I recently bought a bottle of Caron’s “Montaigne” on fleabay, and the seller threw in this bottle of Pierre Cardin’s eponymous scent, after-shave version.
The bottle needs little introduction. It’s the big-mack-daddy of ridiculous perfume bottles, nearly always cited as such when the subject comes up on blogs and perfume fora. It is, though, so very much of its time. That would be a time many who lived through would like to forget.
“Pierre Cardin pour Monsieur” came out in 1972. My personal cascade of memories from that storied year includes:
Burt Reynold’s hairy visage as the first “Playgirl” centerfold; actually, Burt Reynolds. “The Joy of Sex,” featuring line drawings of a portly couple doing, y’know, it. “The Sensuous Woman” by “J.” The Loud family blaring it all on PBS in “An American Family.” The first — very first — disco records on the radio. Halter tops (that’s one of mine, from 1972, in the photo). The end of the earnest hippie; the resurgence of detached Hip. “Oui” magazine. Shag haircuts and, damn it, having to start styling your hair again. Cocaine amongst the cognoscenti. The end of Levi 501’s and the beginning of “designer” jeans. Um, waterbeds. Suburban couples lining up to see porn movies at the local Pussycat theater. Really Wide Ties. Muttonchop sideburns and fat mustaches. Shiny shirts with big collars. Deep tans. Hair spray for men.
…and that’s just a few of the references that come to (my) mind when I look at this bottle.
I’m not sure how old this one is. The cologne is still in production, but, in the usual sad story, has been sold and sold again and can now be had in discount drugstores for practically nothing. I think my bottle has some age, because the scent inside has things I recognize from other vintage fragrances I have — leather, geranium, tonka, oakmoss. And, although it starts out gag-me sweet, that quickly dissipates and becomes something that is…not too bad. It actually smells a lot like Habit Rouge, which was marketed for years as the scent one wears while riding to the hounds.
This one is decidedly Seventies, for the peacock-man of the time. Brian Ferry might have worn Habit Rouge but I bet he never wore this! I’d say it sits somewhere between Habit Rouge and those really downmarket drugstore musks-for-men.
And then there’s that, y’know, bottle.
Did you live through the Seventies? Do you remember them? So share already! (Posting as “Anonymous” is fine.)
According to Basenotes, the “notes” for Pierre Cardin pour Monsieur are lemon, bergamot, orange, lavender, basil, carnation, geranium, leather, sandalwood, patchouli, orris, vanilla, moss, tonka, benzoin and “amber.”
photo by Patricia Borow, aka Olfacta.