How Art Eras Influence Perfumery

Skincare Anarchy
3 min readNov 22, 2022

“Purple the sails, and so perfumed, that the winds were love-sick with them,” Shakespeare wrote. After killing Julius Caesar, Cleopatra is claimed to have welcomed Marc Antony in a ship with fragrant sails and taken over as the ruler of Egypt. The use of scent is typically linked to mysticism, fantasy, and creativity. We use perfume to make others happy, create a good impression, and fill our environment with a pleasant, lasting aroma. Despite having a lengthy history, perfume has not always had a romantic undertone.

The Latin words “per” (meaning “thorough”) and “fumus” (meaning “smoke”) are where the English word “perfume” originates. The scents created by burning incense were eventually given the word “parfum” by the French. Incense was in fact the original type of scent, created by the Mesopotamians some 4,000 years ago. At their sacred rituals, ancient tribes burnt a range of resins and wood. Around 3000 B.C., incense arrived in Egypt, but until the start of the Egyptian Golden Age, perfumes were only employed in religious ceremonies. The priests slowly lost their unique rights, and they became accessible to all Egyptians. The populace enjoyed lavish baths and fragrant oil soaks for their complexion.

The first aqueous perfume was created by the ancient Greeks. However, the Arabs’ invention of distillation was what enabled the production of perfume commercially possible. The 17th century saw tremendous success for perfume, particularly in France. During those times, hygiene was very shoddy, and foul body odors were covered up with fragrances. Both King Henry VIII and Queen Elizabeth I made frequent use of scents in England. During Elizabeth’s reign, every public space was scented since she could not stand offensive odors.

In the 19th century, scent underwent a significant transformation, just like industry and art. The modern fragrance was built on the grounds of evolving tastes and chemistry. At the beginning of the century, perfume was often made from the aroma of a flower bud. Today’s perfumes are composed of a wide range of natural and synthetic substances, known as “notes” or “overtones,” and are infinitely complicated. The first perfume to use artificial chemicals was Chanel No5, which was also the first to use current chemical concepts in its creation.

In the early 18th century in the city of Köln, an Italian barber created eau de cologne, which is typically worn by men. As a result, the city’s French name is “Cologne.” This mixture was first marketed as a “wonder remedy” under the name “Aqua Admirabilis” (Admirable Water). Napoleon gave the wondrous liquid great marks, and it was first offered for sale as a fragrance with the designation 4711, which was also the location of Koln’s first eau de cologne store. It is still the oldest scent that has been made continually.

A memory, an emotion, a piece of architecture, or a trip can all serve as the inspiration for a perfume. The Art Deco collection transports you to the Roaring Twenties, just as “The Collector” — a travel-inspired perfume collection, can send you on a journey around the world with distinctive country-specific aromas.

The beauty of art is that the viewer is allowed to interpret it in whatever they see fit. When the perfume is finished, the idea behind it will come to an end. However, how each person reacts to the fragrance and how it feels on their skin may vary. Generations of artists have been influenced by perfumes, and smells have an impact on many other creative forms. If you look back in time, you’ll find that numerous scents have been the inspiration for well-known poems, paintings, books, and movies where smell plays a major and vital role. It is indisputable that scents like perfumes may evoke memories or feelings just like any piece of art, music, or sculpture can. A fresh fragrance is developed by perfumers based on their emotional condition or experience. The art of perfume may touch our souls, arouse our deepest emotions, and alter our vision.


Written By: Yaren Ay

Concept By: Ekta

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