Revealed: 12 Vintage Perfumes Set For a Comeback

Some fragrances never go out of style. Once a fragrance achieves that iconic vintage perfume status shared between generations, the chances are that it’ll remain a fashion favourite forever.  

What makes a perfume truly vintage and which designer brands have stood the test of time to achieve this status? Here we’re going to look back in time at our favourite vintage perfumes, from Old Spice and Guerlain to the ‘new vintage’ scents like CK One. 


  1. What are vintage perfumes?
  2. A century of famous vintage perfumes and fragrances
  3. Fragrances at Beauty Base

What are vintage perfumes?

A selection of vintage perfume bottles

Vintage perfumes were beloved by thousands in their heyday, and new generations are discovering them now thanks to the internet. 

You’ll notice something truly unique about the packaging of retro fragrances. Fragrances were seen as a real luxury that very few people could afford, so this had to be represented in everything from the scent to the bottle it comes in. 

Vintage fragrances often boast extremely detailed bottles, and the packaging was incredibly opulent. Now, fashion houses favour a minimalist look, but their older scents will still use the same design motifs on the packaging that they’ve become known for. 

A century of famous vintage perfumes and fragrances

Here are our 12 staple scents and designer fragrances that fashion will never forget!

1930s Perfumes

The 1930s was a decade that had some real highs and lows. It’s a moment in time, both post-WWI and pre-WW2. Fragrances from this period were strong, musky, and used sparingly on pulse points. 

 For men, Old Spice reigned supreme during the 30s. Shulton’s Old Spice was created in 1933, and its legacy has endured. Millennials, you’d be forgiven for thinking this was one for older men only. 

However, for gen z, Old Spice is making a huge comeback thanks to its’ tongue-in-cheek viral rebranding with video clips poking fun of masculinity and strength with irreverence. 

For women, Guerlain will always be the ultimate symbol of luxury. The fashion house began in the 1800s, but it became known as an iconic perfume brand during this decade thanks to its stunning bottles. 

1950s Perfumes

Wartime made the production and circulation of luxury products such as perfume difficult. In the 1950s, that fragrance saw enough of a boom to identify the most popular scents from the era. 

Glass perfume bottle with pink background

Two, in particular, stand out from perfumiers still producing new fragrances today, Nina Ricci and Estee Lauder. Nina Ricci’s L’Air Du Temps fragrance became a staple on every woman’s dressing table. In contrast, Estee Lauder’s Youth Dew bath lotion was released in 1953 with great success, but now, the label is synonymous only with the Youth Dew perfume. 

1960s Perfumes

The 1960s saw the arrival of Brut. Worn by men everywhere at the time, Brut is an overwhelmingly 1960s scent that you’ll either love or hate to reminisce over in these modern times. Developed by Karl Mann for Faberge, Brut has branched out to include furthermore personal care items like aftershave, beard balms, and deodorant. While Old Spice has hints of tonka bean and orange, Brut has that fresh, clean smell with a scent similar to talcum powder for a clean feel.  

Givency L'Interdit women's fragrance

The 60s also gave birth to one of Givenchy’s most daring scents, L’Interdit. This particular scent was specially designed for Audrey Hepburn. The actress had enjoyed a long partnership with the brand when Hubert De Givenchy designed costumes for her film, Sabrina, in 1954. Their partnership continued in fragrance and film with the arrival of the iconic Breakfast At Tiffany’s in 1961.

1970s Perfumes

The 1970s was a booming decade for fragrances. This decade was particularly kind to Yves Saint Laurent, who produced three perfumes that would go on to line the dressing tables of many for years to come. 

YSL women's fragrance with makeup on a counter

Yves Saint Laurent caused a sensation when he released his Opium fragrance in 1977 as critics decried that he was ‘condoning’ the use of drugs. The scandal only boosted sales at the time despite boycotts. Years later, we’re still addicted to YSL’s Opium fragrance, and in the 90s, it caused another controversy by featuring model Sophie Dahl nude in advertisements. 

Other notable perfumes from the era include Revlon’s Charlie, who would continue to be popular with young women in perfume and body spray form throughout the 90s. Named after the founder of Revlon, Charles Revson, Charlie originally launched in 1973 to great success. It comes in many different variations, including Charlie Red, Blue, Gold, Silver, White, White Musk, Black, and even Sunshine editions. Today, it’s still often gifted or recommended as a ‘first perfume’ to young teenagers. 

1980s Perfumes

The 1980s was a time when nothing was too much in the style stakes. Yves Saint Laurent continued their success of the 70s well into the decade, while designers such as Calvin Klein made their big splash on the fragrance scene. 

Vintage perfumes in ornate glass bottles

In the 1980s, perfumes became increasingly commercial instead of luxury items. Fragrances entered chemists and supermarkets among personal care items. Scents were suddenly no longer relegated to just designer boutiques and department stores. 

This evolution gave way to smaller names such as Pierre Cardin and the boutique Giorgio Beverly Hills, who started to break into the world of fragrance.

1990s Perfumes

By the 1990s, many perfumes began to be replaced with fast fragrances and body sprays, but designer perfumes still reigned supreme. 

Calvin Klein and Tommy Hilfiger emerged from this era to bridge the gap between high fashion and readily available scents.

An opaque perfume bottle

The two brands are still known for their casual wear and advertisements, with Kate Moss still being synonymous with CK One. This was also when unisex fashion became mainstream as casual jeans and t-shirts entered a genderfluid landscape. Fragrances followed suit with Calvin Klein’s own CK Be and CK one.

Fragrances at Beauty Base

Find your new favourite fragrances and the vintage perfumes you’ve dreamed of wearing at Beauty Base. Shop our collections of perfumes for her and scents for him now, then discover more cosmetics online now.

Comments are closed here.