What images come to mind when you think Hollywood's golden age? Surely, it has to be the timeless classics, such as Cary Grant and Deborah Kerr's everlasting love in An Affair To Remember, David Niven as the pilot on an ethereal winding staircase to heaven in A Matter Of Life And Death, or Ava Gardner (bold and beautiful) in her safari suit in Mogambo.
The 30s, 40s and 50s were an era of glamour, sophistication and elegance, of turn-ups and pipe tobacco mixed with an afternoon sip of vermouth, a squeeze of lemon and cologne.
The rise of cologne
Cologne was the scent of choice for the free-spirited 30s screen siren. The modern emancipated woman, passionate and charismatic, wore not flowers, but a fresh "unisex" cologne. And they all chose Colonia by Acqua di Parma: each star, spellbound by its captivating scent, professed to wear it.
Created in the early 1900s in Parma, Italy, Acqua di Parma burst on to the scene like a breath of fresh air, with its Mediterranean essences of citrus fruits. At the time, most popular male colognes, such as 4711, originated from Germany and tended to be stronger and more complex in composition.
Suddenly, here was a scent that everyone who was anyone could and would wear. Three decades of euphoria swiftly established Acqua di Parma as the elusive must-have perfume of the stars.
An Italian passion
The 1960s brought a change. Although Acqua di Parma was still regarded as a cult product of irreproachable quality, other new fashionable perfumes became de rigueur. Still, Acqua di Parma's discreet style made it the best-kept secret of traditionalists.
Over the years, the fragrance house has passed through the hands of many passionate owners, each determined to safeguard the heritage of this true classic, and, in the 90s, it was bought by luxury group LVMH.
Acqua di Parma now
Today, the company continues to grow, while staying true to its roots. The Blu Mediterraneo collection, now ten years old, evokes warm air on a summer's evening by the sea. This year saw the launch of the new Bergamotto di Calabria fragrance (in May) and of a limited-edition bottle of Iris Nobile eau de parfum, a rich and timeless floral bouquet (in June).
New fragrances may emerge, but the business has always been kept in Parma, and every essence is still distilled by hand at the Italian laboratories where the secret formulas are handed down from one generation of perfumer to the next. Every bottle is exquisitely hand-wrought, using only the best and most exclusive ingredients, and with the same unfailing attention to detail that distinguished it in the past.
Inimitable in its line of exclusive natural products and exquisite aromas, Acqua di Parma continues to be one of the world's most iconic brands - a true signature of style that never ages and never loses its allure.
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