Dating Evening in Paris bottles

Evening in Paris, a perfume by French cosmetics, company Bourjois, was once one of the most celebrated and recognised perfumes in the world.

Before Evening in Paris Bourjois had been primarily known for their lipsticks and powders, which they had been creating since the company was started in 1863. But Evening in Paris was one of its first forays into the ever growing perfume market and certainly the product that they used to crack the American market.

For such a well-known brand its origins have been somewhat obscured by time with some experts arguing that it was created in 1927/8 and others that it was created in 1929. One legend has it being created in Manhattan and one in Paris itself.

But what is undisputed is that they created a giant – a perfume so popular that it became part of the cultural lexicon of perfume. A perfume that can bring back memories of relatives and instantly recognisable and iconic branding and packaging.

Perfume: Created by Ernest Beaux
Packaging: Designed by Jean Helleu
Colour scheme: Blue and Silver, the owners racing colours

“the fragrance more women wear than any other in the world”

Bottles of Evening in Paris perfume were sold between the 1920s and the 1960s and they can be fairly reliably dated by the shape of the bottle, packaging and associated advertising. However, nothing is straightforward and this is only a general guide as the packaging was re-released and elements from different periods were incorporated into later designs.

Description:  Bullet-shaped glass flacon in cobalt blue glass with black bakelite cap and tassel
Length:  Approximately  3 1/8 inches long (not including tassel)
Label: Reads Evening in Paris Parfum, Bourjois, New York

Evening in Paris – dating perfume bottles from the 1920s and 1930s

When Evening in Paris was first launched it came in two different styles of bottles – each aimed at a different market and at a different price point.

The cobalt blue flacon with bakelite cap with a tassel is one of the most iconic and instantly recognisable of all the Bourjois bottles and represented a very clever move on the part of the company. Designed to be light enough and secure enough to fit into a handbag this bottle was also, due to its size, able to be sold at a cheap price point allowing the less well off the opportunity to buy a high-end perfume for an affordable price. These purse flacons would have been available in dime stores, chemists.

The clever part was that Bourjois also sold a second style of bottle – much bigger than the flacon, more expensive and available in high-end department stores for the wealthier customer.

Tips with dating: look for the label when distinguishing between a 1920s or 1930s bottle. A triangular shaped label means you have a 1920s bottle whereas a curved style label indicates a version made in the 1930s or later.

Evening in Paris – dating perfume bottles from the 1940s

Bottles from the 1940s were of the same cobalt and of similar shape, although often more curved at the neck. Stoppers were metal or cork and caps were silvery metal screw caps. Some bottles also have thin silver labels across the front saying “Evening in Paris”

Evening in Paris – dating perfume bottles from the 1950s

By the late 1940s, bottles with a gilded finish appeared and this continued into the 1950s. However, the really iconic 50s shaped bottle is known as “Mae West” shaped bottles due to their curvaceous shape. They also had blue plastic caps and round silver labels.

Gold labels on cobalt or clear glass bottles had begun to appear in the late 1940s and these continued into the 50s along with the introduction of gold screw caps.

Evening in Paris – dating perfume bottles from the 1960s

The 1960s bottle remained similar in shape to the 50s style bottle but now featured a v-shaped label. As ever the popular bottle was the cobalt blue although clear glass bottles are also to be found.