Objet D’Art

A bottle of perfume isn’t only an olfactory experience – it can be a work of art in itself. Here are some design classics.

PERFUME was traditionally an exclusive affair, concocted from rare ingredients and designed to make society’s wealthier citizens smell better than its less fortunate ones. Even during the 19th century, when our modern conception of perfume was ushered in courtesy of more advanced refining techniques, it was an expensive process, out of reach of the hoi polloi. Fragrances were stored in heavy-duty glass medicine bottles; the kind now being re-claimed by Tom Ford in his fragrance line. It wasn’t until after the second world war that production ramped up and it became common for the middle classes to add perfume to their list of daily ablutions. Now everyone from Bruce Willis to Nicki Minaj have their own fragrance lines, the latter with a terrifying bust of her head on the bottle.

To stand out from the crowd, fragrance manufacturers are striving to make the bottles works of art in themselves; whether they are designed by famous artists, inspired by renaissance sculpture or covered in Swarovski crystals. Here are three of the best.