50 most popular vintage perfumes from the ’80s

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Most popular vintage perfumes from the '80s

Note: This article may feature affiliate links to Amazon or other companies, and purchases made via these links may earn us a small commission at no additional cost to you. Find out more here.

Take a scented stroll down memory lane with this look back at some of the most popular vintage perfumes from the ’80s!

From the expensive designer fragrances to the budget-friendly drugstore options, we have a few dozen classic brands here. (Are we missing your favorite? Let us know in the comments!)

Vintage perfumes from the ’80s: Designer perfumes smelling like a rose

Excerpted from an article by K Marcum – The Record (Hackensack, New Jersey) May 1, 1983

Giorgio Armani. Yves Saint Laurent. Oscar de la Renta. Names that shake women’s fashions every year are causing ripples in the fragrance industry.

Of the 500 fragrances currently on the market, one in 10 bears the name of a designer, according to the Fragrance Foundation, an industry trade association. However, many retailers report that as much as one-third of their fragrance stocks mirror the names found on ready-to-wear labels.

“Whenever you’re dealing with an intangible product like perfume, it helps to create a visual concept of it for the consumer,” says Annette Green, executive director of the Fragrance Foundation.

“With designer fragrances, the visual keys are the designer’s clothes. Even if a woman can’t afford the clothes, she can at least splash on the fragrance.”

YSL Paris perfume 1989

That makes selecting a fragrance gift especially easy for Mother’s Day, a prime holiday for perfume counters. All the harried gift-giver has to do is keep his eyes open for clues.

In other words, if a woman likes Oscar de la Renta’s feminine confections, you’re safe going for his romantic, floral scent.

If, on the other hand, she leans toward the simple, architectural lines of Italy’s Armani, you’re better off selecting his equally clean, namesake fragrance.

Women who like to wow an audience wearing dramatic Yves Saint Laurent garb will respond favorably to his Oriental-inspired Opium.

Of the top 10 selling fragrances nationally, more than half are from designers — Lauren, Vanderbilt, Halston, Chloe, Chanel No. 5, Oscar, and Opium (from Saint Laurent).

Challenging these established designer fragrances are recent entries such as Armani, Missoni, and Krizia, according to the Fragrance Foundation.

A strong whiff after World War II

Although designer fragrances have made a dramatic impact on the industry during the past 10 years, they are nothing new. Coco Chanel introduced her top-selling Chanel No. 5 in 1924.

Chanel 1980 - Perfume

Americans didn’t get their first strong whiff of fragrance fever until after World War II when returning servicemen brought perfume home to their sweethearts. That put the United States on the road to becoming the world’s largest fragrance consumer.

Vintage perfumes from the ’80s by American designers

An American designer fragrance was still several years in the offing. It wasn’t until 1968 that Norman Norell created his namesake scent and launched the designer fragrance invasion on this side of the Atlantic. Since then, the market has grown by leaps and bounds.

“There are very few designers — at least American designers — who haven’t come out with a fragrance,” says Greene. “Designer fragrances seem to have outlived many of the other things designers have licensed.”

Besides having a nose for what sells, American designers also have the know-how for turning smells into scintillating big business.

They have increased the standard fragrance offerings of perfume, eau de toilette, and cologne to include a whole range of body-fragrance products, such as perfumed lotions, bath soaps, powders and after-bath splashes.

The next fragrance phase may well be created by artists. French sculptor Niki de Saint Phalle recently painted her personal concoction into the perfume picture. A scent from Paloma Picasso, jewelry designer and daughter of artist Pablo Picasso, also is rumored to be near completion.

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Niki de Saint Phalle perfume vintage 1984

Even special stores have gotten into the aromatic act. Neiman-Marcus, for example, created its personal Volage scent 2-1/2 years ago. More recently, Sakowitz president Robert T. Sakowitz came up with Night Breeze.

Regardless of which type of scent you select, there is a right and a wrong way to narrow the field. Never smell straight from the bottle be-cause all you’ll get is the overpowering aroma of alcohol. Make sure to try no more than three at a time on your wrist so they don’t mix together and blend into one.

The fragrance industry talks about scents in terms of a 1-2-3 punch, and experiencing all three levels is essential to selecting the proper fragrance.

Level 1 is the top note or the immediate impression you get when the bottle is opened. Next comes the heart, or the middle note, which is only revealed 10 to 15 minutes after application. This is the real, central smell that should last about three to four hours.

The final smell is the base note, the level that gives warmth and permanence to the fragrance.

Once you’ve determined the scent, it’s time to consider the strength you want. Perfume is by far the strongest — and most expensive — followed by eau de toilette (toilet water), cologne, and, finally, splash.

Also take into consideration that layering whatever scent you select makes the fragrance more economical. Bathing and moisturizing with fragrance-scented products reinforces the perfume you finally apply, and allows you to use less of it.

Calvin Klein Obsession (1980s)

Calvin Klein Obsession perfume

Oscar de la Renta (1980s)

Experience the power of femininity

Vintage 1980s Oscar de la Renta fragrance ad

Chloe — Parfums Lagerfeld (1987)

Chloe - Parfums Lagerfeld - 1987

Giorgio Beverly Hills fragrance collection (1988)

Live the life more fully.

Giorgio Beverly Hills fragrance collection - 1988

Chanel No. 5 perfume (1983)

Chanel No 5 perfume - 1983

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Jean Patou – Joy de Bain perfume (1988)

Jean Patou - Joy de Bain perfume 1988

Vintage perfumes from the ’80s: Givenchy Ysatis (1988)

Givenchy Ysatis fragrance - 1988

Yves Saint Laurent Opium perfume (1988)

Opium: A fragrance as opulent and festive as the season.

Yves Saint Laurent Opium fragrance - 1988 (1)

Yves Saint Laurent Opium fragrance - 1988 (2)

Vintage Christian Dior Poison perfume: Poison is my potion. (1987)

Vintage Poison perfume - 1987

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Yves St Laurent Rive Gauche (1980s)

80s YSL Yves St Laurent Rive Gauche perfume

Lancome Magie Noire parfum (1983)

For this vintage perfume from the ’80s: Believe in magic.

Lancome Magie Noire parfum 1983

Coco parfum from Chanel (1986)

Coco Chanel parfum 1986

Yves Saint Laurent/YSL Paris perfume (1980s)

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Yves Saint Laurent Paris fragrance - 1980s

White Linen perfume from Estee Lauder (1989)

White Linen fragrance 1989

Jean Patou 1000: The essence of extravagance (1989)

How to define an exceptional perfume, by Jean Patou

The difference between an exceptional perfume and one that’s merely expensive, lies less in the nose of the beholder than it does in pedigree. It’s what goes into a creation, after all, that distinguishes what comes out.

The same is true of thoroughbred Arabians and perfect cheese souffles.

Nowhere is this principle more gloriously realized than in “1000” de Jean Patou. In this scent-strip world we live in, “1000” de Jean Patou remains aloof.

Exotic. Soignee. Redolent with rare flowers and precious fragrant oils. Nightblooming jasmine, rose centifolia, mysor santal and the rarest of the rare, Osmantbus from China. Osmanthus blooms for a short time each spring, and it can be found at a market in Canton.

More than seven million flowers are picked to produce a single kilogram of the jasmine essence used in “1000.” Little wonder this marvelous fragrance is known as the essence of extravagance.

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But wait, the luxury continues! just look at the gold-leafed flacon. Each is filled and sealed by hand. No two are quite the same.

The glass stoppers are ground to fit the neck of the individual bottle. (Baccarat uses a similar technique in the crafting of crystal decanters.)

The golden cord you find binding the neck is tied and knotted by hand. (Each knot identifies the woman who tied it — Marie’s half-hitch is distinct from Jacqueline’s square knot; Jacqueline’s square knot bears no resemblance to Jeanine’s bowline, and so on.)

“1000” de Jean Patou is a limited edition fragrance. The year’s harvest dictates the quantity produced. And as is the case with etchings and limited edition books, each bottle is registered and accompanied by a numbered card.

True, “1000” de Jean Patou won’t find its way to every dressing table. Elusiveness is part of its charm. But to those who secure this exceptional fragrance, a gentle word of warning:  An introduction spells certain addiction. For “1000” de Jean Patou is one in a million.

80s Jean Patou 1000 fragrance from 1989

Vintage perfumes from the ’80s: Alfred Sung (1989)

The essence of style. Eau de parfum.

Alfred Sung parfum 1989

Calvin Klein Eternity (1988/1989)

Ad features supermodel Christy Turlington

Calvin Klein Eternity fragrance - 1988

Calvin Klein Eternity - 1989

Vintage perfumes from the ’80s: Estee Lauder Knowing (1989)

Knowing is all.

Vintage Estee Lauder Knowing fragrance from 1989

Shalimar perfume — Guerlain (1987)

The most famous Guerlain introduces it’s parfum de toilette.

Vintage Shalimar perfume - Guerlain - 1987

Erno Laszlo fragrance Evere (1989)

Budapest 1930: Erno Laszlo. A man who knew women instinctively. What interests them and pleases them.

Evere — A sensuous tribute to Laszlo’s love of beauty, and to the beauty of love.

Erno Laszlo fragrance Evere 1980s 1989

Estee Lauder Cinnabar fragrance (1983)

Estee Lauder Cinnabar fragrance from 1983

Bic fragrances – Parfum de Bic pocket perfumes (1989)

(Yes, the pen and lighter people had a perfume line back in the eighties. Who knew?)

Bic fragrances - Parfum de Bic pocket perfumes (1989)

Vintage perfumes from the ’80s: Gucci No. 3 (1989)

Vintage Gucci No 3 perfume from 1989

Vintage Lauren perfume (1980s)

She has her own spirit, and it graces everyone she comes near.

Vintage 1980s Lauren perfume

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Estee Lauder Private Collection fragrance, with Paulina Porizkova (1988)

Estee Lauder Private Collection fragrance - with Paulina Porizkova - 1988

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Ann Klein II — The Fragrance (1987)

Eighties Ann Klein II - The Fragrance - 1987

First de Van Cleef and Arpels (1983)

Vintage 1983 First Van Cleef and Arpels fragrance

Givenchy: L’Interdit vintage perfume (1985)

1985 Givenchy perfume

Irresistible. Halston vintage perfume (1986)


Dec 8, 1986 Halston fragrance

Diva by Emanuel Ungaro (1988)

An unfair advantage in a world of seduction.

Diva by Emanuel Ungaro fragrance from 1988

Vanderbilt perfume — Gloria Vanderbilt (1987)

Let it release the splendor of you.

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Vintage Vanderbilt perfume - Gloria Vanderbilt 1987

Ciara perfume — Ultima II (1980s)

First impressions last.

80s Ciara perfume - Ultima II

Liz Claiborne: The Fragrance (1989)

All you have to be is you.

Liz Claiborne - The Fragrance - 1989

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Elizabeth Taylor’s Passion perfume (1987)

Be touched by the fragrance that touches the woman.

Elizabeth Taylor passion fragrance - 1980s

Le Sport perfume from Coty — Christie Brinkley (1980)

Play with style. Le Sport is more than a fragrance. It’s a way of life. The look. The feeling. The vitality of the new sport lifestyle. Day and night, you play with style.

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1980 Le Sport perfume from Coty - Christie Brinkley

Vintage eighties Xi’a Xi’ang perfume (1988)

The fragrance of imagination. Xi’a Xi’ang. To travel to the past. To allow what is forbidden. To obtain that which is elusive. (By Revlon)

Vintage eighties Xi'a Xi'ang perfume (1988)

Colors de Benetton (1980s)

Benetton — Perfume of the world. Eau de Parfum, Eau de Toilette Vapo-Spray, Eau de Cologne

Benetton Colors vintage perfume from the 80s

Anais Anais perfume by Cacharel (1987)

Vintage Anais Anais perfume from 1987

Forever Krystle fragrance, based on the Dynasty TV show (1980s)

Both created to celebrate the love that lives forever.

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Vintage Forever Krystle fragrance based on Dynasty TV show - 1980s

Sophia perfume by Coty — Sophia Lauren (1982)

Like the woman who inspired it, always magnificent. Never the same.

Vintage Sophia perfume by Coty - Sophia Lauren - 1982

Susan Lucci for Scoundrel (1987)

Never met a Scoundrel I didn’t like.

Vintage perfume - Susan Lucci for Scoundrel - 1987

Coty’s vintage Sand & Sable (1987)

If you’re not brave enough to wear this… wear this. Sand & Sable. We dare you to wear it.

Coty's vintage Sand & Sable (1987)

Heaven Sent ’80s perfume (1986)

It takes a certain kind of cool.

Vintage Heaven Sent perfume from the 80s

Jontue perfume by Revlon (1987)

Wear it and be wonderful.

Vintage Jontue perfume by Revlon 1987

Retro 80s Enjoli perfume (1983)

You can bring home the bacon. Fry it up in a pan. And never let him forget he’s a man! Enjoli. (By Charles of the Ritz)

Retro 80s Enjoli perfume (1983)

Kathie Lee Gifford & Jean Nate after bath splash (1989)

Jean Nate After Bath Splash with Kathie Lee Gifford (1989)

Love’s Baby Soft (1982)

Some of the nicest things happen in Love’s Baby Soft.

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Lady Stetson perfume (1987)

An exciting blend of contrasts like America itself.

Vintage Lady Stetson perfume from 1987

White Shoulders fragrance (1986)

The best the world has to offer.

White Shoulders fragrance - 1986

Emeraude by Coty (1985)

I love only one man. I wear only one fragrance. Emeraude.

Emeraude by Coty - 1985

Revlon Charlie vintage perfume: Wear an original. (1985)

Revlon Charlie perfume - 1985

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Comments on this story

21 Responses

  1. I had a boyfriend in the 80’s who used to always buy me a small bottle of Perfume in a little leather pouch and I cannot remember the name is there a possibility you would know the name

    1. Possibly it’s Mitsouko by Guerlain? A vintage parfum from the 1960s and sometimes the thin, inverted triangular bottle had a fitted leather case. It will not allow me to post an image but I easily found it online. :-)

  2. My sister in law used to use Ultima 11 (2), I don’t remember who it was made by but they discontinued it. Do you know who made it & why it was discontinued? Love it!!!!

    1. Hi Debbie. I think Ultima II was made by Charles Revson. I used to buy it from JC Penny’s in the early 90’s. It has been discontinued. Greenish milky bottle, black cap, right? Loved it so much. It reminded me of a feminine Fahrenheit.

      1. I was looking for a perfume called White Garden or White Gardina I purchased it back in the 80’s from Sears can anyone help me find the name or where I can purchase it. I’m thinking it was discontinued but I would love to get my hands on some if any one can help me find this perfume. There is also another perfume that I am looking for the name of this one is Tatiana by Diane Von Furstenberg if anyone can help me find that it would be much appreciated. Thank you

  3. As a middle schooler in the 80s, I loved Liz Claiborne (in the triangle bottle). I wonder if I would even recognize it if I smelled it again.

  4. Samsara, Tabu, Prescriptives were some of my faves. I loved Oscar de la Renta, bought it on a regular basis.

  5. My favorite all time scent was Norell II (2) It was beyond perfect, can’t understand why it was discontinued!!

  6. I cannot find the 80’s perfume in a iridescent blue bottle – a green blue bottle.
    Anyone have a suggestion?

  7. Looking for LE De by Givenchy. I presume it is a wonderful perfume from the past, and no longer available. A relative selected this one as her favorite fragrance. I loved it. I would love to surprise her with a bottle of her favorite fragrance from long ago.

  8. There was an oil I purchased from a friend’s mother. (She was an independent consultant for some beauty product line) Reminded me of Clinique’s Aromatics but was an oil. Back in 1982 the price was 18.00. Does anyone know what that oil was?

  9. Ive been trying to identify a perfume ever since I first smelled it in the 80s. The woman wearing it said she didn’t know what it was. It had a very unique dry smell that u smelled the most. Recently I smelled it again on a women who was wringing me up in a store and when i asked her what it was she said that it was either chanel or something named after a women i think. I had never smelled chanel so I assumed thats what it was but it definitely isnt. Ive been to Macy’s ive bougght many samples online an d i still cant find it. How can i find this perfume?

  10. Are there any sites to find perfumes? I can’t remember for the life of me the name, but I remember what the bottle looked. Short, rectangular black cap.

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