Sunday, September 10, 2006

Perfume in Ciao! Manhattan?

There's a series of shots in the film where vintage toiletries are shown on a dresser in Edie Sedgwick's room, and of course I had to see if I could place that perfume! I could only see glimpses of what appeared to be perfume: the slender gold cylindrical cap, the tapered pear-shaped outline of the bottle (I could only make out the top half) and the yellowish juice in it, but I had to see if any perfume in the world might fit that image. As I was researching popular perfumes of the '60s and early '70s, I came across some vintage perfume ads ("What makes a shy girl intimate?") and voila--I think it has got to be Intimate, an American-born Floral/Chypre perfume launched by Revlon, New York in 1955. Apparently, Intimate ads were still running during that time.

Intimate came in different packagings (from gaudy to streamlined) since its launch. The bottle which I believe is in those shots looks quite different from the bottles I've found being sold online, so I'm assuming it's a long-discontinued bottle.

Now, of course I don't claim to know what was on the actual set of Ciao! Manhattan (so don't quote me!) but I'm entertaining myself with my small bottle of vintage Intimate cologne which I picked up off of eBay. The scent itself is rather good: more flowery floral than I'd expected, with an underlying succulent sweetness (there's a fruit note in it but it doesn't smell fruity at all in the mix) and even though it's often referred to as a Floral, some sources say it's a Chypre and I think it smells like a Chypre; in fact, sometimes it reminds me of Mitsouko only more wearable without the overwhelming mustiness and heaviness. There is still some musty, green, thick smell to Intimate which turns me off if I smell it for too long, maybe a little like Norell or Charlie--I'd say the effect is slightly unsweet, dark and woodsy-powdery, like a cheap drugstore aftershave, but in contrast to the heady, jubilant florals, I don't mind it too much because it adds dimension.

However, this is not a perfume I'd want to wear regularly because it's very old-fashioned (not that I don't ever wear old-fashioned scents but this really dried down musty on my hand. It's also a vintage juice, not fresh). It vaguely reminds me of L'Air du Temps and Je Reviens with that subtle cinnamon & clove powdery softness (can't wear these, either). It's perfect for a Sunday sampling session, to appreciate something of the past once in awhile. It's also good to know we've come a long way...The 1979 Revlon Intimate ad campaign went like this: "What makes a shy girl intimate? Intimate is for any girl who recognizes the beauty of being shy. And there's a bit of that shy girl in every woman"--not exactly empowering. I wasn't sure what type of scent to expect but I'm glad it didn't turn out to be some boring, prissy scent I couldn't imagine Edie wearing.

The notes on
Intimate...contains notes of dewberry, mandarin blossom, water lilly, cinnamon bark, linden flower, tuberose, blue rose, Amber, musk and incense. says:
Intimate(Revlon) (Women) : 1955 Revlon USA
Olfactive family:Chypre
Olfactive description:Chypre Floral Mossy Animalic