Format Hardcover
Publication Date 12/06/16
ISBN 9781681772462
Trim Size / Pages 6 x 9 in / 384

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A Century of Scents

Lizzie Ostrom

Signature scents and now-lost masterpieces; the visionaries who conceived them; the wild and wonderful campaigns that launched them; the women and men who wore them—every perfume has a tale to tell.

Join Lizzie Ostrom on an olfactory adventure as she explores the trends and crazes that have shaped the way we’ve spritzed. One hundred perfumes and scents in all their fragrant glory reveal a fascinating social history of the past century. From the belle epoque through the swinging sixties, to the naughty nineties and beyond, Ostrom brings intelligence and wit to this most ravishing of subjects.

There was the patriotic impact of English Lavender during World War I and perfumes that captured the Egyptomania of the 1920's. Estee Lauder created "Youth Dew" and with it, distilled the essence of 1950's suburbia. Patchouli Oil—the "anti-perfume" of the 1960s—was sure to keep money out of the hands of corporations and "the man." And who could forget the fervor created by the grunge androgyny of CK One? Scent is truly the passport to memory, making Perfume both a lush treat and an insightful examination of the twentieth century through the most mysterious of the five sense.

Lizzie Ostrom is one of today's most exciting commentators on all things perfume. A lifelong fragrance fan, she began hosting events for people to discover the world of scent in 2010, under her alter ego of Odette Toilette. She has worked with many fashion brands, as well as cultural and scientific institutions including the Tate, Royal Academy, Royal Institution, Royal Observatory Greenwich and The British Museum. She is also the co-host of the popular podcast Life in Scents. Lizzie lives in London and her favorite perfume changes far too often. Find out more on her website:

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Endorsements & Reviews

"Fragrance has always been wrapped in social and economic issues, controversy, memories and history as Lizzie Ostrom so persuasively shows in the lively Perfume: A Century of Scents. A sharply focused introduction to each chapter further puts the decade—and its fragrance fashion—in perspective." Associated Press
"In this witty, entertaining new book, Ostrom surveys the 20th century by examining 10 key scents created in each decade. It turns out that a history of perfume is both wide-ranging and oddly intimate; after all, Ostrom writes, ‘a scent is as much about the people who wear it as the people who make it.’" Boston Globe
"Rich and intriguing, this book explores the relationship between scents of the 20th century and their ties to politics, gender dynamics, fashion trends and the technologies of their time." Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
"Witty and informative, Ostrom's history reveals the way fragrance speaks for historical eras while also evoking them. Pleasant reading for both lovers of perfume and popular culture." Kirkus Reviews
"An entertaining romp through a century of perfumes. This book is as delectable an artifact as the product it describes . . .the perfect accompaniment to a bottle of J’Adore." The Independent
"Readers with an interest in perfume and general history of the various time periods will enjoy Ostrom’s fragrant reminiscences." Booklist
"A wonderful, well-informed read. Charming and illuminating." The Spectator
"A really enjoyable and fun book." The BBC, "Fact Not Fiction" Book Club
"Beautifully written and sumptuous. Will make a perfect gift." Styliset