Friday, January 17, 2014

Mary Quant Perfumes

In 1967, clothing designer Mary Quant presented her line of perfumes for women.


Mary Quant enlisted the help of IFF (International Flavors & Fragrances) to help her create a psychedelic scent that would accompany a new line of clothes. Lewis G. Augustine, the Administrator of IFF in the 1960s mentioned that Mary "ended up choosing a very crude scent, by the way. By our standards it was raw and unfinished but that sort of fragrance seems to appeal to the younger set."

Before she approved the two scents, she traveled back and forth between Grasse, France, and London for a couple of years. "I wanted a truly modern scent. Most of the perfumes are so old fashioned, I wanted something frankly sexy " she said. And she finally found it for evening. The daytime perfume is fresh, completely anti-sex. She explains that  "to wear a sexy perfume in the daytime is like getting up in the morning and putting on a chiffon dress."

She started working on a men's fragrance since they were put on the back burner by the barrage of after shave lotions. Mary stated that she was "out to give the real male smell back to men."

In 1972, she launched her Special Recipe line of perfumes and cosmetics as she thought women were  tired of the sophisticated, exaggerated look in makeup and wanted a natural look. Mary was trying to capture the dewy aura of fresh air, a healthy glow and the uncomplicated life of the country all for her city dweller customers,  who wanted the "milkmaid look". Though, she stated that the range was conceived not for health objectives, but rather for an old fashioned look to complement the clothing she was designing at the time. "I wanted to create a romantic feeling, and not a fad for health cranks," she said. She added that "I have always wanted to live permanently in the country, and I think Special Recipe cosmetics will give every girl the chance of looking like she just spent a week in the country."

Quant used many natural ingredients in the products such as wheat germ oil, honey, beeswax and oil of almonds. To color the cosmetics she used herbal extracts from plants such as beetroot, elderberry, and carrots.

The super creamy foundation offered in the line was in shades of pale putty, natural ochre, Middle-earth and nut brown. Eye shadows included colors such as hazelnut, sweet pea, sage, mulberry, and corn. The lipsticks were poppy, damson, pansy and rose. There were also hot sand and cool clover rouge for cheeks and natural toned mascaras which reverted to the block form with an almost toothbrush sized brush.

All of the Special Recipe cosmetics were scented with honeysuckle. For the packaging, she used distinct black and white boxes with Victorian images that looked like they came directly from 19th-century seed catalogs. The line was followed with a natural skincare range that included a night cream with natural goodies, a toning lotion made with witch hazel and herbs, a morning moisture lotion made from wheat germ oil, honey and herbs, and a cold cream made from real beeswax. The Special Recipe line was sold until 1974-1975.

The perfumes of Mary Quant:
  • 1964 Spring Blossom
  • 1967 AM perfume
  • 1967 PM perfume
  • 1972 Special Recipe Honeysuckle
  • 1972 Special Recipe Country Garden
  • 1972 Special Recipe Spring Blossom
  • 1974 Havoc
  • 1980 Quant by Quant
  • 1981 Mary Quant

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