Smells like the Daughters of the Revolutions

"In the USSR, there was one floral scent which could be called the scent of success: the scent of Krasnaya Moskva - "Red Moscow," the perfume favored by the Kremlin wives and the country's lucrative Communist party elite. Let's take a whiff of its flowery past.

Packaged in a distinctive crystal bottle with the Kremlin-shaped cap, the floral Krasnaya Moskva perfume was first introduced at an exhibition in 1923, in Paris, and became a hit. The St. Petersburg-based plant Novaya Zarya had to create a multi-year waiting list for its export schedule to meet growing demand from abroad. In Soviet Russia, the perfume became a symbol of success and a hard currency of sorts — a small bottle was used to thank a doctor for a complicated surgery or a city official for granting a free apartment. Young men were expected to bring Krasnaya Moskva when meeting their girlfriends' mothers for the first time, that is if they hoped for a favorable outcome.

A small circle of high-ranking female Communist party officials also preferred Krasnaya Moskva over the famous French fragrancies, claiming that the Soviet-made perfume was better and represented a clear victory of socialist scientists and producers over their capitalist rivals. They would have been surprised to learn that before the Revolution, the proletarian scent of Krasnya Moskva was called the Bouquet of the Empress. The fragrance was developed as a gift to Empress Alexandra Feodorovna, Nicholas The Second's wife, by Henri Brokar, the French-American perfumer who established in Russia in the 19th century. In 1917, Bokar's plant was expropriated and converted into the soap-making factory and the fragrance went to the masses. It stayed popular until the 1950s, when the iron curtain was lifted enough for Channel N°5 aroma to slip in.

Red Moscow perfume had a renaissance as the "people's perfume" in the 70s, when, due to the planned economy's miscalculations, it was priced so cheaply that it attracted the country's alcoholics: it was cheaper and easier to buy two bottles of Krasnaya Moskva than one bottle of brandy (the liquids contained similar amounts of alcohol). There was at least a brief period in Soviet history when Russia's most determined alcoholics smelled like elegant flowers."

Source : Read Russia

No comments:

Post a Comment