Zany 
Avon (1979)

Average Rating:  5 User Reviews

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There are 5 reviews of Zany by Avon.


Avon Zany (1979) is a fragrance from right around the period where Avon was peaking as a mainstream perfume juggernaut in the US and expanding globally, starting to diversify further into cosmetics, and acquiring other businesses to build their empire into higher market tiers like the designer luxury world. As history would have it, most of these choices would be mistakes, and like Sears, Avon Products would pay dearly for straying away from what they were excellent at in subsequent years for attempting to put their hands in everyone's cookie jar. For now however, we have a fragrance from a house at near-peak creativity, when good natural raw materials were still plentiful and economically feasible (real oakmoss and sandalwood hooray), but made to a budget and therefore kept relatively simple and wearable, as Avon was wont to do. Feminine market fragrances of the sixties through late seventies benefited even more from Avon's golden era than their masculines did, which is saying something because Avon went all-in on those when they discovered there was an untapped market after the blowout success of the original Avon for men (1949) line, since women's fragrances were already successful and had been for nearly a century by that point, meaning the R&D was already there rather than in development like their men's line.

For this reason, Zany comes across like you might expect, and is a perfume with a lot of traditional refinement packed into deceptively then-modern bottle with cheeky graphics. This was just before Avon really started trying to "keep up with the Joneses" by mimicking designer fragrance tropes with their feminine fragrances, although they had already to some degree been doing this with their men's scents of the time, since they wanted to play it safe and deliver things they know guys pretty much already liked. Not the case with their feminine fragrance selections, which had cultivated generations of customers and were a world unto themselves of classic perfumery interpreted and re-interpreted again and again throughout the decades with very little regard for trend or trope. Therefore, Zany is a powdery floral very much like something you'd expect Guerlain or Parfums D'Orsay to deliver at the turn of the 20th century. A sharp dry bergamot opening that quickly burns off into powdery mixtures of orange blossom, heliotrope, orris, and jasmine bring us in at first glance, reminding me of Etiquette Bleue by Parfums D'Orsay (1908) in particular, or the cologne version from a few years later. The base is sandalwood, patchouli, a bit of vanilla, and oakmoss, further accenting the powdery nature of the fragrance into the skin feel. Wear time is about 8 hours and sharp pangs of the scent can be detected throughout the wear.

Suggested use for something like this is pretty much at your discretion because they don't make stuff like this anymore in the mainstream, and you'll likely get called out for smelling "like a grandma" for wearing it. That said, Zany really isn't zany at all, unless they somehow thought making a prim powdery floral from the Victorian or Edwardian age was flippant and irreverent in comparison to what everyone else was doing, then maybe so. Like so many of the amazing-quality but unsung chypres and orientals Avon shoved onto the market in the 70's, Zany goes by unloved and sold for peanuts in the aftermarket, when designer specimens of similar vintage and quality can cost the price of a new laptop. Maybe some of this derision is the house image of being cheap derivative garbage, something they did to themselves in the late 80's through 90's when they thought it best to pork out their catalog with downmarket twists on designer fragrance DNA (some of those are interesting too) made on the quick and dirty. Maybe some of it is just the near-bucolic nature of the utter simplicity Avon used in their designs, something ironically lauded in today's niche realms where scents are either soliflores or strict subject exercises with maybe 6 notes total. Either way, if you like high-quality vintage-style powdery florals, it would be zany not to sample this scent. Thumbs up.
Mar 7, 2021


I found this at a thrift store. The ingredients / notes have surely aged. I find this hard to believe that this was marketed towards young girls. This stuff borders on a floral chypre. The top is quick. I got a blast of some sort of citrus. It was gone before I could figure out what it was. The middle notes smell of lilac, jasmine, and heliotrope. Leaving the middle I am greeted with an incense-y moss, with a cardamom feel. The base bounces back and forth with vanilla, patchouli, and sandalwood accords.

I'm sure this will wear even better after I put it an atomizer. Get those molecules bouncing around in the air, so to speak. Overall, I am very impressed with this old juice. I have a half an ounce of this cologne to enjoy. Well worth the one whole dollar I paid, for this.
Feb 3, 2018


Oh, how I remember that summer. I was going to be in the seventh grade. Our, Avon lady said she had something, for me. I was earning money. My mother was a great supporter, of me.
She, encouraged and was quite thrilled, herself for me! I bought the original classic bottle that stood on the edge. The bottom was flat and there was a small angle, that you tipped it on. It isn't the scent, though it was fine, it is what wore. It is just, as thrilling now to see it or find it. It's personal and our own memory and cool that we can see it and buy it, again.
Sep 16, 2017


I wore this in junior high and I loved it. It was more "sophisticated" than the Avon perfumes that came in figural bottles and were marketed to little girls. This one was aimed at teens, and came in a bright orange and pink box with New Wave graphics that captured the spirit of the late 70s-early 80s. Yet to me the fragrance reminds me of classic fragrances. I'm not sure what the notes are, but it smells like it has a synthetic musk or amber note that was common among legendary fragrances of the 40s or 50s. It's been discontinued for decades, so I've been scouring eBay to secure a few bottles for myself. It doesn't last very long, and I wonder if its because the fragrance has lost its potency over time. Zany takes me back to junior high school. Wearing it again is like being reunited with an old friend.
Dec 1, 2011


Well, it's unusual, all right: a syntheticky, ephemeral musky floral of the kind drugstores used to pitch to teenagers, but with _spearmint_ as its whole top story?? Not exactly awful, but definitely weird. :-)
Nov 6, 2011

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