Need help - wardrobe/display ideas for vintage collector

Kakihara

Super Member
Aug 3, 2005
Hi friends,


I am writing you without being sure where to put this new thread; if the administrator considers it appropriate to move it to another section then welcome...
I have a great friend who is a fan of perfumes and she has an impressive vintage collection... it has no end!; and note that some of them are pretty big bottles :oops:
I sometimes buy her a bottle, she is one of my favorite sellers.

If she was not married I would marry her only to live in the same house as all those pieces of history :ROFLMAO:

In any case, she has now bought a new house to have more space and she is very interested in some type of wardrobe or display to place the perfumes and make it look pretty; Obviously she does not want a display with lights as seen in boutiques or shops but something for a collector and a professional where perfumes can be stored in good conditions (low light, dry, etc) but that looks nice for visitors.

The truth is that I have no idea about it; I usually store my perfumes in Ikea wardrobes with doors or something like that.. but since here in Basenotes I know there are very reputable collectors, perhaps could you tell me a style or type of furniture appropriate for this type of collection? I would appreciate any comments, photos or links with ideas in this regard.

Many thanks!
 

Attachments

  • 904598520.jpg
    904598520.jpg
    204.8 KB · Views: 19
  • 581063085.jpg
    581063085.jpg
    208.8 KB · Views: 19
  • 1710469738.jpg
    1710469738.jpg
    216.7 KB · Views: 19
  • 2136941280.jpg
    2136941280.jpg
    229.6 KB · Views: 19
  • 515616641.jpg
    515616641.jpg
    159 KB · Views: 19
  • 2031887023.jpg
    2031887023.jpg
    235.6 KB · Views: 19

grayspoole

Basenotes Plus
Basenotes Plus
Feb 4, 2014
Hi Kakihara—

Your friend has a lovely vintage collection!

I am quite convinced that exposure to light, even natural light, oxidizes and degrades perfumes, so I keep my perfume bottles inside cabinets with drawers within a closet. I will display a bottle or two on my dresser for a short time if I am wearing it frequently.

Unfortunately, this does mean that I do not have the pleasure of viewing my collection as a whole in a display cabinet but I accept that.
 

hednic

Basenotes Institution
Oct 25, 2007
Any display that she is comfortable with in her home should work as long as it shields the fragrances from direct light and excessive heat.
 

Bonnette

Missing Oakmoss
Basenotes Plus
Jul 25, 2015
Hi Kakihara—

Your friend has a lovely vintage collection!

I am quite convinced that exposure to light, even natural light, oxidizes and degrades perfumes, so I keep my perfume bottles inside cabinets with drawers within a closet. I will display a bottle or two on my dresser for a short time if I am wearing it frequently.

Unfortunately, this does mean that I do not have the pleasure of viewing my collection as a whole in a display cabinet but I accept that.
This is my take on it, too. Vintage fragrances are already more susceptibe to environmental damage - especially from light - than their modern counterparts, and any situation in which they are on open display means they're also degrading more rapidly than they need to. So I keep all of mine closed up, and visually savor those beautiful bottles anew each time I open their cabinet.
 

PStoller

I’m not old, I’m vintage.
Basenotes Plus
Aug 1, 2019
Copied from Reddit user uwotmVIII:

A chemist/physicist’s thoughts on exposing fragrances to light and displaying bottles on shelves​

Recently I began looking into the best way to display fragrances, and exposure to light seemed to play a big role in how people choose to show off their collections. I read a lot of mixed responses; some people seemingly refused to expose their fragrances to a single photon, refusing to apply or store them anywhere besides the deepest depths of a cave (still in their boxes of course) where there is no natural or artificial light, and others had no problem displaying them proudly on a shelf, unboxed, in all of their glory (but out of direct sunlight). …

I decided to ask my physics professor (who has her PhD in physics and MS in chemistry) about her thoughts. Here’s the gist of what she said:

First of all, visible light is not the danger; UV light is.

Glass, by itself, filters out a good chunk of UV light, which consists of UVA, UVB, and UVC rays. UVC rays are filtered out almost entirely by the atmosphere, but UVA and UVB rays are what cause sunburns and skin damage (and of course, damage to our precious fragrances). Standard window glass blocks out nearly all UVB rays, but does little to block UVA rays - about still 75% get through. This, obviously, would not be ideal for a fragrance, even in its bottle with another layer of glass protecting it. Assuming the bottle is clear glass, about 56% of the UVA rays would make their way to the fragrance. Definitely not great, but I don’t think anyone here is displaying their fragrances right in front of a window.

However, add a shade to the window, and the remaining, more scattered/diffused sunlight loses even more of its energy, leaving it with hardly enough to penetrate a perfume bottle. On top of that, if you store the fragrances on a shelf further away from that scattered light, the UV rays become even weaker - far from strong enough to penetrate the perfume bottle in any significant number, and certainly with nowhere near the energy needed to affect the chemical bonds of the fragrance.

Finally, artificial lights simply pose no threat because their UV emissions are near-nonexistent, they generate virtually no heat (specifically LEDs), and visible light in your average house will not have enough energy to destroy the chemical bonds of a fragrance.

The conclusion: Displaying bottles on a shelf, out of direct sunlight, is completely safe, unless perhaps you’re planning on keeping your fragrances for several decades, in which case the minuscule number of UV rays that sneak their way into your bottle will add up so incredibly slowly you’ll probably be dead before they alter the fragrance in any perceptible way.
 

Bonnette

Missing Oakmoss
Basenotes Plus
Jul 25, 2015
The conclusion: Displaying bottles on a shelf, out of direct sunlight, is completely safe, unless perhaps you’re planning on keeping your fragrances for several decades, in which case the minuscule number of UV rays that sneak their way into your bottle will add up so incredibly slowly you’ll probably be dead before they alter the fragrance in any perceptible way.
But that's just it, I do plan to keep my fragrances for several decades...for their sake, and for future collectors. Until my demise, I want to maintain these treasures in their best condition. After I'm gone, maybe someone like me will come upon them at a yard or estate sale, or in an antique shop, and exclaim: "Holy cow, these are from 1940 and they still look and smell divine!"
 

PStoller

I’m not old, I’m vintage.
Basenotes Plus
Aug 1, 2019
But that's just it, I do plan to keep my fragrances for several decades...for their sake, and for future collectors.
As the conclusion concludes: “the minuscule number of UV rays that sneak their way into your bottle will add up so incredibly slowly you’ll probably be dead before they alter the fragrance in any perceptible way.” For the inheritors of your collection, it might be an issue. But if you block direct sunlight and use LEDs to illuminate your collection, they, too, should enjoy your fragrances mostly intact.

Aside from window treatments and careful placement and construction of your display case(s), consider UV-blocking glass panes for your windows. It’s better for you, anyway.
 

PStoller

I’m not old, I’m vintage.
Basenotes Plus
Aug 1, 2019
That is precisely the point (hence my quoting the article's conclusion in my first post).
I understand that, which is why I quoted and directly addressed your concern. The larger point is that preventing UV exposure isn’t terribly difficult, so long as one doesn’t have an overriding aesthetic fixation on displaying fragrances in a sunny room.

Fragrances die in shop windows and on owners’ windowsills, but with more reasonable care they will last for generations. I have wonderful-smelling fragrances from decades past that probably weren’t looked after with nearly the care you do and will bestow upon your bottles. Sure, it would be best to adhere to Osmotheque (or Hednic) standards of storage, but for those of us without those resources, we can be more pragmatic and still do a fine job of preserving our “companion fragrances.”
 

Kakihara

Super Member
Aug 3, 2005
Thanks for your help. 🙏

You have made the situation clear: if a perfume is stored in extreme conditions (exposed to sunlight, high temperatures, humid environment) it is very likely that its life will be shortened.
In radically opposite conditions, avoiding all sunlight, in a fresh, dry place and storing them in their boxes (if possible) and inside drawers for example, it would be the best way to preserve them for many decades.

And so to speak, on average, if you want to have a little more "eye-catching" and show off some bottles, it would not be extremely negative to have them visible under the conditions mentioned above and with low-impact artificial lighting (not very strong and from an LED source if possible). Also (and this is added by me) a good option would be to arrange the fragrances in cabinets with glass doors; thus they would be safer from any undesirable air stream or from the adventurous hands of children, but they could be seen with the naked eye.
 

Bonnette

Missing Oakmoss
Basenotes Plus
Jul 25, 2015
Also (and this is added by me) a good option would be to arrange the fragrances in cabinets with glass doors; thus they would be safer from any undesirable air stream or from the adventurous hands of children, but they could be seen with the naked eye.
You can buy anti-UV protective materials to apply to glass cabinet doors, or cabinets with UV-resistant glass. I haven't used any of those products, but many members here like them.
 

MouseyBlue

Basenotes Member
Jun 4, 2021
Does your friend collect Dummies or Factice bottles..?
Just a thought, as Display is precisely what they're for.
They can keep their precious perfumes, safely, as you have suggested.
Gorgeous collection, btw.
 

Latest News

Top