Revolution is in the air, just about everywhere.
France is on the brink, there are riots in the streets across Europe, while student sit ins, civil rights marches and assassinations rock a United States still at war in Vietnam.
Meanwhile in the East End of London, at an outpost of the vast empire that is the Ford Motor Company a group of women decide that they have had enough of doing same work as the men who stand alongside them on the production line day in day out and taking home a fraction of their pay at the end of every week.
These women are neither powerful nor wealthy nor well-known, they simply have an inate sense of fairness, and the courage to stand up for themselves.
British though they may be, these are the kind of women I imagine wearing ‘The First Great Perfume Born in America’.
‘Norell by Norell’ is a distintive, clear and confident new voice in fragrance.
In industrious though never industrial shades of green, here is a scent that is seductive in the way that self-assertion and self-posession always are.
It is a woman enjoying the freedom and independence that a career rather than a ‘pin money job’ or ‘playing at work’ can bring.
It is a sense of satisfaction at having fought the good fight for justice and having won.
Norell attracts the mind and the soul in equal measure.
A bold bouquet of hyacinths, carnations sequestered from bosses’ buttonholes and daffofils plucked playfully from factory forecourt flowerbeds it gains its greatest strength from a backbone of galbanum and oakmoss and an irreverent aromatic come herbaceous uncurrent cribbed wittily from genleman’s cologne.
It is equal opportunites civil rights olfactory tour de force.
And just like the women at the Ford plant in Dagenham England whose strike forced the global giant to deign to pay them the same as their menfolk… it’s a winner.
Only one great American perfume remains… what could it possible be?
While you’re pondering, why not take a look at the full review of Norell by Norell.
7 responses to “The Perfumed Dandy’s American Scents: the nineteen60s… Norell by Norell The fragrance of freedom”
Woo hoo! Right on, Mr. Dandy! That was my mother’s generation. She told me that she opened accounts at an all women’s bank in NYC because the regular banks wouldn’t extend her credit as a businesswoman, though she had a good income and good credit history. The women’s bank welcomed her with open arms. That was a generation of women that really had to fight for their rights — and did. My mother wore Norell, as a matter of fact, though it was in the 70s. I remember her going out in the evening looking gorgeous and smelling of Norell parfum. I didn’t ilke it much back then. It seemed a bit overwhelming. Later, I discovered its beauty for myself. I think it was eventually reformulated, though, wasn’t it?
What a wonderful concept… A Women’s Bank!
One is tempted to suggest that had there been more such institutions the nonsense of the last few years might have been avoided.
Well, back to fragrance. Isn’t it splendid to have had such wonderfully strong mothers, The Dandy’s was cut of similar cloth and shared the excellent taste of your mater though she was more of a Miss Dior woman.
As to Norell, sadly cheapened almost beyond recognition, but some of the original bottles still float to the surface on the internet now and again, though for very high prices I’m afraid…
I’m saving my pennies and crossing my fingers!
The Perfumed Dandy
we can just imagine Barbara Castle wearing Norell when visiting her constituents….
How very true. I had in mind Barbara Castle in her immaculate socialist chic when writing this piece.
Shirley Williams would have been somewhere in the background looking a little unkept and wearing something much older, L’Heure Bleue perhaps, given her by her mother.
We don’t have too many politicians like that these days do we?
The Perfumed Dandy
what do you think Hilary Rodham Clinton wears?
something surprising…….we think it might be Joy by Patou or faithful to an early Chanel
there isn’t an American producer of a fine fragrance is there?
Dear Mr Dandy,
I love the sound of these notes: Hyacinth and Daffodil and Carnation and then Oakmoss and Galbanum? I’m there! I’m getting in line for my bottle. With these notes, I’d even risk a blind buy. I do like my Greens.
Norell is one of my all time favourite perfumes, a true emerald among greens.
A word of caution though, the current ‘5 star fragrances’ version is a horror, so tracing this beauty down requires skill and patience on the internet… that said I know these are both virtues you have in abundance!
The Perfumed Dandy