By  on October 18, 2006

Three years after the original Annette Green Perfume Museum closed in New York, its collection of nearly 2,000 perfume bottles came out of hiding last week 3,000 miles away at a new home in the Fashion Institute of Design & Mer­chandising in downtown Los Angeles.

Robert Nelson, director of FIDM's museum and galleries, maintains the school now boasts the country's only perfume museum. The collection spans more than a century and includes perfume bottles from more than 165 international fragrance houses ranging from the unusual, like an antique De Vigny perfume called Le Golliwogg, to the most well known: Chanel, Lanvin, Ralph Lauren, Estée Lauder and Dolce & Gabbana.

"Of all the colleges and universities, the Fashion Institute was chosen — I still can't get my head around that mentally,"; said Nelson. "It just has been a wonderful gift to the [Beauty Industry Merchandising and Marketing] program and to our students at the college.";

The museum, named for the president emeritus of the Fragrance Foundation, was first opened at the Foundation's Manhattan offices in 1999. But the ninth-floor location was problematic, according to Green, because it was virtually inaccessible to the public. Instead, she wanted the museum to be approachable, especially to students studying the beauty industry. "One thing led to another and here it is,"; she said. "It was a dream of mine to have a museum. My goal was to elevate the subjects.";

For the curtain-raising, the bottle collection is being featured in two exhibits. "Fashion Makes Scents"; is a temporary exhibit that runs until Dec. 2 at FIDM's 10,000-square-foot ground-floor museum and mixes 300 bottles with garments, shoes and jewelry from the school's in-house stock of 10,000 fashion pieces. On FIDM's second floor, a smaller permanent space houses 165 bottles.

The temporary exhibit streams through several rooms, each of which was assigned to a different curator, who chose fashions and perfume bottles to represent the stylistic themes Art Nouveau, Orientalism, Streamline Moderne, Space Age and Sportif.

At the permanent installation, whose pieces will be rotated, Nelson said items were carefully selected for their age, shape, historical import, packaging and uniqueness. A standout piece is a Helena Rubinstein bottle from 1940 sculpted to look like an opera singer decked out in feathers.

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