Sunday, June 29, 2014
The Burlap Children, Vintage Bags, and Guet Apens (the perfume, not the movie)
Ralphie and Dee were filthy. I mean, really bad. The silk flowers were easy enough to clean as they were only tacked on with pins. I applied some Dawn detergent to remove 50 years of dust, cigarette residue, and cat hair from the flowers, and I'm pleased to say they came back beautifully. The canvas I vacuumed with the hose attachment until nothing else came off, then I hit it with a lint roller. So far so good. I removed the paper from the backing as it was water stained and I was concerned their might be some ancient mould growing behind it. Fortunately, it was clean, so I gave that the vacuum and lint brush treatment as well. It was going so well, I never imagined a damp cloth on the frame would turn the paint to a glue-like wet smear. Right, not waterproof paint. I realised it quickly, so the damage was minimal, but the stink of the old, decomposing paint was really something. It was difficult to wash from my hands as well. Lesson learned-go carefully with the water on old paint.
I've had some recent luck with vintage handbags, so I thought I'd share some of the more interesting examples.
Back in '99, I bought a limited edition bottle of the newly-released Guet Apens perfume by Guerlain. It was pricey being 4 ounces of perfume, but the bottle was beautiful (a copy of the 1931 Jicky bottle, though thank god it didn't smell like Jicky which could have been more appropriately named, "Sicky") and I bought it without ever smelling it (there was no tester). I got it home, opened it and sniffed-oakmoss. That was it. All I could detect was a faint whiff of an uninteresting scent, and if there was any difference between the top note and the rest, it was lost on me. Slightly annoyed at the money I had just dropped on a large quantity of perfume I didn't care for, I sealed it up and forgot about it for fifteen years.
My first thought was, "decant this stuff and sell it on Etsy, you can buy a used car with that kind of money. A nice used car." Will I? Probably not. I may indeed decant some for use, and then tightly re-seal the bottle to see what it turns into in the next decade. Perfume is such a curious thing, but what a wonderful surprise it was to open the bottle, and smell how it transformed into something so magnificent. I feel much better about my initial investment even if it took 15 years to enjoy it. There's a lesson in this about patience to be sure, and it now had me curious to smell aged versions of perfumes I didn't quite click with straight from the box. Perhaps I could have learned to love Joy had I given it a decade or so?
Has anyone had this happen to them, liking a perfume better after it has aged a while? I honestly couldn't believe my nose.