Thursday, November 11, 2021

La poudre de beauté et ses écrins, Bibliothèque Forney


In September we saw a version of this exhibit at the Musée International de la Parfumerie (MIP) in Grasse , so I was eager to see the Paris version that just opened Tuesday(free). 

I was not disappointed. Its far more extensive and detailed. 

Bibliotech Forney is noted for its extensive collection of historic French graphics.

Who hasn’t played with their mum’s dressing table collection of secret treasures? I broke a little china swan from my mother’s dressing table. I buried it in the yard but was still found out and punished. Later I realized it was from the 5 and 10😬

Period dressing tables are included in the exhibit with accompanying dresses of the period. 

I wish there had been more period photos and videos. like this one from Roger Viollet. 

And don’t forget the Eiffel Tower was very much part of the Belle Epoch.

One thing for sure. The descriptive labels at Forney Library in English are superb, legible and informative. This is a rarity in Paris museum exhibits sadly 😬

20’s posters for cosmetic face powders are simply stunning.

A wonderful Youtube video to bring them to life with images.

Lovers of history and beauty will be enthralled with
 Anne de Thoisy Dallem's personal collection of 2,500 powder boxes, compacts and cases. 

These adorable ceramic covers for powder boxes are like English tea cosys…

Its easy to see why Josephine Baker was such a hottie back in the day in this 20’s video

Interesting how cosmetic accessories like powder puffs and compacts and lipstick cases were a part of the act of flirtation in everyday life. Hey Holly Golightly got $50 to go to the powder room…but that’s another story. 

Altogether a fascinating exhibition, like all of Forney’s exhibits. It is on till 29 January, 2022 👏👏👏

Paris, as always in November, is beginning to think about Noël/ Christmas. Thanks to A.’s suggestion, I have a personalized gift certificate letter for a letter subscription, (or maps or..) you can order early and put under the tree 🌲  or bush or whatever. Yay !
🤸‍♂️🤸‍♂️🤸‍♂️🐻 Bonne Jeudi❤️


  1. Such a treat to see this wonderful exhibit.😍

  2. These boxes are so pretty. They would be great fun to collect. I am old enough to remember always purchasing scented powder that matched my perfume. Was it Fragonard, Guerlain?, that sold delectable swan’s down feather powder puffs…I wonder if they still do?? Love your holiday gift certificates!

  3. Maria T12:22 PM

    This reminds me of the powder that Mom used and we bought or Dad did for her for Christmas or birthdays - Le Muguet - Lily of the Valley. I loved that scent. And the powder puff!

  4. Bonnie, Caron still has those puffy puffs!

  5. I so enjoyed reading this post. I have fond memories of spending Sunday afternoons at my maternal grandmother's. She had a powder puff container of Chanel No. 5 in her bathroom and would let us poof ourselves with it. Then she'd paint our fingernails. Priceless memories.

  6. Fascinating exhibit and brought back some great memories of perfumes and powder puffs. I have my grandmothers dressing table but it no longer contains all the exotic things she had in it. Thanks for sharing this one, Carol.

  7. I so enjoyed this trip into a forgotten part of my young life. My Mother always used Coty powder in that signature box. My sister had a beautiful amber glass powder jar with a deer lid. She kept her Bobby pins in it.
    Makeup is so different now.
    I try not to use anything that settles into wrinkles.

  8. Wonderful memories DK!
    That Coty box was a beautiful game changer.

  9. CindyS1:21 PM

    Love the story about the swan! I was once so afraid of getting in trouble I put all my ironed cotton dresses in a doll trunk. I was planning to run away from home before I got caught. Tramatic!

  10. Wonderful story too CindyS.
    I guess we all got up to mischief while pretending to be grownups.
    More fun playing pretend imho…

  11. Jane Gabon1:26 PM

    Ooh, merci pour cette!

  12. These powder containers remind me of the fabulous Fragonard museum we went to by Canne. (Cannot remember the name of that town!)

  13. GRASSE! Its in the first sentence non? Gotta check.
    HQ Perfume Central for the world entire!!😊


Love hearing from you