. We've added to our deco collection and displays and so we thought we'd share the changes and additions in this issue!


Jeffrey and Rusty, Co-founders
The Deco Gallery...
The progression of the construction of the Deco gallery. Bare minimum, half way through the process and final.
Construction began at Perfume Passage following the ground-breaking in March 2017. From the start, the look for the Deco gallery was inspired by the 1925 World's Fair in Paris.

We knew we wanted the design from the Rene Lalique display at the Expo to be highlighted in the room.
In the center of the Fair's perfume pavilion was a circular shaped case that included glass ribbons on top, symbolizing a water fountain.

Lalique's fountain designs at either end of the Deco Gallery are immediately noticeable upon entering the room, and the breathtaking atmosphere of the Gallery transport you back in time to the most glamorous era of the 20th century.

The fountain theme continues throughout the room from the light sconces to the custom stained glass doors of the Gallery. Even the flowing water and ribbons of a water fountain appear as part of the design of the terrazzo floor.
Additional room inspirations were taken from the iron and copper grille called "Oasis" by Edgar Brandt. He designed the ornamental gates at the main entrance of the Paris event. The entry doors to the Deco gallery feature a stain glass design that are reminiscent of Brandt's design at the Expo.
The Influence of Lalique...

Rene Lalique was a master of glass whose innovations in artistic style and technical production greatly influenced the Art Deco movement and forever changed the world of glass making. 

An original display cabinet made by Lalique for the Oviatt building, a clothing store in Los Angeles, is located in the center of the Gallery.

James Zera Oviatt, an American haberdasher, attended the Paris Expo where he commissioned Lalique to fabricate the architectural glass, among other components, for his planned California building. The structure was the first Art Deco styled building in the city. 
Lobby of the Oviatt building
More than 30 tons of glass made for the Oviatt building were shipped through the Panama Canal and installed throughout the 12 story edifice. This is believed to have been the largest undertaking in the world for Rene Lalique.

The Oviatt structure was designed by the Los Angeles firm of Walker and Eisen. Construction began in August 1927 and was completed in May 1928.
A Lalique case from the Oviatt building is located in the center of the Deco Gallery, housing part of the Lalique collection.
Lalique designed and created the molded glass elevator door panels, front and side doors, chandeliers and a large panel clock, among other building components. An original Lalique showcase from the Oviatt building is located in the center of the Deco gallery. A variety of Lalique artifacts are on display that collectively provide an overview of Lalique the artist, and his company.
The 3-1/3" x 2-3/4" Le Parfum Des Anges bell shaped perfume bottle has an angel motif. It has patinated glass with a cross shaped stopper. It was made for the grand opening of the Oviatt building.
In the same angel motif, a Lalique, Cire Perdue vase titled Deux Figures Femmes Ailees is on display, c. 1922.
The 1925 Paris Expo...
L'Exposition Internationale des Arts Décoratifs et industriels Modernes

  • Opening date: April 1925

  • Closing date: October 1925

  • Size of site: 72 acres

  • Official attendance: 15,019,000

  • Exhibitors: Over 15,000 from 20 countries

The Expo, whose complete name was "Exposition Internationale des Arts Décoratifs et Industriels Modernes," (International Exhibition of Modern Decorative and Industrial Arts) plays a major role in our Gallery's rotations of artifacts within different Deco themes. These displays include perfume bottles, compacts, purses and original artwork.
The United States did not participate in the Expo. It was said that Herbert Hoover, the US Secretary of Commerce, declared that there was no modern art in the US. The Commerce Department did appoint a commission to attend the exhibit and they issued a report in 1926. The report stated that the US had misunderstood the purpose of the Exposition, and that some participation should have been arranged to honor the French-American wartime alliance. While the US did not have a pavilion at the Expo, hundreds of American designers, artists, journalists and department store buyers came to Paris to attend the event.
The focal point of the west end of the Gallery are the display cases exhibiting the Czech glass collection.
The east end of the Deco Gallery include display cases exhibiting the DeVilbiss glass collection.
The United States did not participate in the Expo. It was said that Herbert Hoover, the US Secretary of Commerce, declared that there was no modern art in the US. The Commerce Department did appoint a commission to attend the exhibit and they issued a report in 1926. The report stated that the US had misunderstood the purpose of the Exposition, and that some participation should have been arranged to honor the French-American wartime alliance. While the US did not have a pavilion at the Expo, hundreds of American designers, artists, journalists and department store buyers came to Paris to attend the event.

Works of art in their own right, the perfume bottles on display in the Deco gallery demonstrate innovative designs and techniques that grew and evolved to reflect changing tastes, social norms and technical capabilities. These bottles tell a unique story of the early 20th century that continues to resonate with art and design today.

New to the exhibits are groupings of presentations from around the world.
A collection of Bag-Dab are part of the French bottles section of the collection
A favorite grouping in this presentation among the bottles around the world.
Ricordo d' Estate from Gi Vi Emme among the Italian treatures.
Designers and Fragrance...
In the mid 1800s, French fragrances were designed as an accessory for high fashion, to be worn by the upper class, often reserved for special occasions. It wasn't until Gabrielle "Coco" Chanel launched her iconic Chanel No. 5 in 1921 that the first successful collaboration between the fashion and fragrance industries opened the door for many fashion designers
However, Chanel was not the first fashion designer to test the waters with scent, as Paul Poiret, a well-known French costumer, introduced perfumes in the early 1900s. His company, Les Parfums de Rosine, launched over 50 scents between 1911 and 1924. Poiret is the subject of the Perfume Passage's recent Journal magazine and the Vault gallery includes an exhibit of Poiret's perfumes and accessories.
The Deco gallery has several displays showcasing the fashion and fragrance momentum that began with Poiret and continued with Chanel and led to many other designers introducing perfumes. Displays include: Jeanne Lanvin, House of Worth, Jean Patou, Nina Ricci, Salvador Dali, Marcel Rochas, Jean Paul Gaultier, Christian Dior and Lilly Dache.

It appears that the success of these designer scents relied on how well each designer packaged their bottle and if they used their image on the bottle or box, advertisements and of course, the fragrance itself. These perfumes have made it possible for consumers to experience the fragrance of their favorite clothing designer, even if they weren't able to purchase their clothing.

Eventually, many fashion and haute couture designers became perfume aficionados and the fragrance and fashion industries became permanently connected.

Since the grand opening of Perfume Passage in May, 2019, additional exhibits (shown below) showcasing the relationship between fashion designers and their perfumes have been included in the Deco gallery.
Gabrielle "Coco" Chanel (1883-1971) was a French fashion designer, entrepreneur and the namesake of the Chanel fashion and perfume brand. Her feminine floral perfume was first released on May 5, 1921 to a select clientele at her Chanel boutique. Designed and formulated by the Russian-French chemist and perfumer, Ernest Beaux for the House of Chanel, it was an instant success.

When asked about the Chanel No. 5 name, she was known to have said, "I present my dress collections on the fifth of May, the fifth month of the year, and so we will let this sample number five keep the name it has already, it will bring good luck."
Elsa Schiaparelli (1890-1973) was a highly successful fashion designer who was known for her collaboration with manufacturers, designers and artists to develop imaginative and innovative clothing, accessories and perfumes.

After the launch of her first fragrance “S” in 1928, she introduced a collection of three perfumes –Soucis, Salut and Schiap in 1934. The 1930s also included one of her most famous collaborations--Salvador Dali, with whom she created now-legendary fashions including suits, hats, dresses and the iconic Le Roy Soleil perfume bottle.
Paris born Jean Paul Gaultier is a French fashion designer known for his unconventional fashion designs with motifs that include corsets, tin cans and stripes. He founded his fashion label in 1982 and introduced fragrances in 1993 beginning with Classique.

He believed that fragrance "will always be the first thing our skin puts on." When Classique was launched with the curvaceous corseted-shaped bottle, it became an instant success. It embodied the designer’s vision of femininity as both strong and generous.

He was also the creative director for the French luxury fashion house Hermes from 2003 to 2010.
Jeanne Lanvin was born in Paris in 1867 and began work as a milliner's apprentice in her late teens.

A true visionary, Lanvin collaborated with other designers and artists and her fashion house regularly met the needs of an evolving society through her clothing, accessories, decor and perfumes. In addition to being the first fashion designer to launch a children's line in 1908, she opened shops in the 1920s that specialized in home decor, menswear, furs and lingerie. She was also the first to develop a made-to-measure men's collection in 1926.

In 1933, Lanvin launched the first “eau mixte” fragrance called L’eau de Lanvin, that could be characterized as a casual everyday unisex scent. The company continued developing perfumes until her death in 1946 at the age of 79.
Rochas is a fashion, cosmetic and perfume company founded in 1925 by 23 year old French designer Marcel Rochas (1902-1955).

The company launched a trio of fragrances, starting with Avenue Matignon, Air Jeune and Audace in 1934. During WWII the perfumes were taken off the market and following the war, Rochas most famous fragrance, Femme was launched and remains a best seller today. It's a chypre fragrance developed by Edmond Roudnitska and the original bottle resembled a woman's curves.

Following the successful release of Femme in 1943, Rochas launched Chiffon and Poupee (1946), Rose La Mousseline (1947), Eau de Verveine (1948), and the famous Moustache (1949), which led to a complete line of products for men.
Lilly Dache was a French-born American milliner and fashion designer. She began her career in a small bonnet shop, advanced to being a saleswoman at Macy's department store before starting her own hat business around 1937 in New York. Her contributions to millinery were well-known custom-designed fashionable hats for wealthy women, celebrities, socialites and movie stars. Her hats cost about ten times the average cost of a lady's hat. She eventually expanded her fashion line to include dresses, perfume and jewelry.

In 1931, Dache married French-born Jean Despres who was an executive at Coty, Inc. They were married for 53 years. Dache retired in 1968 and at that time sold her last 30 hats to actress Loretta Young. She died in 1989 at the age of 97.
Born in Paris in 1887 into a family of tanners, Jean-Alexandre Patou, renamed Jean Patou, first joined the army before turning his eye to fashion. Patou trained in fur before founding his first fashion house at the age of 23, then created his own brand in Paris in 1914.

He wanted to free women from the restrictive clothing imposed on them at the time. He marketed dresses without corsets, shortened skirts and launched a sports line. He stood out from his competitors, Lanvin and Chanel, his great rival, by being all the more visionary.

The 1929 crisis impacted the house, just as he was opening a store in New York. Patou created "Joy," the most expensive perfume in the world, to relaunch his brand. He died in 1936 at the age of 48 from a stroke. His sister Madeleine Patou and husband Raymond Barbas, took over the reins of the house.
Salvador Dali (1904-1989) was a Spanish surrealist artist known for his technical skill and the often bizarre images in his work. Born in Catalonia, Spain in 1904, he received his formal education in fine arts in Madrid. Throughout his career he was influenced by several different styles of art including: Impressionism, Cubism, Surrealism and Avant-garde.

As a multi-faceted artist, it seemed natural for Dali to be interested in fragrances and bottles as they are considered art and another form of artistic expression. Beginning in 1983 he collaborated with perfumers and released several fragrances in a variety of bottle shapes.
Lucien Lelong
Nina Ricci
Additional Deco Gallery Exhibits...
The goal of the Deco Gallery has been to transport visitors through time as they experience the ambiance and majestic beauty that began at the 1925 Expo. We want our visitors to:

  • Feel inspired and stimulated by the Art Deco style of the room and artifacts.

  • Learn about perfumes, vanity items and their artistic style of the time period.

  • Experience the most glamorous era of the 20th century through perfumes and vanity items.

The majority of the items on display in the Deco Gallery date from the 1920s through the present time. In addition to the fashion designer displays, exhibits include:

  • Robj perfume burners, perfume lamps and porcelain vanity items

  • Perfume and vanity novelties

  • Cowntop perfumes

  • DeVilbiss perfume bottles and vanity sets

  • Art Deco style perfume bottles, compacts and mesh purses

  • Perfume bottles and jewelry designed by Lalique, Tiffany and Baccarat

  • Czech glass perfume bottles

A rare store countertop display bust of Josephine Baker 's "Bakerfix" is on display in the Deco gallery. This 12" x 11" bust dates from the 1920s.

Josephine Baker (1906-1975) was an American-born French entertainer and civil rights activist. Baker was a renowned dancer, and was a celebrated performer at the Folies Bergère in Paris.

In the 1920s, when the flapper woman emerged with her short skirt, short hair, liberal makeup and fun-loving attitude, Baker led the way with a hairstyle called the "Eton crop." It was a short shiny sleek hairstyle with curls pasted to the cheek and forehead. The style was so sleek that hair looked like it was painted on. It was new, dramatic and shocking!

Baker developed a hair product to help others emulate her look. It was a brilliantine called "Bakerfix" and is shown with the countertop display.
IPBA Collection at Perfume Passage...

The Perfume Passage Library includes shelves and shelves of books in categories including Perfume Bottles, Perfume Houses, Lalique, Tiffany, Art Glass, Art Nouveau, Art Deco, Fine Art, Jewelry and Vanity Items, among others.

The Library also includes:

  • Perfume related magazines
  • Perfume exhibition and auction catalogs
  • early 1900s department store, wholesale and cosmetic company catalogs
Perfume Passage is pleased to house the International Perfume Bottle Association museum collection that's on display in the Perfume Passage Library.

Visit the IPBA website at to learn more about this international collector's association.
Deco items are part of the IPBA Collection, including this three piece 1930s Czechoslovakian Ingrid malachite dresser set with labels. An Ingrid handmirror complements this display. Items were donated by Verna Kocken.
Perfume Passage Is On Social Media...
Perfume Passage has recently increased our presence on several social media platforms.

IPBA member and recent convention keynote speaker Erin Parsons visited Perfume Passage with her film crew. They spent a fun few days with Jeffrey and Rusty filming the galleries and sharing perfume stories.

Several of her Perfume Passage videos have already been posted on her social media platforms. Her YouTube video, "You've Never Seen Fragrance Like This" about Perfume Passage had garnered over 335,000 views in just weeks! Can we say we went viral?!

Click on the following links to access Perfume Passage on each platform.
New Perfume Passage Book...
The Galleries at Perfume Passage
Perfume Passage Foundation has published a souvenir book about the collections within the galleries!

It started with a vision to capture the history and beauty of perfume. It soon became a labor of love to create the ideal environment to inspire others about the world of perfume, ephemera and vanity items through the ages.

The souvenir book, The Galleries at Perfume Passage Foundation, includes the journey of Perfume Passage Foundation from its inception to the grand opening in May 2019.
Photos and descriptions of the galleries and items in the collection are featured throughout the pages. In addition, some never before seen photos of the galleries as they were under construction are shown in the book!!

Please visit the Perfume Passage website at to purchase the souvenir book. In addition, information on our Journal magazines and tour schedules are available on the website.

The Journals -- Rudy Profumi, Robj, American Beauty, Made in Chicago, Rene Gruau and the latest on Ephemra, can be purchased on our website or while visiting Perfume Passage!

Perfume Passage is open for tours! Please visit our website at to view the tour schedules. If you have a group or your club/association would like to plan a visit, please contact us at

Types of tours include:

  • Private docent-guided tours
  • Group tours
  • Symphony of Scents and Sounds
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.