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Vintage Perfumes For Sale

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Les Parfumeries de Gabilla

Established in 1910 by Henriette Gabilla, a Syrian perfumer and cosmetician. Gabilla was a major exporter of luxury to lower priced presentations worldwide.

Henriette moved to 6 rue Edouard VII in Paris and purchased a perfume factory in 1910 located 203 rue de Paris, Ivry-Sur-Seine. I have also read that Madame Gabilla, was at one time, perfumer to the Court of Russia.

"Elegance in the Continental Fashion American women of elegance appreciate the fine distinction between perfumes made in Paris and others — this difference is characteristic of Gabilla perfumes. They express Paris, they are Paris with all the chic and subtlety of the French capitol. Each lovely Lalique or Baccarat flacon contains Gabilla's incomparable fragrances, straight from the master artist in France. Gabilla perfumes may be procured from department stores and specialty shops of high standing. GABILLA, Paris, MUSARDISES The Sports Perfume, MON CHERI, MODA." 

It is reported by Nigel Groom that Gabilla started creating fragrances as early as the 1890s and her first perfume under her own name was Mon Cherie. This heavy floral perfume was once reportedly to be a favorite in the court of old Imperial Russia.

  • Top notes: citrus, lemon, bergamot, and neroli
  • Middle notes: jasmine, tonka bean, vanilla, and orris
  • Base notes: opopanax, Peru balsam, amber, and musk

Mon Cheri was complete in the entire line, including talc, compacts and even soap, and the soap package is very unusual.

In addition to perfumes and toilet waters, Gabilla also produced cosmetics and toiletries such as soap, talcum powder, brilliantines, sachet powders, powder compacts and other items that could come scented with various perfumes: Moda, Sais Tu, Musardises, Chypre, Mon Cheri, Lilas, Jasmin, Fleur du Jour, Chin-Li and Violette. 

Of her cosmetics, La Creme de Gabilla, a vanishing cream, was touted to be chemical free and a wonderful adherent base for her line of face powder La Poudre de Riz. Other cosmetics were lipstick, rouge, mascara and eye shadow, some of these may have been scented as well. These products are pretty rare to find today.

Gabilla also created perfumes and presentations for other companies such as Ciro. Gabilla created the first perfume presentations for Ciro and in 1923, Gabilla trademarked the names Bouquet Antique, Le Chevalier de la Nuit, Ptah and Les Parfums de Ciro. Bouquet Antique, Ptah and Le Chevalier de la Nuit were names of  Ciro's perfumes.

La Grande Maison de Blanc introduced their own perfumes using Gabilla creations in 1926. The perfumes La Vierge Folie and Folle Passion. La Grand Maison le Blanc bought Gabilla’s Moda fragrance and renamed it La Grand Maison le Blanc.

The perfume Mae West was created for the voluptuous film star in 1933 and launched under her own label Wesmay. The perfume‘s slogan was “loaded with allure“.

Drug and Cosmetic Industry - Volume 33, 1933:
"Mae West perfume by Gabilla is one of the outstanding novelty perfumes of a decade. The box is ivory with Mae West wise-cracks in blue. Interior of the box is gold with a cerise silk base."

Gabilla created a perfume in 1920 named Tous Les Bouquets, and in 1923, sold it to Woolworth’s Department stores. In 1926, the perfume of Tout le Printemps was created, and later sold to Bourjois in 1932, who may have renamed it Springtime in Paris.

Gabilla created a perfume simply named 801 for Max Littwitz, Inc, a famous antique lace and linen importer from 801 Madison Avenue, NYC, probably around the late 1920s-early 1930s.

Gabilla also purchased perfumes from other companies, such is the case with Lubin’s perfume for Gaby, which Gabilla launched in 1920.

The printing company of Marboef et Cie supplied Gabilla’s labels, papers and presentation boxes, most notably for the perfume Hossegor.

Gabilla's perfumes were distributed in the USA by Janet Rose as well as Everett-Gould, Inc..

Fashion designers of the early 1900s required the assistance of experienced perfume companies to blend their perfumes and to create and produce their presentations. Gabilla was one of the companies who specialized in assisting fashion designers, most notably Jeanne Lanvin. Gabilla had worked under condition of anonymity. The direct involvement of these two companies was evidenced in their choice of perfume names and bottle shapes.

The best example of Gabilla’s influence over other designers would be for the perfume, My Sin. My Sin, first introduced by Gabilla in 1920. The round flacon, of black crystal and molded with stylized floral accented with gold enamel, was designed by Julien Viard and produced by Depinoix, was first used for the Gabilla scent Amour Americain in 1920. Interestingly, the Gabilla flacon was also produced in clear crystal, again accented in gilding and used for other scents such as Minnie in 1920.

This beautiful perfume flacon and name had inspired Jeanne Lanvin to create her own version of My Sin, complete with a similar looking bottle by Armand Rateau in 1927. In 1926, Jeanne Lanvin recalled that My Sin was created by a collaboration between Firmenich and Madame Maria Zede , a "nose", an employee of Gabilla Perfumerie.

According to the book Extraordinary Origins of Everyday Things, author Charles Panati states that "capitalizing on the American desire for French perfumes, Jeanne Lanvin took her creation Mon Péché, which had failed in Paris, and in 1925 turned it into an immediate and resounding success in America under the name My Sin."

The whimsical and simplified floral motifs drawn by Georges Lepape and Charles Martin and Georges Barbier, were soon a favorite style of Henriette Gabilla’s and informal versions of these designs were found on her early labels and bottles. Perfumes such as Violette and Pour Changer were contained in simple, but graceful bottles.

Henriette Gabilla had made friends with notable French writers and poets, such as Colette and Edmond Rostand. One of Gabilla’s first perfumes, Musardises was named after Rostand’s first book of poetry. The 1912 flacon for Musardises was elegantly enameled and may have been created by Georges Lepape.

Another perfume was introduced in 1912, Minnie, named for one of Colette’s plays co-written with her husband from 1905. In 1918, Minnie was reintroduced in a flacon created by Baccarat chief designer Georges Chevalier, and produced by their glass works in a rare, silvered opalescent crystal. It has been said that Colette’s favorite perfume was Jasmin by Gabilla.

In 1922, the unusually named perfume "Pa-ri-ki-ri" which is a phonetic interpretation of the French phrase "Paris qui rit", which means "Laughing Paris", a title of an exotic revue shown at the Casino de Paris, starring Maurice Chevalier and Mistinguett.

The 1918 perfume Moda, a medium weight floral bouquetwas named after the fashionable European quarter of Constantinople. Another Baccarat flacon was created for Moda, which resembled the outline of a fashion sketch with a hat like stopper, decorated with an oversized gilded silk tassel and childlike enameled floral designs.

The clear crystal flacon for Mimosa, from 1921, employed a large domed green enameled crystal stopper as the focal point for a rather bland Baccarat flacon.
Gabilla's exhibit at the 1925 Paris Art Deco exhibition. Gabilla won the Prix d’Honneur at the Art Deco exhibition in Paris in 1925.

Gabilla’s perfume, La Vierge Folle (The Mad Virgin) was directly inspired by the title name of a play by Henri Bataille about a young girl who fell in love with an older man. The perfume was first created by Henriette Gabilla in 1910 and the flacon was later produced by Baccarat in 1910.

La Vierge Folle is classified as a spicy floral oriental fragrance for women.

  • Top notes: bergamot, mandarin, lavender, and orchid
  • Middle notes: jasmine, spices, cinnamon, clove, and oak moss
  • Base notes: cedar, sandalwood, vetiver, patchouli, and civet

An early Gabilla flacon was made for the perfume La Reve de Gabilla, the Dream of Gabilla. This gorgeous satin finished bottle was accented with sepia patina in the recesses. The exquisite presentation case was covered with red velvet and jeweled and gilded silk threads reproducing a fabulous Renaissance era tapestry found in the Cluny Museum in Paris.

Starting in 1919, a series of commemorative perfumes were created for the first World War, this included: Fausse Alertes, Fleurs de Victoire, Heures Breves, Minuites Breves, Minuites Cheres, Minuites Revées, Nuits d'Alertes, La Fruité des Heures, Oublions L'Heure and Tic Tac.

Julien Viard lent his imagination to an existing Baccarat flacon used for other Gabilla scents, this time, in 1924, he softened the angular lines and added delicately stenciled perfume names onto the front of the bottles. Each perfume had a brass cap that was enameled on the top. These enameled tops matched the particular colors of the presentations boxes for certain perfumes. These color coded perfumes were red for Fleur du Jour, green for Musardises and cream for Moda.

Although Gabilla is most noted for their sumptuous flacons, it is possible to find some Gabilla scents contained within Baccarat’s early apothecary styled flacons, this practice by Gabilla started in 1923 as a type of “reverse snobbery” and a return to more simplistic presentations.

The whimsical and simplified floral motifs drawn by Georges Lepape and Charles Martin and Georges Barbier, were soon a favorite style of Henriette Gabilla’s and informal versions of these designs were found on her early labels and bottles. Perfumes such as Violette and Pour Changer were contained in simple, but graceful bottles.

The flacon for Chin-Li was completely different, a modern type of presentation by Depinoix for Gabilla, combined vivid colors of green, blue, red, orange and yellow in its presentation.

A very unusual presentation created for Gabilla was for the perfume for Mon Talisman. Consisting of an opaque white crystal flacon enhanced with gilding, this Baccarat produced bottle came in two sizes, from a very large 10 5/6” to a diminutive 3 1/2” tall example.

Other Baccarat flacons were produced for the following perfumes: Réveillon (Revillon), Folies de Femme, Tango, Tout le Printemps, Xantho, Mon Cheri, Gardenia and Mimosa.

I have seen a 1926 advertisement for the Xantho perfume, it made clear that the Baccarat perfume bottle could be purchased with different colored crystal stoppers, in sapphire, emerald, black onyx, ruby and amethyst.

Rene Lalique supplied beautiful crystal flacons for Gabilla’s Jasmin, Tout le Fleurs, Glycine and Lilas. The box for Jasmin also a luxury object, echoed the bottle’s floral pattern, complete with a hanging floral paper medallion attached by a silken tassel.

The designer Daillet lent his imagination for the creation of the flacon for Violette in 1912, in both green and clear crystal, each bottle was accented with enameling and is very Art Nouveau in character.

By the early 1930s, the expensive bottles were being phased out of production in favor of simple, lesser quality bottles made by lower end glass houses so that the perfumes could be made affordable for those struggling through the Depression years.

In the 1932 newspaper ad, you can see two examples of the Gabilla bottles which were no longer being produced.

The newer bottles may only be molded with the Gabilla name on the base and may not have any other identifying marks regarding the glass manufacturer.

It was an end of an era. Gone were the attractive frosted glass stoppers, finely molded details, extra fancy paper labels and delicate enameled effects that were seen on the earlier bottles.

Drug & Cosmetic Industry, 1934:
"GABILLA in its "Eau de Cologne" is introducing one of its widely distributed French products to the American public. The "Eau de Cologne" also comes in the odors, Amber and Fougere, and may be had in either of four size bottles."

The bottle used for the Compose de Parfum line stands 6" tall and made of heavy, molded glass to look like a liquor decanter. It has a chunky, ground glass stopper. It has a blue and white paper label across the front that revealed the name of the perfume as well a gold metallic paper label across the shoulder that read "Compose de Parfum". The final label is on the base and is a tiny guarantee stamp reading "Gabilla Paris France." The usage of the single ink colored paper labels helped to cut down costs for the perfume company.  The presentation box is heavy cardstock covered in a sage green flocked paper and trimmed with gold paper. There is a small label with the perfume's name on the front. The Compose de Parfum was was used in the 1930s as I found a 1936 newspaper ad for it.

The perfumes of  Gabilla :

  • 1902 La Vierge Folle/Foolish Virgin (trademarked in 1910, reissued in 1931)  (a spicy floral bouquet oriental perfume)
  • 1910 Mon Cherie (trademarked in 1910)
  • 1910 Fleur du Jour/Fleur de Jour (a light floral bouquet perfume)
  • 1910 Folle Passion, reissued in 1956 (trademarked in 1910)
  • 1910 Mon Cheri, reissued in 1931 (heavy floral perfume)
  • 1911 Xantho (an oriental perfume)
  • 1912 Minne, reissued in 1931
  • 1912 La Violette
  • 1912 Les Jeux et Les Ris (trademarked in 1910)
  • 1912 Tout Le Printemps
  • 1912 La Rose de Gabilla
  • 1912 Le Bouquet de Gabilla
  • 1912 Le Rêve de Gabilla
  • 1912 Musardises, reissued in 1927 (a spicy perfume)
  • 1912 Poudre (Face Powders)
  • 1913 L’Ambre de Gabilla
  • 1913 Tango
  • 1914 Le Secret de Marguerite
  • 1917 Pour Changer
  • 1918 Moda, reissued in 1931 (medium weight spicy floral bouquet)
  • 1918 Réveillon/Révillon
  • 1919 Fausse Alertes
  • 1919 Folie de Femme
  • 1919 Heures Breves
  • 1919 La Fuité des Heures
  • 1919 Minuites Breves
  • 1919 Minuites Cheres
  • 1919 Minuites Revées
  • 1919 Nuits d'Alertes
  • 1919 Oublions L'Heure
  • 1919 Tic Tac
  • 1919 Jasmin
  • 1919 Vincha
  • 1920 Gaby
  • 1920 Amour Americain
  • 1920 Tous Les Bouquets
  • 1920 Chypre
  • 1920 Petite Jolie/Petite Folie
  • 1920 Musc du Tonkin
  • 1920 Santal des Indes
  • 1920 Gabilla of France Parfum
  • 1920 Tout le France  (a spicy perfume)
  • 1921 Longchamp (refreshing violet perfume)
  • 1921 Marguerites
  • 1922 Le Succes
  • 1922 Eau de Verveine
  • 1922 Chrysantheme
  • 1922 Fleuri
  • 1922 Œillet
  • 1922 Lavender
  • 1922 Columbine
  • 1922 Fougere
  • 1922 Lilas
  • 1922 La Bouquet
  • 1922 Foin Coupe
  • 1922 Ambre Merveilleux
  • 1922 Cordiality
  • 1922 Opoponax
  • 1922 Mimosa
  • 1922 Pa-Ri-Ki-Ri
  • 1922 Peau d'Espagne
  • 1923 Bouquet Antique
  • 1923 Ptah
  • 1923 L’Intrigant
  • 1924 Gaby Deslys
  • 1924 Hauthro
  • 1924 Chin-Li
  • 1924 Fleur de Jour
  • 1925 De Tout Un Peu
  • 1925 Folies de Femme
  • 1926 Bruyere
  • 1926 Toutes Les Fleurs
  • 1925 Millefleur
  • 1925 Narcisse
  • 1925 Sais-Tu?
  • 1926 Bruyere
  • 1926 Pois de Senteur
  • 1926 Mon Talisman
  • 1926 Glycine
  • 1926 Jasmin
  • 1926 Gardenia
  • 1926 Muguet
  • 1926 Heliotrope
  • 1927 My Sin
  • 1928 Bijou D'Amour
  • 1929 Hossegor (a spicy perfume)
  • 1929 Seneca
  • 1930 La Glycine
  • 1930 Luce et Colas
  • 1932 XYZ
  • 1933 Oui ou Non?
  • 1933 Sinful Soul
  • 1933 Vineuil
  • 1933 Mae West
  • 1934 Eau de Cologne Ambre
  • 1934 Eau de Cologne Fougere
  • 1934 Eau de Cologne 
  • 1934 Eau de Toilette Gardenia
  • 1934 Eau de Toilette Violette
  • 1934 Eau de Toilette Sweet Pea
  • 1934 Eau de Toilette Jasmin
  • 1936 Reve A Deux
  • 1937 Odalisque
  • 1938 Quadrille
  • 1938 Intrigue
  • 1940 Reve a Deux/Dream For Two
  • 1940 Foolish Virgin
  • 1940s Préméditation
  • 1953 Fredaines

These other perfume names are recorded for Gabilla, but I am unsure of their launch dates: Chauve-Souris Paquette, Reve a Deux.

The House of Gabilla was resurrected in 2007 but I have not heard any news regarding the launch of any perfumes or products since.


  1. Who made the bottle for the 1933 Sinful Soul?

  2. Can you tell me who made the bottle for the 1933 Sinful Soul cologne 6oz.
    Thank you


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