Parfums Lucien Lelong: The Peter Fink Collection
10 a.m.–4 p.m., Monday-Saturday
The FIDM Museum is delighted to present an exceptional collection of fragrance, cosmetics, and ephemera from the house of Lucien Lelong. Some of these objects, including a fur-covered lipstick and the Full Dress and Golden Grotto lipsticks, have been featured on our blog. This group of objects was graciously donated by Monique Fink, wife of artist Peter Fink, who worked for Monsieur Lelong as package designer and interior decorator. Mr. Fink went on to discover the camera, and became a reputable photographer and artist of the twentieth century. Parfums Lucien Lelong: The Peter Fink Collection, a new exhibit in the Annette Green Fragrance Archive, highlights selected examples of Peter Fink's work for Parfums Lucien Lelong.
The use of makeup by American women grew exponentially during the first half of the twentieth century. In the beginning of the century, makeup was primarily an urban phenomenon, gradually spreading to other areas through increased marketing and a wider range of available products. By the 1940s, makeup application was a generally accepted part of a woman's daily routine. For many women, however, daily makeup consisted primarily of lipstick, rouge and powder, as the more exotic mascara and eyeshadow were worn primarily by the most daring and fashion forward women. During World War II, wearing makeup was considered almost a patriotic duty for women of the Allied nations. Despite the limitation of some ingredients due to wartime shortages, many types of makeup were widely available.
In the late 1940s, makeup colors and packaging were tuned to seasonal changes in fashion. Women began to purchase specific lipsticks or nail polish for each season, as they did clothing. Packaging was often extravagant and fanciful, as demonstrated by this late 1940s Lucien Lelong lipstick tube.
French couturier Lucien Lelong first began creating perfumes under the name Parfums Lucien Lelong in 1926 with the introduction of the ABC perfume trio, followed in 1927 with J (for Jasmine) and N (for Natalie Paley, Lelong's wife.) Lelong clearly understood the potential benefits of diversifying into perfume, as he established a Chicago branch of his perfume company almost immediately. This company produced Lelong's perfumes for the North American market, along with other Lelong-branded cosmetics. The couturier took a very personal interest in the appearance of his perfume and cosmetics, often designing the packaging himself.