The History Buff
What Sparked Her Obsession: “In 2009, when I was blogging and staring at a screen from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m., perfume connected me to my body and my senses at a time when I felt disconnected from the world,” she recalls. “Baghari by Robert Piguet was my gateway drug, and eBay was my primary pusher. Vintage perfume became my passion because I knew these scents would eventually become extinct. The desire to smell something that could literally evaporate became an urgent need.”
In Her Collection: “I’m especially obsessed with fragrances from the 1930s and 1940s, because they’re some of the boldest and most wildly original of 20th-century perfumes,” she says. “Some include ingredients that are now rarely used (for good reason), like civet, musk, castoreum, and ambergris, all of which derive from or near animals’ sexual glands.” Herman also says that she adds scents to her collection because of their power to transport: “Anything by Germaine Cellier makes me feel dreamy. Her fragrance Vent Vert by Pierre Balmain puts me in a better mood. And an ’80s sex bomb perfume like Christian Dior’s original Poison makes me feel glamorous. Looking at my fragrances grouped together, I see them as magical artifacts from the past. Even though some notes have dissipated, I can open something from 1935 and feel like I’m time traveling.”
This article appears in the May 2022 issue of ELLE.