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1960s Retro Fragrances

1960's image that looks like it came from the 60's with blocky flowing letters and colorful theme 1960s7.jpg

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Popular Women's Fragrances From the 1960s

  • Yves Saint Laurent Rive Gauche
  • Tuvache Oh! de London
  • Rochas Femme
  • Piguet Fracas
  • Dana Tabu
  • Faberge Tigress
  • Prince Matchabelli Wind Song
  • Hermes Caleche

Popular Men’s Colognes From the 1960s

  • MEM English Leather
  • Shulton Old Spice
  • Dana Canoe
  • Leeming Hai Karate
  • Faberge Brut
  • Williams Aqua Velva
  • Speidel British Sterling
  • Swank Jade East
  • Aramis Aramis
  • Jovan Musk for Men

Fragrances in the 1960s

The 1960s was the time when everyone started to buy fragrances - it was the golden days for drugstore scents. Many of them became near instant classics and remain cultural icons. There were so many drugstore fragrances that create the type of nostalgia that only a favorite fragrance can. These fragrances relied on television and print advertising plus word of mouth for their sales because there was not a lot of shelf space in drugstores. There was more money spent on television advertisements for Wind Song, Charlie, Enjoli and Babe than on advertisements for Shalimar, Chanel No. 22 and Robert Piguet Fracas. All of the drugstore brands - Bonne Bell, Houbigant, Prince Matchabelli, Dana, Max Factor, Coty and Jovan produced at least one classic; Coty produced more than ten. Even Charles of the Ritz who launched way fewer fragrances than other brands had a varied line from Charles of the Ritz to Jean Nate to Enjoli to Forever Krystle. As a matter of fact, Jean Nate is the most famous American drugstore fragrance ever. These drugstore fragrances were beautifully constructed fragrances made available to a wide market. Try Babe, Charlie, Windsong, Enjoli or Cachet and see the difference between these and current day drugstore fragrances.

Interestingly, all fragrances were seen as unisex until the 1960s, when the beauty industry started heavily promoting scents for one sex or the other. Until then, men and women simply wore scents they liked. It was during the 1960s that hippies snubbed mainstream fragrances and musk, patchouli and sandalwood were the hot scents. Essential oils were the new rage and due to this, musk had a special place in the classic drugstore lineup. Bonne Bell Skin Musk, Jovan Musk, Coty Wild Musk and Alyssa Ashley Musk were simple “you, but better” scents that fit the hippies and flower children. Young people no longer wanted the sophisticated fragrances worn by their parents; they wanted ones rooted in oriental culture. 

There were 77 new fragrances launched in the 1960s (46 women, 31 men) compared to only 36 (30 women, 6 men) in the 1950s.

The 1960's will be remembered for its defining styles and revolutionary ideas. There were hippies, rockers and mods. The mod culture started in London and worked its way around to America and boasted bright bold colors often in geometric designs and was the cult of the super cool in the 1960s. Mod clothes leaned toward ultra-short and sleeveless - miniskirts, jumpers, shifts, patent rain trenches and patent leather go-go boots. Check out packaging of fragrances from the 1960s, many had funky, bright packaging.



What's Going on in the World in the 1960s

The 1960s was a decade of protest and reform. Young Americans demonstrated against the Vietnam War, African Americans demonstrated for civil rights and women demonstrated for equal treatment. It was also a time of great social change. The voting age was lowered to eighteen by the end of the 1960s. It was the era of rapid technological progress, the age of the car, and man walking on the moon. The 60s changed attitudes and ended on a note of optimism for a better and brighter future.

The 1960s was the decade of great music - the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, Dusty Springfield, the Who, Procol Harum - the list could go on and on. Music itself changed radically in the 60s. The Beatles went from suited mods in the early sixties to hip guys in the middle sixties then to full blown hippies by 1967. It was the first full decade of rock and roll and the biggest hit was Chubby Checker's "The Twist". The Beatles had two of the top twenty songs of the 1960s - "I Wanna Hold Your Hand" and "Hey Jude". Towards the end of the decade, soul became more popular and included songs like Otis Redding's "Sittin' On The Dock Of The Bay" and Marvin Gaye's "I Heard It Through the Grapevine". In the latter half of the 1960s, psychedelic music reflected the growing hippie culture. Prog-rock began to emerge out of the British psychedelic scene in 1967, specifically a strain of classical/symphonic rock by The Nice, Procol Harum and The Moody Blues.

Television tried to attract younger audiences and shows like American Bandstand, The Ed Sullivan Show and other TV variety shows began showcasing rock bands. In 1967 the first outdoor rock music festival (The Monterey Pop Festival) was held and attracted 55,000 fans per day to a three-day concert. Then in the summer of 1969, the Woodstock Music and Art Fair drew 500,000 people to a three-day concert in Bethel, New York. 


  • First Televised Presidential Debates
  • Lunch Counter Sit-In at Woolworth's in Greenboro, NC
  • Most Powerful Earthquake Ever Recorded Hits Chile
  • Sharpeville Massacre in South Africa
  • Kennedy is Elected as Youngest President
  • The Birth Control Pill Is Approved by the FDA


  • Bay of Pigs Invasion
  • Berlin Wall Built
  • JFK Gives "Man on the Moon" Speech
  • Peace Corps Founded
  • Soviets Launch First Man in Space
  • Stalin's Body Removed From Lenin's Masoleum


  • Andy Warhol Exhibits His Campbell's Soup Can
  • Cuban Missile Crisis
  • First Person Killed Trying to Cross the Berlin Wall
  • James Meredith Admitted Into the Segregated University of Mississippi
  • Marilyn Monroe Found Dead



  • Betty Friedan Publishes The Feminine Mystique
  • Great Train Robbery in England
  • JFK Assassinated
  • March on Washington
  • Martin Luther King Jr. Makes His "I Have a Dream" Speech
  • Medgar Evers Is Murdered


  • Beatles Become Popular in US
  • Cassius Clay (Muhammad Ali) Becomes World Heavyweight Champion
  • Civil Rights Act is signed by President Johnson. 
  • Nelson Mandela Sentenced to Life in Prison
  • Warren Report on JFK's Assassination Issued


  • Los Angeles Riots
  • Malcolm X Assassinated
  • Miniskirt First Appears
  • New York City Great Blackout
  • US Sends Troops to Vietnam
  • President Johnson signs the Voting Rights Act


  • First Kwanzaa Celebrated
  • Mao Zedong Launches the Cultural Revolution
  • Mass Draft Protests in U.S.
  • National Organization for Women (NOW) Founded


  • Che Guervara Killed
  • First Heart Transplant
  • First Super Bowl
  • Six-Day War in the Middle East
  • Three U.S. Astronauts Killed During Simulated Launch
  • Thurgood Marshall Becomes the First African-American U.S. Supreme Court Justice                                                                                                                                                                                   1960s10.jpg


  • Japan's 300 Million Yen Robbery
  • Martin Luther King Jr. Assassinated
  • My Lai Massacre
  • Robert F. Kennedy Assassinated
  • Tet Offensive
  • Republican candidate Richard Nixon is elected president of the United States.


  • Manson Family Murders
  • Neil Armstrong Becomes the First Man on the Moon
  • Woodstock Concert
  • Yasser Arafat Becomes Leader of the PLO


Advertising in the 1960s

The 1960s were all about revolution – socially, politically, and in the world of advertising, creatively. The 1960s were a decade of marketing often called the “Golden Age of Advertising.” In the period before the 1960s most magazine advertisements were illustrations rather than photography. These included many beautifully drawn perfume advertisements, especially those from Paris. Starting in the 1960s, fragrance advertisements combined a message of sex appeal and power to market their products. But women's and men's fragrances were still considerably different in the way the advertising is done. For men they are shown in more casual positions, emphasizing lifestyle over sensuality. There is an emphasis on sports and professions in men’s fragrance ads, while the women’s fragrances tend to be advertised through love, eroticism, glamour and fashion. 

With the rebirth of feminism in the 1960s, advertising was perceived as one of the primary means by which society pressured women to fit into idealized roles as wives and mothers. In the late 1960s and early 1970s, feminists began to actively organize protests against advertisers. As a result, emphasis began to be placed on the independent woman who, although she was married, drove her own car and had a fulfilling job. It wasn't just advertising that was transforming; it was actually part of a larger movement that was affected by other cultural changes that were happening. Bernbach, Lois and Wells were the big names in advertising and today's advertising industry still takes inspiration from the trailblazers of the 1960s with their eye-catching slogans and attention-grabbing creativity.

As the first crop of baby boomers reached adolescence, fragrance advertising began to reflect the sexually progressive social changes taking place in America. Ads for Tabu, English Leather and Emeraude gave consumers a sense of romance, innuendo and downright sexuality in their ads. The first Tabu ad was of a man holding his violin and lustfully hugging the pianist who had accompanied him (more romance than anything else). This ad first ran in 1941 in Vogue and Harper's Bazaar and continued to run all the way through the 1970s. The ad for English Leather had a woman standing next to a man saying "All my men wear English Leather or they wear nothing at all." (there's the innuendo). Interestingly enough in 1990, English Leather changed it to "man" instead of "men". In 1965 advertisements for their fragrance Emeraude, Coty featured close up pictures of gorgeous, seductive women with the headline "Want him to be more of a man? Try being more of a woman." Revlon's Intimate ad read "What makes a shy girl get Intimate? It's the fragrance that does all the flirting for her. The uninhibited perfume that makes things happen. What kind of things? That's her affair."

Some of the slogans from 1960s fragrances: 

  • Primitif - "Why not let your perfume say the things you would not dare to?" 
  • Intimate - "Intimate never shouts, but oh! how it whispers."
  • Arpege - "Promise her anything but give her Arpege."
  • Emeraude - "For the woman who dares to be different." and "Want him to be more of a man? Try being more of a woman."
  • Chantilly - "And suddenly you feel pretty."
  • Shalimar - "So delightful to use, so flattering to give."
  • Jade East - "If she doesn't give it to you, get it yourself."
  • Dana Canoe - "Wear it, she'll get the message."
  • Hai Karate - "Be careful how you use it."
  • Faberge Brut - "If you have any doubts about yourself, try something else."


 Some of the famous faces from 1960s fragrance advertisements: 

  • Jean Shrimpton (Tuvache Oh! de London and Avon)
  • Twiggy (Yardley)
  • Candice Bergen (Elizabeth Arden)
  • Audrey Hepburn (Givenchy L'Interdit)
  • Jennifer O'Neill (Avon)
  • Lauren Hutton (Coty Emeraude)
  • Joe Namath (Revlon Pub)



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