Elizabeth Arden was also the importer of the ultra exclusive French Babani perfumes.
The Babani company has very obscure beginnings but is believed to have been established around 1895 when Vitaldi Babani acquired an existing shop that specialized in goods imported from China and Japan. He then opened other shops and around 1900, V. Babani diversified with daring fashions and sumptuous Liberty of London fabrics. Then in 1906, he created a style inspired by the Far East, called "Le Niu-Tse".
Babani was also influenced by the Ballets Russes and introduced oriental and Arabian fashions, made exquisite by the usage of gold embroidery and ornate patterning. He also introduced the "Sphinxia", a special sewing machine manufactured expressly for gold chain stitch embroidery.
In 1919, his son, Maurice Babani became the second Paris couturier to introduce perfumes. These perfumes featured luxurious presentations of the highest calibre. In 1920, S. Babani was also a prestigious importer of Oriental wares.
The exquisite perfume bottles were sold in the Elizabeth Arden salons on behalf of Babani Paris. The clear glass bottles had rich gold and black finishes and generally had Oriental themes. The bottles were produced by Maurice Depinoix. Babani expressed his gratitude in creating a fragrance called Mon Amie Elizabeth.
"Babani Perfumes introduced in America by Elizabeth Arden and chosen by her to accompany her Venetian Toilet Preparations everywhere. The famous Babani perfumes of Elizabeth Arden each in itself a masterpiece of fragrance, can be blended to create a new per fume- of intangible delice - of elusive loveliness - unique - your own! The Toiletries Department will be helpful as to the requisite proportions for your blend."
- Ambre de Delhi: mystery, enchantment
- Ming: elfin, playful sweetness
- Ligeia: romantic, luxurious
- Afghani: colorful, riotous, untamed
- Jasmin de Coree: provocative, a challenge
To help market his perfumes, he relied on the mysterious East as the inspiration for his most famous tagline from 1920 "Parfums inconnus d'Orient et d'Extrême-Orient" ( roughly it means the Unknown perfumes of the Orient and Far-East). Looking at advertisements it seems he dropped the "unknown" part by 1923.
An original 1925 advertisement for Elizabeth Arden states :
"Elizabeth Arden has introduced to America the fashion for combining two or three Babani perfumes to accent your varying charms. Blend two or more Babani perfumes to create a personal perfume formula, a new fragrance which no one can identify or imitate, that will emphasize your interesting complexity, will seem to vary as your charming moods, and yet be essentially you. All Babani perfumes will combine in fragrant harmonies. Elizabeth Arden suggests that you blend Babani's Ambre de Delhi with Ligeia. Or Babani's Chypre with Sousouki. Or create a blended perfume quite your own.The perfumes of Babani are imported by Elizabeth Arden in just the lovely bottles and boxes in which they are sealed in Paris."
Kansas City Star, 1925:
"Babani Perfumes are the choice of the smartest women of continental society. And the choice of every woman for her Christmas gift. These fragrances lend themselves so well to the European manner of using perfume — of blending two or more perfumes to suit your mood and costume. Elizabeth Arden has chosen these perfumes as worthy of a place among her exquisite Venetian Toilet Preparations.
- Ambre de Delhi, parfum Hindu. $2.75-17.00.
- Afghani, essence of the far East, $2.75-$7.00.
- Ligeia, of orchid sweetness, $2.75-$7.00.
- Ming, breath of Old China, $2.75-$6.50.
- Yasmak, parfum Syrien, $2.76-$7.00.
- Saigon, flower of the Orient, $2.75-$7.00.
- Jasmin de Coree, a provocative odor, $2.75-$6.50.
- Sousouki, of the delicateness of sachet, $2.75-$6.50.
- Rose Gullistan, perfume of Persia, $2.75-$6.50.
Toilet Water, of the same exquisite odors of Babani’s Perfumes, but of a delicate lightness. But far from being characterless— these Toilet Waters are as warm and vivid as fragrant flowers under the noonday sun. Each odor comes in an attractive bottle, at $4.50 each. "
In 1927, Babani changed the styles of his perfume bottles according to a newspaper advertisement. (shown in the ad below are the old styles)
"Babani of Paris is changing the styles of his perfume bottles. And so K & B is notified to sell all the present styles at close to half price. Odors include Ambre de Delhi, Afghani, Sousouki, Ligeia, Fleurs d'Annam, Yasmak, Chypre Egyptienne, Ming, Jasmin de Coree, and Rose Gullistan. Blend two or more in fragrant harmony in the manner sponsored by Elizabeth Arden to create a secret formula of your own."
A 1937 article in Le Figaro reads:
Au moment où reviennent les fêtes charmantes du Jour de l'An, où maint cerveau se taquine pour trouver un cadeau élégant, le parfum semble réunir les qualitiés, nècessaires à perpétuer çette jolie tradition. J’ai été voir Maurice Babani, chef des odeurs suaves, si j’ose emprunter çette expression au délicat robert de montesquiou. Déjà nous connaissions son, Ambre - fameuse, son gardenia - son Ming, et son Jasmin. Fidèles amis de la femme élégante, ils l’annoncent, ils l’escortent, ils la suivent d’un sillage embaumé; les plus misanthropes se retournent sur son passage, humant l’air et souriant aux nues.
Mais nous devons féliciter Babani sur les nouveau-nés: Pao Pé - qui console des voyages en lointain, pays que l'on ne fera jamais, et Mon Amie Elisabeth, dont le doux arome personnifie sans soute la compagne idéale de ces dits voyages..Rêve- sur -Rêve, telle est la ville lontain, parfumée, étrange, capricieuse où vous conduisent les senteurs de Pao Pé et de Mon Amie élisabeth.
Revenons à nos cadeaux. Maurice Babani et un maitre dans l’Art de la présentation. Ses flacons sont taillés avec un goût parfait: leur ligne est simple, plaisante: les grands flacons de luxe ont vraiment ce qu’il convient d’appeler- de la classe - Ils reposent dans leurs écrins capitonnés de satin. Un parfum de Babani flatte les cinq sens: l’odorat, la vue, le toucher. Mais, me direz-vous, et le gout? Un flacon de babani n’est-il pas d’un goût parfait? Et l’ouïe? Vaporisez-vous, madame, avec -Pao Pé-ou -Mon Amie élisabeth- et vos oreilles recueilleront les propos les plus flatteurs.
Bientôt vous aurez la surprise d’un nouveau parfum que prépare Maurice Babani: un parfum d’Orient et de reine dont il a déchiffré le language secret sur quelque vieux parchemin.
I translated the French text into English:
"When the charming New Year's Day festival arrive, many brain's are teased for a stylish return gift, the scent seems to combine the qualities necessary to perpetuate this beautiful tradition. I went to see Maurice Babani, the master of sweet perfumes, if I may borrow this delicate expression from Robert de Montesquiou. Already we know his famous Ambre, his Gardenia, Ming and Jasmin. These are true friends of the elegant woman, they announce her presence, with a perfumed trail following her. The most misanthropic turn around in it's path, sniffing the air and smiling to the skies.
But we must congratulate Babani on his newborns: Pao Pé - which console us on the trips to distant countries which we might never take - and Mon Amie Elisabeth, whose sweet aroma personifies the ideal companion when we cannot travel. Rêve-sur-Rêve, this is the distant echo of the strange, capricious and fragrant city, that leads you to the scents of Pao Pé and Mon Amie Elisabeth.
Getting back to our gifts. Maurice Babani is also the master in the art of presentation. His bottles are cut with perfect taste: their lines are simple, pleasant: the large luxury bottles are the definition of high class. They sit in their padded satin caskets.
Babani's perfumes flatter the five senses: smell, sight, touch. But, you might say, and taste? A bottle from Babani, is it not perfect taste? And hearing? Spray yourself, madam, with Pao-Pé-or-Mon Amie Elisabeth and your ears will collect the most flattering remarks.
Soon you will be surprised with a new perfume that Maurice Babani is preparing: an oriental queen's perfume deciphered from the secret language on some old parchment."
D&CI, Volume 40, 1937:
"Babani recently opened a distributing office located at 521 Fifth Avenue, New York."
D&CI, Volume 42, 1938:
"Babani: "Ming" is one of the delightful odors of the newly packaged de luxe line of Babani perfumes, which is being introduced in the United States by Maurice Babani."
The Babani fragrance list:
- 1919 Ambre de Delhi (Parfum de Hindou)
- 1919 Afghani
- 1919 Jasmin de Coree
- 1919 Chypre Egyptien
- 1919 Yasmak (Parfum Syrien)
- 1920 Saigon (Parfum Chinois)
- 1920 Shogum (Parfum Japonais)
- 1920 Giardini
- c1920 Nuit de Bosphore
- 1920 Chinoise
- 1920 Secret de Babani
- 1920 Hindou
- 1920 Ligéia (Parfum de Manille)
- 1920 Oeillet du Japon (Parfum Japonais)
- 1920 Ming (Parfum Chinois)
- 1920 Parfum Persian
- 1920 Narcisse d'Or
- 1920 Muguet
- 1921 Daimo (Parfum Japonais)
- 1921 Fleurs d'Annan (Parfum d'Annamite)
- 1921 Sousouki
- 1922 Pao-Pe
- 1924 Rose Gullistan (Parfum Persiane)
- 1925 Blend
- 1925 Écaille Blonde
- 1925 Nandita
- 1926 Chypre
- 1926 Abdulla
- 1926 Extrait d'Ambre Gris
- 1928 Just a Dash
- 1928 Soleil Blonde
- 1930 Gardenia
- 1930 Japonais
- 1930 Pin Fleur
- 1930 Gullistan
- 1938 Secret Princesse Nefertiti
- 1940 Tombak
- 1942 Elusive
- 1943 Echo of the Desert