Sunday, July 20, 2014

Japonsime Influence in Perfumery & Mentone Perfumes

While doing the research, I was pleasantly surprised to find that Mentone (French name Menton) was a major perfume center like Grasse. Menton is famous for its citrus fruits, flowers, olive oil and essential oil manufacturing. They even have a special Citrus festival each year and their Menton Lemon is ranked as one of the finest by chef's around the world.

From a 1919 book “Mentone France, A seaport town and health resort on the Mediterranean. There is considerable trade in fruit and in flowers and leaves used in the manufacture of perfumes and in olive oil. “

Mentone (Menton), like Grasse, was filled with perfume distilleries, if you visited one, you received a souvenir perfume. Menton, was described as a city of gardens.Menton, 8km (5 miles) east of Monaco, is more Italianate than French as it stands right at the border with Italy at the far eastern extremity of the Côte d'Azur. In 1889, it was stated that the French Riviera contained 70 perfume distilleries.

Perfumes are still alive and well in Menton, you can purchase perfumes directly from a website

The perfume bottle I date to around 1885-1890. The style of the label is very simple and would be considered Japonisme. The Japonisme style started in France around 1880, after some French naval flees visited Japan and brought back many Japanese treasures back home with them. Archaeologists and museums studied the artifacts and a lot of contemporary artwork was influenced by Japan.

Utilizing Japonsime was highly lucrative and Japanese motifs helped to sell a range of items from the luxurious to the mundane. The Japanese influence on perfumery is evident, with many perfume names and perfume labels being based on Japanese -sounding or looking characters and words or decoration.

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