The best known Black Memorabilia perfume bottle is the adorable Le Golliwogg by Vigny Perfumeries of Paris, France in the 1920’s. The bottle design and name Golliwogg are directly inspired by a character created by Florence K. Upton around the turn of the century. The English writer based her books on a popular American rag doll. Vigny took the idea and applied it to their perfume line and advertised Le Golliwogg as "the lucky lil feller” and the fragrance as “the perfume of romance.” Michel de Brunhoff was the creative genius who designed all of the Art Deco figural bottles and labels.
The Miami News - Aug 22, 1926:
"The Golliwogg Family Brings Fragrance To Miami. Favorite members of the Golliwog de Vigny family have descended upon Miami in the form of fragrant tale, perfumes and face powders— -with all the allure of the family history itself...if you remember that Golliwogg, fierce looking owner of the totem head on these products, was a Moorish chief of great fame! Talc..$1.00, Face Powder...$1.25, Toilet Water (with fur head)...$9.25, Toilet Water (in plain bottle)...$8.50, Perfume (purse size)...$2.25, Perfume (with fur head)...$4.50 also $7.50 and $30.00."
The Brooklyn Daily Eagle, 1934:
"From Vigny, that house which has created such a triumph as the lovely and exclusive "Golliwog" parfum, come these face, dusting and talcum powders with a strange, mysterious name, "Heure Intime." I like the newer aroma better, but perhaps you must decide after you've tried 'em yourself . . . you'll be better able to judge which is the subtler fragrance for you .... and may we both be right! Ask for Vigny 's new powders and perfumes at Fredrick Loeser's or other department stores . . . the fragrance lingers like the memory of a melody long after it has gone."
Drug and Cosmetic Industry, Volume 34, 1934:
"AL Rosenfeld Inc. has presented face powders in the Golliwogg and the Vigny "Heure Intime" lines. The latter line also has a new dusting and talcum. These are packaged in cartons typical of the Golliwogg perfume, in red and black container; and the "Heure Intime" in the blue with silver decorations. The shades are natural and Rachel No.1 and No. 2"
Drug and Cosmetic Industry - Volume 41, 1938:
"The Heure Intime is a replica of the larger size bottles and the Golliwogg comes in the same type bottle with the Golliwogg fur head carried out on the box."
Perfumery and Essential Oil Record, Volume 29, 1938:
"As far as one can judge by reports, perfumes have sold better than last year; coffret sales not so good. ... Novel packaging is to be expected from Vigny ; everybody knows " Golliwogg," in its neat globular flask with a Darkie's curly head as a stopper, and " Chick Chick " is similar, but has a golden bird's head top. The latest perfume from this firm is "Guili Guili". The flask is long and narrow, rather like a stalagmite, of cut glass, the centre..."
D&CI - Volume 42, 1938:
"Golliwogg dusting powder appears in a completely new package which is very similar to the small introductory package in the Golliwogg perfume."
Golliwogg was available in the following products:
- Toilet Water
- Eau de Cologne
- Melange de Parfum pour le Mouchoir
- Dusting Powder
- Sachet Powder
- Face Powder
- Face Cream
Vigny’s bottle stoppers were of black glass molded with wide open eyes and a large smiling mouth enameled in red. The top of the stopper was fitted with real seal fur which is not always intact on bottles found today. The rarest of all bottles, were the first presentations which had no hair, these are not to be confused with the stoppers found today missing their hair, you can tell the difference, as the ones that lost their hair have traces of glue residue on the top of the stopper where the hair would be.
The bottle, itself, was made by Verreries Brosse and the satin glass bottle was the first made in the series of bottles that were to change over the years. Later bottles were made up of clear glass.
Le Golliwogg’s famous bottle came in several sizes ranging from a miniature of just 2 ¼” tall to the largest, the deluxe size, which stood 4” tall.
Baccarat produced two bottles for the perfume, one is cylindrical #524, and the other a large round, disk shaped bottle #378, first used in 1919.
The bottle on the right is the Baccarat flacon version of Vigny's Golliwogg and features Golly's cute face on the label. Baccarat #524.
During the 1930s, an interesting bottle was released for the holidays, it was a small bottle in the shape of the stopper for the eau de cologne. However, the black area that represents the hair is actually flocked paper. The white bottom which looks like a ruff, screws into the glass head. The bottle was packaged in a white acetate plastic box, resting on a pink velvet base.
Other products in the range included: face cream, face powder, lotion, eau de cologne and rectangular shaped bottles with stoppers fitted with long daubers.
The lotion (a type of eau de toilette) bottle has an ovoid shape with molded arms and a black glass figural head stopper.
In 1938, a small bronze and enamel perfume pin can often be found with Golly’s adorable face on the front and on the back side there is a hinged receptacle that has tiny holes for holding scented cloth or cotton.
This same motif can be found as a matching metal pendant inscribed with "Vigny Golliwogg" and "Lucky Charm."and strung onto a bracelet or necklace.
Other bottles are the "pineapple" or "grenade" shaped clear glass bottle that was used for other scents such as Heure Intime (a soft floral perfume) and Beau Catcher in the 1940s-1960s.
The perfume was created by Jacque Vogel. So what does it smell like? It is classified as a spicy floral oriental fragrance for women with a dominant amber base note. I had several different bottles of this over the years and remembered it being a floral oriental scent with aldehydes thrown in, however my samples were very old and quite degraded. I would need a better stored sample to tell you what it smells like.
- Top notes: aldehydes, bergamot, clove
- Middle notes: violet, jasmine, rose, orris, lily of the valley, ylang ylang
- Base notes: tonka, styrax, civet, vetiver, vanilla, amber, sandalwood, patchouli, oakmoss, musk
Fate of the Fragrance:
The perfume was discontinued sometime in the late 1960s., as it was still sold in 1967.