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Vintage Perfumes For Sale

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Norell by Norell c1968

Norell by Norell: launched in 1968 in association with Revlon. Created by Josephine Catapano.

Norell, the first American designer fragrance, was a high end perfume, matching the French perfumes in terms of quality and packaging.

The San Bernardino Sun, 1968:
“Who’s that you’re wearing?” will soon mean your perfume as well as your dress. Although Norman Norell agonized more than most designers to put one of his perfectionist collections together, he can turn out four of them in less time than it’s taken to put his name on a perfume. 
After more than a year of conferring and sniffing, conferring and sniffing on dozens of formulae, submitting designs for bottles, packages and advertising formats to please Norman and Charles Revson, Revlon’s mastermind, the choice is still undecided. “They keep thinking they’ve got it right, but I keep asking them to try again,” said Norman. The last word was that “Norel by Norman Norell” will be a blend of jasmine, other flowers, and a touch of sandalwood. It is described as “fresh yet exotic and lingering.”

It was introduced in 1968 via a lavish social and promotional event at Bonwit Teller starting with a black-tie supper dance that took up two floors in the store. With the show and cocktails on the fourth floor and the sixth floor turned into a discotheque for supper and dancing after the Norell fashion show. Black and white balloons, a groaning buffet and about 250 guests including Lauren Bacall, and the Cornelius Vanderbilt Whitneys.

Norell sold for $50 an ounce during its debut and was declared an "instant success"that grossed $1 million in sales its first year.  

In 1974 Norell perfume sales were running at $10 million a year and "the most expensive lipstick in the market" was introduced that fall under the Norell name at $7.50 ( a refill cost $3.75). 

By 1978, its price of Norell parfum rose to $60 an ounce and in 1984, it went up to $75 an ounce (contrast to Chanel No. 5 which was only $55 per ounce). In 1993, one ounce of Norel parfum cost $150.

Norell was available in the following products:
  • 1/16 oz Parfum (Micro Mini)
  • 1/8 oz Parfum (Mini)
  • 1/4 oz Parfum
  • 1/2 oz Parfum
  • 1 oz Parfum
  • 2 oz Parfum
  • Touch Perfume Concentrate (Roll On)
  • 0.2 oz Perfume Purse Spray
  • 0.4 oz Parfum Purse Spray
  • 1/2 oz Perfume Spray
  • Luxury Perfume Spray
  • 0.23 oz Eau de Toilette Splash (Mini)
  • 1.7 oz Eau de Toilette Spray
  • 3.3 oz Eau de Toilette Spray
  • 2.25 oz Eau de Parfum Spray
  • 0.3 oz Cologne Spray
  • 1.25 oz Cologne Spray 
  • 1.75 oz Cologne Spray
  • 2.25 oz Cologne Spray
  • 2.5 oz Cologne Spray
  • 2.25 oz Cologne Splash
  • 4 oz Cologne Splash
  • 8 oz Cologne Splash
  • Cologne Spray Concentrate
  • Perfumed Body Lustre Lotion
  • Perfumed Dusting Powder
  • 6 oz Perfumed Bath Powder
  • 8 oz Perfumed Bath Oil
  • 8 oz Perfume Milk Bath
  • 4 oz Elegant Body Powder
  • 8 oz Elegant Body Lotion
  • 8 oz Elegant Bathing Gel
  • 8.25 oz Elegant Body Creme
  • Soap
  • Solid Perfume (1/8 oz Concentrated Perfume Pillbox)
  • Solid Perfume (1/8 oz Perfume in a Pot)
  • Solid Perfume (0.25 oz Perfume Basketweave Pillbox)

Fragrance Composition:

So what does it smell like? It is classified as a green floral fragrance for women. It is a floral with green overtones, fresh, not heavy, described by Norell as a fragrance with a kick to it. It starts with a fresh green top, followed by a green floral heart, resting on a powdery floral base.
  • Top notes: lavender, mandarin orange, galbanum, hyacinth, bergamot, narcissus and lemon
  • Middle notes: mimosa, coriander, carnation, orris, gardenia, cinnamon, orchid, arum lily, jasmine, ylang-ylang, Bulgarian rose and cardamom
  • Base notes: sandalwood, amber, musk, vanilla, oakmoss, vetiver, cedar and myrrh


The parfum was sold in a squat clear crystal flacon with paneled sides and topped with a faceted cut glass stopper. The name Norell was screen printed in simple script on the front of the bottle.

You can also find the factice parfum bottles that were used for advertising at the perfume counters. These dummy bottles were filled with colored water, not perfume. 

Several sizes:
  • 8 1/2" tall
  • 8 1/4" tall
  • 6 1/2" tall
  • 6" tall
  • 4" tall
The bottles for the cologne, eau de toilette and the eau de parfums were tall, clear glass bottles with paneled sides, topped with brass caps trimmed with black.

In 1982, a special limited edition bottle was presented. Known as the "Black Onyx Jeweler's Edition", the bottle holds 2.25 oz of Cologne Spray Concentrate. Apparently this flacon was only sold at Tiffany & Company.

Fate of the Fragrance:

You may notice that there are different manufacturers listed on the Norell packaging in addition to the Norell Perfumes, Inc name.  From 1968 til 1988, the bottles will be marked Norell Perfumes, Inc. 

From 1989 to 1996, you will find packaging marked "Prestige Fragrances", a division of Revlon, which sold primarily to department and specialty stores, and included the lines for Ciara, Halston, Bill Blass for women, Norell, and Di Borghese. In 1989, Revlon's Prestige Fragrances Ltd. planned to reemphasize Norell for the fall season and introduced the Norell Elegant Bath Luxuries.

The Rose Sheet, 1995:
"Marketing in Brief: Norell Fragrance Group 
Norell Fragrance Group: Will expand distribution of Norell women's scent to England, France and the Far East in early 1996. In addition, the company said it is "working aggressively to keep Norell in the high-end retail market" in the U.S. Norell is repositioning the fragrance to attract younger consumers -- women in their mid-20's and older -- rather than the scent's historic 35-55 target age group. The firm said it will promote Norell with "millions of scented pieces" to be distributed at point-of-sale and through targeted mailings and print ads that break in February in Elle, People and Cosmopolitan. Also, during the third quarter of 1996, Norell will bring back the "famous Norell red lipstick" as a g-w-p, the firm says, adding that eventually, the lipstick may come back as a stand-alone item. Norell Fragrance Group also is developing treatment items under the Norell name. A group of investors formed Norell Fragrance Group upon purchasing the Norell brand from Revlon in October."

In 1997, Jeffrey Dame, former Parlux executive vice president, formed a new company, Five Star Fragrance, Bohemia, NY. Mr. Dame, who had acquired the Norell trademark from Revlon's Norell Perfumes subsidiary, planned to relaunch the 28-year-old signature scent. that year using original formulas at high concentrations. The 1998 Norell ad campaign released by the company featured celebrity Faye Dunaway.

According to Happi magazine, Mr. Dame said he wanted to develop a portfolio of prestige fragrance trademarks through the acquisition of existing brands and the licensing of new fashion trademarks. Five Star Fragrances acquired some other brands including Bill Blass, Vicky Tiel, Royal Secret, and Galore. 
  • Norell Perfumes, Inc/Revlon (1968-1988)
  • Prestige Fragrances (1989-1996)
  • Five Star Fragrances (1997-present)

In 2015, Norell was reformulated and relaunched in new packaging. This modern green floral opens with a lush radiance that exudes a playful effervescence with an airy floral bouquet and sensual finish. This new perfume is sold exclusively at Bergdorf Goodman and Neiman Marcus. A 3.4 oz Eau de Parfum and a Body Cream are currently available. An exquisite limited edition Baccarat crystal flacon containing 1.7 oz of Parfum is available for $1,500 (only 500 examples worldwide).

  • Top notes: galbanum, mandarin, bergamot and pear
  • Middle notes: jasmine, peony, gardenia and orchid
  • Base notes: orris butter, vetiver, sandalwood, vanilla and musk

Norell II:

With the ultimate success of Norell, a flanker scent was added to the line in 1979. Norell 2, a chypre fragrance for women, was described as a warm floral bouquet with green, woody oriental undertones. If I am not mistaken, Norell II was created by International Fragrances and Flavors perfume Rayda Vega.

This new Norell perfume has a reddish color and was packaged in the familiar looking Norell bottles, but this time the bottles are frosted glass and the caps are accented with red trim. It was this theme of red that has some fragrance devotees thinking the name was actually Norell Red. Norel Red was the name of an Ultima lipstick shade put out in the 197s. This sultry crimson hue was sold as a gift with purchase alongside Norell perfumes in the 1970s-1990s.
  • Top notes: aldehydes, bergamot, galbanum
  • Middle notes: rose, spices, other floral notes
  • Base notes: sandalwood, musk, oakmoss, patchouli, amber, leather, vanilla

Unfortunately, Norell II was discontinued after only a few years of its introduction and can be quite hard to find.

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