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One of the goals of this website is to show the present owners of the various perfumes and cologne brands that are featured here how much we miss the discontinued classics and hopefully, if they see that there is enough interest and demand, they will bring back these fragrances!

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Vintage Perfumes For Sale

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

KL by Karl Lagerfeld c1982

KL by Karl Lagerfeld: launched in 1982. Created by Roger Pellegrino of Firmenich.

I had read that the perfume KL, was "designed" by Karl Lagerfeld for Marshall Field's. KL, was his third perfume licence with Elizabeth Arden, and was launched in Europe at the end of 1982 with a huge party held at Versailles Achieving early success in Europe, the perfume was then introduced in the US in May 1983 with a two week promotional tour.

Fragrance Composition:

So what does it smell like? It is classified as a spicy oriental fragrance for women. A seductive gathering of lush fruits and sumptuous flowers. Of pungent spices and smoldering woods. Of amber and myrrh... . and mystery. It starts with a spicy top, followed by a spicy floral heart, resting o a sweet balsamic base.
  • Top notes: spicy notes, aldehydes, mandarin orange, pimento berries, tangerine, magnolia, freesia, cassis, and bergamot 
  • Middle notes: clove, cinnamon, nutmeg, Jamaican pepper, rose, jasmine, ylang ylang and orchid
  • Base notes: styrax, labdanum, olibanum, civet, amber, myrrh, vanilla, vetiver, musk, sandalwood, patchouli and benzoin


Karl Lagerfeld was an avid collector of antique hand fans from around the world. he subsequently donated them to various museums. The fashion designer was also a compulsive collector of perfume bottles. It was this joint passion that led him to develop a cut-glass bottle shaped as a fan for his KL perfume and bath collection. The resulting package was designed by Marc Rosen Associates of New York. The package won a "Fifi" award from The Fragrance Foundation, otherwise regarded as the "Oscars" of the perfume industry.

The parfum flacon was available in three sizes:
  • 1 oz - bottle measures 3" tall x 4" wide.
  • 1/2 oz - bottle measures 2.5" tall x 3.5" wide.
  • 1/4 oz - bottle measures 1.5" tall x 2.75" wide

He agreed to use the initials K.L. and a drawing of himself, complete with his famous pony tail in silhouette for the namesake perfume - only because the original name "Fanatic" was thrown out by the lawyers in a copyright confusion. 

In 1985, Karl told Punch magazine that perfumes and fragrances have always played an important part in his life. That's why he started up Parfums Lagerfeld.

In early 1980s, you could get a special gold tone fan-shaped purse mirror with a purchase of spray parfum.

Fate of the Fragrance:

Unfortunately, this fragrance was discontinued in the 1990s and can be hard to find.

KL was originally produced and distributed by Bethco Fragrances, Inc. of New York, New York (a subdivision of Elizabeth Arden-Faberge, Inc). Bethco operated as the upper end American producer of Chloe, Karl Lagerfeld and Fendi perfumes. Bottles will be found with labels with the Bethco names.

This earliest edition was distributed in the United States by Bethco. You may also find some bottles with the EArden-Milano label, while others may just say only "UTIF" or "UTIF - Milano" - UTIF is the acronym for the Italian alcohol sales license. These bottles were for distribution in Europe and probably the rest of the world. The mini bottles usually do not have the pink/gold stripe on the cap.

In 1989, Unilever purchased Bethco Fragrances, Inc, but the labels will still be branded with the Bethco name.

Around 1990, Elizabeth Arden organized a subdivision, Parfums International, Ltd, to control the other Unilever owned fragrance brands (Lagerfeld, Chloe, Fendi, Elizabeth Taylor, Decadence, etc). These labels will be marked with the Parfums International, Ltd name. I do not believe this suffered from reformulation. The bottles and packaging stayed the same. You can find the name difference on the labels and boxes.

The latest editions were reformulated and repackaged and distributed by Unilever who acquired Elizabeth Arden in 1989. These bottles were distinctive as the caps and bottles will not have the gold/pink stripes as seen on the original examples. The labels will say the Unilever name.

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