Friday, January 15, 2016

Le Parfum Ideal by Houbigant c1896

Le Parfum Ideal was created by Houbigant by in house perfumer, Paul Parquet in 1896, but it was launched for the first time at the 1900 Worlds Fair, along with another perfume Coeur de Jeanette.



The quintessential label for Le Parfum Ideal features a Gibson Girl sniffing a flower, this label was made of gilded foil and heavily embossed.


Fragrance Composition:


Ideal was the first floral composite bouquet perfume, containing synthetic compounds of coumarin and salicylates. It’s originality made it a great success for many years. It was considered a chic and vibrant perfume with notes of rose and ylang ylang.


So what did it smell like? It is classified as a floral oriental fragrance for women.
  • Top notes: citrus, carnation
  • Middle notes: Bulgarian rose, ylang ylang, orange blossom, jasmine
  • Base notes: tonka bean, patchouli, ambergris, musk, benzoin, sandalwood

Bottles:


The first flacon for Le Parfum Ideal was produced by Baccarat and is in their crystal apothecary style with flat topped stopper. This is a common flacon for this perfume and is found inside its floral printed cotton presentation case which was lined with canary yellow silk. Alfred Javal designed the presentation and took the idea for the box design from an Oriental carpet he has seen at Deauville.






Perfumery and Essential Oil Record, Volume 3, 1912:
"The house of Houbigant some 12 years ago, we are told, was the first to introduce the cut-glass bottle into perfumery, and to adopt an artistic style of presentation not previously attempted, the immense popularity accorded to " Parfum Ideal" being proof that a perfect perfume exquisitely- exhibited is irresistible."

From 1924-1930, Le Parfum Ideal was sold housed in a Baccarat flacon, known as the Louis XV flacon.

photo by ebay seller anteequity


Vanity Fair, 1927:
"The most successful odeurs of perfume history are Quelques Fleurs and Le Parfum Ideal, by Houbigant. These odeurs, in the Louis XV bottle designed for Houbigant by Baccarat, of Paris, are especially appropriate as gifts — each is $25.00."

The second most common bottle for Le Parfum Ideal is a tall eau de toilette flacon, made up of pressed glass, and has a frosted stopper molded with stylized flowers which echo the ones printed on the presentation case for the Baccarat flacon. Sometimes people mistake this bottle for Lalique, but this is not a Lalique creation. The bottom of the bottle will be molded with the name Houbigant and was sold in the 1920s-1930s.

Eau de Toilette c1920, photo from quirky finds


The third most common bottle is a flat, rectangular bottle with a gilded stopper, this bottle dates to the 1920s-1930s. Photo by quirky finds.


c1932 purse flacon with flip top lid, called Parfum pour le Sac

In the 1920's, Rene Lalique created a standard triangular shaped bottle for Houbigant. The bottle style had various stopper shapes and embossed designs and was used for various perfumes for Houbigant, including Le Parfum Ideal. Interestingly, these bottles were designed to fit inside a silk-lined circular box which would have originally held four bottles. This presentation was titled “Ensemble Houbigant”. These bottles and the box can be quite had to come by.



Based on the original 1920 prices using an inflation calculator, these products would cost the following in 2012 money:
  • Ideal extract would cost $48.16 to $93.50
  • Ideal toilet water would cost $82.16.
  • Ideal face powder would cost $56.66.
  • Ideal Talcum would cost $11.33.
  • Quelques Fleurs extract would cost $59.50 to $215.32.
  • Quelques Fleurs toilet water would cost $100.86.
  • Quelques Fleurs bath salts would cost $28.33.
  • Quelques Fleurs face powder would cost $70.83.
  • Quelques Fleurs talcum would cost $11.33.

In 1927, Le Parfum Ideal extract retailed for $1.75, $3.50, $6.75, and $12.50. Prices went up from what they were in 1920.

Based on the original 1927 prices using an inflation calculator, these products would cost the following in 2012 money:
  • $1.75 ($22.88)
  • $3.50 ($45.76)
  • $6.75 ($88.25)
  • $12.50 ($163.43)

Lotion Parfum Ideal, circa 1920

The fragrance was also available as a powder pressed inside of a gilded brass compact. Also available was a dusting powder infused with the perfume. In addition to parfum extrait and toilet water, other scented products included lotion (hair lotion), eau vegetable, face powder, compact rouge, bath salts, sachets, talcum powder and brilliantine for the hair.

In 1953, Houbigant launched the Le Parfum Ideal Skin Sachet, which was a concentrated, creamy, liquid made with a sachet base. This allowed the perfume to diffuse slowly and clung to the skin for hours.


Fate of the Fragrance:

Other perfume companies launched their own perfumes under the name of Ideal. Perfumeries such as Du Barry, Clermont et E Fouet, J E McBrady & Co, Ostheimer Brothers, Paul Reiger & C, Vallant and others released their versions of Ideal at different dates.

Le Parfum Ideal was discontinued by 1970, but vintage perfume bottles and powder can be found online quite regularly.

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