Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Raquel Meller by D. Roditi and Sons c1926

The beautiful diva Raquel Meller,  born Francisca Marqués López (1888-1962) was a Spanish actress and singer, most famous for singing about and embracing the Tango dance craze. In the 1920s, she was the toast of the London Hippodrome and the Paris Olympia, was already a highly popular singer before debuting as a film actress in 1919.

In 1926 she had just arrived in the States for an extended vaudeville tour. She popularized songs such as "La Violetera", "El Relicario", "Nena", "Flor de Te", "Mimosa", "Flor del Mal", etc. Sarah Bernhardt described Raquel’s as “a genius“.

 In 1926, D. Roditi et Fils, established by Charles Roditi at 1 rue Ambrose Thomas, Paris; exporter of fancy goods in the early 1900’s, created a signature perfume for the star titled simply Raquel Meller. The violet infused fragrance no doubt was an homage to her song La Violetera. Raquel Meller Perfume was sold first at Coulter's for $33.00 each.

Cleveland Orchestra Program, 1927:
 "Among the newer scents is Raquel Meller's perfume, created by that famous artiste. And how appropriate for its intriguing container to suggest the design and coloring of a Spanish shawl!"


The exquisite perfume was presented in a gorgeous crystal flacon manufactured by Lalique (the bottle shape known as Carre Fleurs). The 7.5cm, high, rectangular bottle molded with flowers above a band of lattice-work, decorated with thick enameling with a Spanish fringed shawl motif in black and red, the rectangular stopper intaglio molded Raquel Meller and heightened with black enamel. The bottle will be molded with R. Lalique on base.

Violets seemed to be her theme as she was featured in the silent film "Violette Imperiale, based on her La Violetera, which was shown in New York in June, 1928.

TIME magazine Feb 22,1932 Article  “Stink into Scent":
“The man on the operating table feels his stomach turn over as a nurse walks toward him with the dreaded cone in her hand. "Ugh!"' says he (gulp). "Ether!'' "Oh, dear, no," chirps the cherub. "Violets." There was a girl he used to send violets to. (Sniff! Sniff!) What was her name? "Roses are red, violets blue." (Sniiiiiff!) Not blue—purple—but very pleasant and sleep-provoking. Raquel Meller is standing on his nose singing to him, throwing violets all over his face. ... As the surgeon begins slicing him open he lies buried under a pile of sweet-scented violets. . . . Members of the New York Electrical Society could see such a picture of the operating room of the not-too-distant future while Columbia University's Professor Marston Taylor Bogert was explaining to them last week why synthetically perfumed anesthetics should be developed soon. Synthetic perfumes, said Professor Bogert, are steadily replacing natural scents. If vanilla perfume can be made from foul-smelling asafetida, why not a pleasant anesthetic? No ineffectual esthete, he has helped to gather many a scientific blossom: > Study of synthetic violet perfumes led by devious study to knowledge of the constitution of Vitamin A, whose molecule constitutes one-half the molecule of carotene, the substance that colors carrots, egg yolks. Synthetic violet differs from 'carotene only in the shape of its molecule. > Parasites have sharp noses, so scientists studied their scent-life, developed synthetic odors to lure them to destruction instead of to meals of human flesh. Incidentally, if an ant met another ant in a pitch-black tunnel its nose would immediately register the other's age, weight, color and sex, and it could act accordingly. > Since it requires more than two tons of roses to make one pound of attar of rose, synthetic perfumes are usually much cheaper than natural ones. This fact has led perfume-seekers into strange, malodorous places. Said Professor Bogert: "Castor oil is the raw material for certain scents. One of the components of jasmine flower odor, when concentrated, is as fetid and repulsive as the odor of a civet cat."

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