To the despair of my art-historian sister, I’m not much of a visual person. She keeps walking me through the modern-art sections of various museums, explaining things to me and suffering through my “Okay, okay, I get the idea, but that’s just freaky!” comments. Like your average art philistine, though, I “know what I like.” Also, I do tend to be interested in the tactile experience of the objects I handle: I love the shapes of my treenware coffee-measuring spoon and my ancient Blue Willow teapot, as well as the texture of line-dried sheets and the insides of my fuzzy pink socks. I’d never buy a perfume just for the bottle, although a pretty bottle is a bonus. But I do love a bottle that feels nice in my hands.
As a companion to my “ugly bottles” post, here’s a rundown of the fragrances I own that are housed in aesthetically-pleasing packages, whether they’re a pleasure to handle or just pretty to look at:
Dior Dolce Vita. Probably the prettiest bottle I own, with its globe shape dotted with concavities. Sometimes it reflects pieces of light like a disco ball – I’m sad not to display it. Unmistakable, fun to spritz, and architecturally interesting.
Caron Aimez-Moi. I have a small bottle from the original release – it looks like a cut-glass version of a tasseled pillow. Way cute. Here I will digress and comment on the standard Caron non-urn bottles (see my “Ugly Bottles” post for more ranting): they are Butt-ugly. ‘Nuff said. Caron seems determined to do itself out of business these days.
Teo Cabanel Alahine. It’s hard to see in this photo, but the back of the bottle has a dark red tracery of flowers and leaves on it, which shows through to the front. (Click on the pic and you’ll get a better idea of what I mean.) Also, the bottle has beautifully-rounded edges and a sprayer that delivers a finely-directed mist of fragrance – especially good for applying orientals – as well as that pretty string-and-seal on the side.
Donna Karan Gold. If I could have changed anything about this bottle, I’d have wanted a smooth cap, preferably in metal, but at least in heavy plastic. The texture of the wooden cap is in conflict with the graceful proportions of the rectangular bottle and the smoothness of the gilded sides. Cap aside, this one’s a pleasure to hold and spray.
Guerlain Chamade, in parfum. It’s meant to evoke a heart turned upside down with love, and the stopper makes me think of a candle flame. (I like the classic Mitsouko and L’Heure Bleue bottles, too – Guerlain does a good job at designing distinctive bottles.) I actually bought an empty 1/4-oz Chamade parfum bottle and emptied a decant of pdt into it, so I could hold it and play with it and and run my fingers over the ridges and look at the sun through it… I even wrote Chamade into my NaNoWriMo novel, bottle and all.
Any Lancome La Collection fragrance, from the larger spray bottle to the smaller dabber bottles with ground-glass stoppers. The shapes are attractive, they feel nice in the hands, and I adore dabbing with a stopper anyway, it’s so deliciously retro. The sprayer on my bottle of Cuir delivers a nice mist, too.
Any Chanel parfum bottle. Absolutely classic, from its square bottle with slightly-rounded corners, to its ground-glass stopper that’s a delight to hold, to the iconic black-and-white label. There is no element of this bottle that isn’t simply perfect. I have two bottles of No. 5 extrait in different sizes, and a tiny 4ml bottle of No. 19 extrait. They’re all a joy to use.
I’d love to hear about the most beautiful bottle(s) you own.
All photos are from fragrantica.com (because mine never come out right).