Smell & Tell: Norell: The First American Designer Perfume

Wednesday October 28, 2015: 6:30 pm to 8:45 pm -- Downtown Library: 4th Floor Meeting Room

This event is intended for adults and teens grade 6 and up

Norman Norell delivered couture-standard ready-to-wear and put the United States on the fashion map. He was also the first American designer to issue a branded fragrance and did so with a tall glass bottle sealed with a squared stopper that he designed himself. It was launched in 1968 and is as legendary as the designer himself.

Norell worked closely with Charles Revson, founder of Revlon, and IFF perfumer Josephine Catapano (the nose who created Youth Dew for Estee Lauder, Fidji for Guy Laroche, and Zen for Shiseido) to create Norell perfume. The green character of Norell’s rich floral fragrance made it stand out as a luxury item. The twist was an interesting natural ingredient called galbanum.

In 2015, the owner of the Norell license worked with IFF perfumer Celine Barel to create a modern version of the perfume, which is called Norell New York. It draws inspiration from the original formula and adds a modern twist. How does the original Norell compare to Norell New York? What makes the two perfumes similar, yet different? How does a perfumer re-orchestrate a classic perfume and honor the fashion designer and original perfumer; both of whom are no longer with us?

Answers to these and other questions related to fragrance development and history will be explored by Michelle Krell Kydd, editor of Glass Petal Smoke. This event is part of the Smell and Tell series featured at the Ann Arbor District Library. International Flavors and Fragrances (IFF) will be supplying aromatic materials that will be smelled at the event.