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One of the goals of this website is to show the present owners of the various perfumes and cologne brands that are featured here how much we miss the discontinued classics and hopefully, if they see that there is enough interest and demand, they will bring back these fragrances!

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Vintage Perfumes For Sale

Friday, May 17, 2013

Mary McFadden by Mary McFadden c1979

Mary McFadden was launched by designer Mary McFadden in 1979.

Just as she started working on the fragrance, she went into a Burmese temple where the scent was so delicious that she made up her mind to try duplicating it. “Its as close as you can come to an aphrodisiac”, claimed Mary. With help from one of the two major fragrance manufacturers in the USA, both from NJ. The chypre fragrance was filled and packaged in the USA but its ingredients came from all over the world.

The ingredients include five different roses: from Morocco, Egypt and Bulgaria; at least four different jasmines, hyacinth, ylang ylang, a tropical plant that only blooms at night, coriander, patchouli, Indian davanna, labdanum, myrrh, sandalwood, musk and other mysterious essences which are kept a secret.

Fragrance Composition:

So what does it smell like? It is classified as a  sharp and spicy floral chypre fragrance for women.

  • Top notes: bergamot, hyacinth,  Indian davana, coriander
  • Middle notes: jasmine,carnation, ylang ylang, Moroccan rose, Egyptian rose, Bulgarian rose
  • Base notes: patchouli,, labdanum, myrrh, sandalwood, musk, amber

She had planned a $3 million advertising campaign, in which she told her friends at the launching that it was a benefit for Sloan Kettering. “Three years from now, I hope you’ll be coming back for the launching of the most beautiful, erotic line of cosmetics you've ever seen.” Mary said.

She wasn't sure what the name was going to be, but she had considered four: Aemelia, Cymbeline, Cleon and Nefertari.” She finally settled on simply naming the perfume after herself, Mary McFadden.

The ad copy for the fragrance reads:

"Mary McFadden has designed a fragrance to complete the aura, to capture the essence of the knowing women. Her totally unique perfume surrounds the wearer in an aura of quality, excellence and style. The fragrance is a careful balancing of rich florals with a romantic appeal to the senses. “

Where to apply the perfume? “Just put a drop or two on your ear lobe before you go to sleep and you will have wonderful, erotic dreams” said Mary Mc Fadden as she launched her new perfume.” If you put it on at night, when you wake up in the morning, it’s still there”, she guaranteed.

The perfume was only available at 200 doors, each place that actually sold it, including department stores and smaller shops.

The Mary McFadden Perfume Collection was available in the following:
  • ¼ oz Perfume $35
  • ½ oz Perfume $60
  • 1 oz Perfume $110
  • 1.5 oz Eau de Toilette $16
  • 3 oz Eau de Toilette $26
  • 1/5 oz Purse Flacon $45 with its own brass funnel for refilling.


She also designed the crystal perfume bottle, she simply twisted a swatch of her trademark pleated "marii" silk fabric, tied a cord around it and handed it to the glass sculptor who was assigned the job.

Her trademark pleating was inspired by her observing of draping dating back to antiquity, “The most beautiful, romantic women in every period, like the statues in the Parthenon, had pleating on them.” The perfume flacon housed inside a box in classic McFadden mauve with glossy Coromandel red accents. She also introduced a Purse Flacon, smooth, ivory enamel colored and wrapped in golden braided cords.

Fate of the Fragrance:

In 1981, Mary said that she was keenly disappointed in the way Lightbourne, the Bill Paley owned firm, was handling her perfume. Though she had no intention on suing the company whose job was to promote and merchandise her fragrance, She said she was locked into a contract.

In 1979 she filed for a trademark for the name Mary McFadden to be used for her perfume and eau de toilette. The trademark was registered in 1982 and was dead by 1996

Her perfume seems to have been discontinued around 1982 and is very rare to find today as it was only available in the United States. It was never released in Europe. Occasionally you can find this perfume on eBay but it usually has a high price tag attached. If you are looking for a similar perfume, try Kyoto by Comme des Garcons, Incense Series or Andy Tauer’s Maroc Pour Elle.

In 1996, she introduced two new perfumes “Gold” and “Alabaster” through the Americabn company Fashion Fragrances and Cosmetics. These were available in the UK only in selective outlets.

Alabaster, was described by Luca Turin as “A very modern, rather mannered perfume with interesting creamy-green head notes reminiscent of marron glace. A solid, well-constructed heart follows, in the eighties tradition of Ivoire and Madame Carven. The early dry down has a very melodious feel, at once nutty and soapy, but later becomes slightly tiresome and chemical as the quality runs out."

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