Saturday, May 10, 2014

Edition Limitée by Lucien Lelong c1951

In 1951, the Lucien Lelong perfume company released a special presentation in a new bottle. It was called "Edition Limitée" and only 200 bottles were produced.  

Monsieur Lelong, Honorary President of the Chambre Syndicate de la Couture, and world-famed for his fashion and perfume creations, worked many years on the formula for this fragrance, which is composed of the rarest of exotic essences blended of blossoms - potent - wildly sweet. When it was perfected, he discovered that one of its rare ingredients could no longer be procured. The precious perfume, known as Parfum A, was previously custom produced in only a small quantity in Paris. In a twist of fate, Lucien Lelong decided to put the last few remaining gallons of fragrance into a bottle that is a work of art. Hence, the two hundred bottles were all there would ever be available - making it a rare possession, indeed. The ad above mentions that only a few women in the world had owned the perfume and that it was custom created for them.  

In the Presidential Palace, Lelong presented France's First Lady, Madame Vincent Auriol, with the first bottle of the limited edition perfume in 1951. The scent was an "export only" line, with the exception of the one for Madame Auriol. The other 200 flasks, signed and numbered by the perfumer like a rare book edition, were headed for the United States in 2 ounce packages costing $110 each. Priceless because it is so rare.

Fragrance Composition:

"Parfum A" was originally launched in 1928, though his registration of the name claims use since 1922, in its early days, may have been given away to his best clients at the couture salon. It was still being sold as late as 1948.

So what does it smell like? It was classified as a rich floral amber (oriental) fragrance for women. It was described as a "heavy, sweet floral odor" to be worn during evening by the "exotic woman," preferably in a red dress.
  • Top notes: citrus, spices, orange blossom
  • Middle notes: jasmine, rose, gardenia, carnation
  • Base notes: vanilla, ambergris, sandalwood, musk, oakmoss, tonka, labdanum


The bottle, a collector's item in itself, was inspired by a graceful 16th century vase in the Boucheron Collection displayed in the Pavillon Marsan at the Musee du Louvre. Lelong had it reworked in the shape of an elegant vessel to hold his rare fragrance. It's an exquisitely wrought crystal glass urn and sits proudly in a satin sheathed vitrine fronted with glass. Each vitrine carries a card with the signature of Lucien Lelong and the number of the bottle. To get the 200 perfect bottles, over twice as many were destroyed. Nothing but absolute perfection could be accepted. So delicate are these bottles that for each one completed, four others cracked during manufacture.

The bottle is made up of fire polished clear demi crystal and was manufactured by Verreries Brosse. The bottles stands 6.75" tall and holds 2 oz of parfum.

Fate of the Fragrance:

As only 200 bottles were available, once the perfume was gone, it was gone for good. The Edition Limitée was only sold for the holiday season of 1951.

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