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    Smile White Shoulders/Diva--How to tell if a vintage fragrance is original or reformulation

    Hi all. I'm a newbie here and could use some help. I've been looking for White Shoulders by Evyan and Diva by Ungaro. I believe both have been reformulated at some point and I'm finding a lot of different bottles online. My mother swears that the White Shoulders currently available just isn't the same. She says "real" White Shoulders used to have a pink cap. I remember those bottles from when I was a child, but does the pink cap really mean anything? What about Diva? Some bottles say Emanuel Ungaro and some say just Ungaro. Little details of perfume packaging seem to change frequently.
    Is there a noticeable difference between the original fragrance and the reformulation? If they are different, how would I know which is which? What should I look for on the bottle or the label? Is a fragrance that's perhaps decades old still wearable? I'm confused. I've searched the forum, but many of the posts are several years old and the links to photos, etc. no longer function. Any advice would be greatly appreciated and save me a lot of trial and error.

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    Default Re: White Shoulders/Diva--How to tell if a vintage fragrance is original or reformulation

    Hi aab--

    Welcome to Basenotes! Your mom is right: in many cases, there is a big difference between the original fragrance and a current version. Vintage fragrances in good condition are wearable. I wear vintage perfume nearly every day.

    The blog "Raiders of the Lost Scent" has a lot of great information about dating vintages. If you can see the box, a simple clue is the short ingredient list -- something like "alcohol, fragrance, water" rather than a modern list with all of the ingredients.

    With Diva, the older bottles say "Ungaro" only. I have both, and the older Ungaro-only Diva is definitely better composition.

    White Shoulders is more complicated, since it has been for sale for a long time. Your mom may be right that the pink cap bottles are generally older, but I do see older gold topped bottles too. Older bottles of White Shoulders look like the ones below, and that's the vintage version I have.

    images.jpeg
    images (1).jpeg

    Take your time, and have fun exploring vintage perfume.
    Currently wearing: Bandit by Robert Piguet

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    Default Re: White Shoulders/Diva--How to tell if a vintage fragrance is original or reformulation

    White Shoulders was originally made by Evyan (later versions by Elizabeth Arden). Bottles are difficult to date because caps were used interchangeably. The drawing of the lady's face on the box became less complex, more streamlined and with fewer details, in the early 70s through to today. I have several bottles from the 50s and 70s, and White Shoulders does not age well - if you look for a vintage bottle, go for one in the box (preferably sealed) or in a covered gift set. The current EDP is not too bad, but of course not as intoxicating as the original heady white flower blend.

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    LittleBunnyFouFou
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    Default Re: White Shoulders/Diva--How to tell if a vintage fragrance is original or reformulation

    I've probably gotten lucky, because in my experience my 50s/early 60s Evyan parfums & colognes are amazing - not a hint of turned about them. I did purchase (or was given in one case) all of those bottles sealed and boxed except for one cologne splash which was opened by the previous owner within weeks of my acquisition. (She didn't like gardenia or aldehydes which makes White Shoulders an odd choice.) I have had various EA bottles and for me they were all a big disappointment; no doubt this is because my interest in it has always been that it was my paternal grandmother's around the house scent when I was very young so later versions don't really have a fair chance with me. My oldest, most precious bottles had onion skin/wax seals when I got them, and I keep all of my extraits and splashes the way I like my men - in the dark, tightly wrapped. This was a night out for this particular extrait :P



    If you find a well priced, well stored Evyan there's probably no need to get any more specific about dating - it's going to be vintage. Many people love the newer Elizabeth Arden versions, but I can't speak about them because the 60s ruined me. Oh Grandma. =)

    The one problem I do have with the vintage Evyans that I have/have had is that they are *strong* - and as a young woman in the 80s strong is not generally a thing for me (though in this millenium I've had to be aware of how offensive my scents might be to when I go out) But White Shoulders is be very, very careful strong, even in the cologne. I don't have Great Lady anymore and only have a small bit of Most Precious cologne left but both were also quite powerful. All of the older Evyans have/had a thickness to them - well that might not be the right word but they are (were) very rich.

    I love the flacons, and the sets with the round hat boxes and satiny inner presentation slots etc - as a pre-kindergartener I remember looking at the golden labels on the Evyan bottles on my grandmother's dresser and just being fascinated, finding it almost impossible to keep my hands to myself as the rule was. I was generally rewarded on bath night with a drop behind each ear and maybe one on the wrist though so it was worth being good.

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    Default Re: White Shoulders/Diva--How to tell if a vintage fragrance is original or reformulation

    Thanks everybody! I wasn't sure I'd get a response since these types of questions have probably been asked many times. It's nice to know there are others out there who also like "ordinary" perfumes after reading so many discussions about fragrances I've never even heard of, much less found in a dept. store. I enjoy reading everyone's stories too. My mother has always worn White Shoulders and it seems to smell better on her than it does on me. We laugh about all the times somebody has given her a hug and said, "Oh, you smell good." Guess that's better than smelling bad!

    As far as shopping goes, it sounds like my suspicions were correct. I read that vintage White Shoulders should have the name Evyan stamped into the glass bottle, not on the label. Many bottles say Evyan on the label, but there is no stamp on the glass. It seems like that should be good enough, shouldn't it? I also had a feeling that reviewers would rate the reformulated Diva as inferior to the original, which is a shame since I love the pretty, crystal bottle containing the new EDP spray. I can find the older Diva EDP spray only in the tall rectangular bottle. I may have to switch to the splash or cough up some major $$$ for the pure extrait. Problems, problems . . . . .

    I'm not sure why I have become so involved with fragrances lately, but I am having fun. Except now I cringe when I think about what I've given or thrown away over the years. I will keep your advice in mind during my search.

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    Default Re: White Shoulders/Diva--How to tell if a vintage fragrance is original or reformulation

    The name "Evyan" does not have to be embossed on the bottle. I have two bottles from the 70s (a cologne and a parfum) that I inherited, so I know them to be authentic, and the maker name is not embossed...the lady's head is, but that's true of current bottles of Arden's White Shoulders, too.

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    Default Re: White Shoulders/Diva--How to tell if a vintage fragrance is original or reformulation

    Quote Originally Posted by aab View Post
    Thanks everybody! I wasn't sure I'd get a response since these types of questions have probably been asked many times. It's nice to know there are others out there who also like "ordinary" perfumes after reading so many discussions about fragrances I've never even heard of, much less found in a dept. store. I enjoy reading everyone's stories too. My mother has always worn White Shoulders and it seems to smell better on her than it does on me. We laugh about all the times somebody has given her a hug and said, "Oh, you smell good." Guess that's better than smelling bad!

    As far as shopping goes, it sounds like my suspicions were correct. I read that vintage White Shoulders should have the name Evyan stamped into the glass bottle, not on the label. Many bottles say Evyan on the label, but there is no stamp on the glass. It seems like that should be good enough, shouldn't it? I also had a feeling that reviewers would rate the reformulated Diva as inferior to the original, which is a shame since I love the pretty, crystal bottle containing the new EDP spray. I can find the older Diva EDP spray only in the tall rectangular bottle. I may have to switch to the splash or cough up some major $$$ for the pure extrait. Problems, problems . . . . .

    I'm not sure why I have become so involved with fragrances lately, but I am having fun. Except now I cringe when I think about what I've given or thrown away over the years. I will keep your advice in mind during my search.
    Original Diva shouldn't be difficult to find in the triangular crystal-like bottles - I've only actually ever owned one vintage bottle in the rectangular spray. However..thinking on it, my vintage Diva's in those flacons are mostly or maybe all splashes come to think of it which you might not care for as many people now don't; I'm an extrait freak in the old school dabbing style so splashes don't phase me at all. I just decant what I will use in the near future into an atomizer bottle and then wrap up my big splash bottles until further notice. Idk. Looking right quick, there's what MAY be a 50 ml crystal vintage bottle on eBay for 32.15 or so right now - you'd have to write them to be sure that it's going to come in the packaging shown but my memory of that seller is that while their photos look stock-ish the times I've asked for my friend or myself they have been what was pictured. Anyhow you really shouldn't have to forego the crystal bottles to enjoy the vintage (and of course many people are fine with the newer versions I guess - if you haven't grown up with the depth of the moss and animalic notes in Diva and other 70-80s chypres like the original Paloma and La Nuit you could very well be satisfied with the newer versions. They're still light years away from the cotton candy and fruit bombs on fragrance shelves now. =)

    https://www.ebay.com/itm/Diva-Eau-De...0AAOSw8DJaJajp

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    Default Re: White Shoulders/Diva--How to tell if a vintage fragrance is original or reformulation

    Hi theladymay. Sorry it's taken so long getting back to you. I've been doing a lot of searching, then computer froze, dealing with Microsoft, finding a fix, etc. What a mess.

    Anyway, I wanted to let you know that I did see that eBay listing you pointed out and I sent a question to the seller. The listing states that it's an "Eau de Parfum Spray" but the bottle in the photo looks like a splash to me and the box does not say "spray" or "vaporisateur". So I asked if the item in the photo was the actual item that would be shipped since it didn't appear to be a spray bottle. The seller's reply insisted that the product to be shipped is a spray bottle and that the "image is correct". Oh well, I still think they're wrong, but you can judge for yourself. https://www.ebay.com/itm/Diva-Eau-De...0AAOSw8DJaJajp

    I also have a question about something else, for you and anybody else who wants to comment. I was considering a bottle of Diva EDP spray that I found in the triangular, crystal bottle. I automatically assumed it was the newer Emanuel Ungaro version. However, upon closer inspection, I noticed that the name Emanuel Ungaro is not printed on the bottom, right corner of the bottle. Practically every other bottle of the new formula I have seen has the name printed in the corner. I have never seen a vintage atomizer like this, only the rectangular bottles. There is no box, but the label says "Ungaro Parfums/USA" and "Made in Italy". The seller isn't sure how old it is.

    I know this all sounds terribly trivial, but I'm not familiar with perfumers and manufacturers and don't have access to a lot of perfume shops or large dept. stores. It wasn't until recently that I even found out the fragrance had been reformulated/discontinued. I'm still hoarding a bottle I bought years ago. I usually save it for special occasions, but I guess when you can't have something, that just makes you want it more. You know, get it before it's gone. I tried attaching pictures, but they took up the whole page. Do you think this is the original Ungaro Diva?

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    Default Re: White Shoulders/Diva--How to tell if a vintage fragrance is original or reformulation

    Hi! It certainly seems to me that the first seller was wrong/being dishonest. That's almost certainly not a spray bottle photo, almost certainly a stock photo. The fact that he couldn't just say yes that is the actual bottle makes me think a.it's not, b.he doesn't know enough about vintage perfume to understand the splash/spray difference and c. He's one of those jerks who would rather not consider that he doesn't know everything. I wouldn't buy it without more photos if he wouldn't answer the question of it being that bottle in the photo or not. Really the fact that he has more than 11 for sale for that price made me doubt in the first place but there you go.

    As to the 2nd item...I have never seen a pre-reform bottle that said Emanuel anywhere on the bottom of the bottles, nor one with the little recycling man. Every one I've owned or seen has "parfum ungaro" on the top of the bottom labelling (and "parfums ungaro" on the bottom of some) with little else there but the size and either made in france or bottle made in france/N.Y. N.Y. or something close to that. They also don't have long batch codes like that one, which I had forgotten until looking at several I have that are not yet empty just now since I've never needed batch codes to distinguish the good from the pass-worthy. All of my non-empty vintages have 3 digit codes.

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    Default Re: White Shoulders/Diva--How to tell if a vintage fragrance is original or reformulation

    aab, the Diva bottle you linked to looks like a spray to me - look at the collar. Also, this is clearly a stock photo and you can find plenty of others on Google Shopping, all listed as sprays and having the same collar, common to many spray bottles. The unshown side of the box might have the spray designation. However, I have never researched this perfume, so I can't be certain. It sounds to me as if the seller has several of these for sale, hence his or her unwillingness to state that you'll be getting the exact bottle in the photo.

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    Default Re: White Shoulders/Diva--How to tell if a vintage fragrance is original or reformulation

    Wow, that was quick. I was editing my post. The photos were so big they seemed obnoxious and I couldn't figure out how to make them smaller or just attach a link to them, so I took them down. Can you tell I'm new at this? If anyone wants to see them, I can post them again once I learn how to do it.

    You're probably right about the seller who couldn't (or wouldn't) tell the difference between a splash and a spray. Does he/she think we're "dumb or somethin"? I don't know what to think about that 3 oz. bottle I found. It says just "Ungaro" instead of "Emanuel Ungaro" like the new bottles, but the batch number is curious, as you said. I checked various websites and couldn't find that code anywhere. My bottle has no number on it at all. How old is that? The new labels look like a darn essay. I think there may be something embossed in the glass, but I can't tell what it is and don't want to take the label off to find out. I no longer have the box. Unless someone else comes up with more information, the origin of that online bottle may remain a mystery.

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    Default Re: White Shoulders/Diva--How to tell if a vintage fragrance is original or reformulation

    Quote Originally Posted by Bonnette View Post
    aab, the Diva bottle you linked to looks like a spray to me - look at the collar. Also, this is clearly a stock photo and you can find plenty of others on Google Shopping, all listed as sprays and having the same collar, common to many spray bottles. The unshown side of the box might have the spray designation. However, I have never researched this perfume, so I can't be certain. It sounds to me as if the seller has several of these for sale, hence his or her unwillingness to state that you'll be getting the exact bottle in the photo.
    The crystal splash edp of Diva, just like the parfums of the same age, have that collar, and you see neither a sprayer opening through the crystal cap nor a tube as you pretty easily can in all but the most blurred photos of the more modern spray edp/edt Divas. All of the vintage spray bottles do say "Vaporisateur" and the newer reformed versions say "Vaporisatuer Natural Spray" - on the outside front of the box.

    If a seller is selling many bottles that could be differently packaged etc, like drop shippers and so on do, and they can't go look and don't know for certain then they should answer the question honestly, as Fragrance.net or any minimally half-decent seller would, by saying, it's a stock photo and I can't assure you it will be exactly as depicted in the photo, the packaging may vary, or at the worst I don't know.

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    Default Re: White Shoulders/Diva--How to tell if a vintage fragrance is original or reformulation

    Quote Originally Posted by theladymay View Post
    The crystal splash edp of Diva, just like the parfums of the same age, have that collar, and you see neither a sprayer opening through the crystal cap nor a tube as you pretty easily can in all but the most blurred photos of the more modern spray edp/edt Divas. All of the vintage spray bottles do say "Vaporisateur" and the newer reformed versions say "Vaporisatuer Natural Spray" - on the outside front of the box.

    If a seller is selling many bottles that could be differently packaged etc, like drop shippers and so on do, and they can't go look and don't know for certain then they should answer the question honestly, as Fragrance.net or any minimally half-decent seller would, by saying, it's a stock photo and I can't assure you it will be exactly as depicted in the photo, the packaging may vary, or at the worst I don't know.
    Thank you so much for educating me in this matter of Diva bottle design and labeling, theladymay.

    Yes, sellers should be forthright about the merchandise that buyers will actually receive. I once bought a bottle of Je Reviens Couture that the seller stated was the last one available. The picture of the sealed box looked pristine, but when I got it I was horrified to find a beat up box with torn cellophane. I went back to the seller's page, and he was now offering 7 bottles! He offered to replace the perfume if it smelled bad, but fortunately it was divine. I'm very careful sbout those stocks photos now.

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    Default Re: White Shoulders/Diva--How to tell if a vintage fragrance is original or reformulation

    Hi aab,

    I can help you with Diva, I hope.
    I agree with grayspoole: when in bottles with only Ungaro written above, it's the old vintage jus. Over the years the writings transitioned from simply Ungaro to Emmanuel Ungaro. A good way to be sure to buy a vintage is looking for the spray bottles: at the time of its launch, Diva was sold in splash bottles with a flat bell-draped dress shape and in elongated flat column spray bottles, with the same draping effect. Over the years those spray bottles phased out in favour of the "bell" ones, provided now with vaporisateur mechanism. They are the ones currently on sale. So if you find the tall spray bottle, let's say it might be 90% vintage, or still a good formula. But remember that the tall sprays have been around also when the perfume has changed, so always try to detect if there's a short list of ingredient, or no list at all for the oldest editions. No barcode=oldest version. There was also an ivory plastic shell in which slip a recharge bottle, if you find one of those recharges they are 100% vintage.
    I don't know the exact date of Diva reformulation, but I would like to add that anything distributed by "Ferragamo parfum" is the reformulated one. The beautiful rose coriander animalic chypre you are talking about deserves to be rediscovered in its vintage form, so good luck!

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    Default Re: White Shoulders/Diva--How to tell if a vintage fragrance is original or reformulation

    Quote Originally Posted by aab View Post
    Wow, that was quick. I was editing my post. The photos were so big they seemed obnoxious and I couldn't figure out how to make them smaller or just attach a link to them, so I took them down. Can you tell I'm new at this? If anyone wants to see them, I can post them again once I learn how to do it.

    You're probably right about the seller who couldn't (or wouldn't) tell the difference between a splash and a spray. Does he/she think we're "dumb or somethin"? I don't know what to think about that 3 oz. bottle I found. It says just "Ungaro" instead of "Emanuel Ungaro" like the new bottles, but the batch number is curious, as you said. I checked various websites and couldn't find that code anywhere. My bottle has no number on it at all. How old is that? The new labels look like a darn essay. I think there may be something embossed in the glass, but I can't tell what it is and don't want to take the label off to find out. I no longer have the box. Unless someone else comes up with more information, the origin of that online bottle may remain a mystery.
    I wouldn't count on batch codes for much with Ungaro vintages, if they can even be found on the bottle, since most were painted on, there's no vintage Ungaro database that I'm aware of like that for the big houses on Raiders of the Lost Scent and Checkfresh and those are simply a waste of time for dating vintages. A short batch code or none is one clue towards vintage. A long batch code, the little recycle man and Emanuel in the naming conventions is as far as I've ever known guarantee that it's reformulated.
    I think you may have said you don't like splash as in dislike so much you won't consider it? If not I'd encourage you to keep your eyes open for a boxed or full/very close to full with box splash. You can buy an atomizer bottle to decant into easily and splash=vintage.

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    Default Re: White Shoulders/Diva--How to tell if a vintage fragrance is original or reformulation

    After looking at lots of different bottles of Diva and different labels, I'm inclined to think that that the bottle in question is the reformulation. It doesn't say Emanuel Ungaro on the front, but all the information on the label sort of gives away the time frame when it was probably manufactured. Just guessing.

    I'm starting to lean more toward a bottle of pure extrait instead. Even a small bottle should last a long time since I wouldn't need to use much and I'd still get a nice piece of crystal to add to the collection on my dresser. There are a lot of those online as well. The prices vary wildly depending on the size of the bottle and whether or not it has been opened. This is a little off-topic, but I have one more question for you guys. What if you find a full bottle, from a trusted seller, but it's already been opened? How important is it for the bottle to be sealed? Does exposure to air affect the scent of pure extrait the same way it affects EDT and EDP? I'm sure there's also less risk of tampering, leaking, etc. with a sealed bottle, but I'm wondering if it's worth an additional $100.00??

    Oh, this is just a little FYI. I noticed the Ungaro website is advertising the Diva fragrance. However, it apparently is available only in the EDT concentration. There are no other Diva products listed. I don't know if the site is up to date, but the fragrances are there along with the 2019 collections and everything else Ungaro. It seems they are still making it.

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    Default Re: White Shoulders/Diva--How to tell if a vintage fragrance is original or reformulation

    Extrait is my passion. Diva has aged very well, I've bought previously opened but lightly used extraits in 15 and 30 ml in the past couple of years and all 3 were/are delicious. If your question is, would you pay 100$ more bc a bottle was sealed vs open regarding Diva I'd say not a chance. I guess everything goes bad eventually but Diva, especially in extrait, is a hardy fragrance. It's often available for very reasonable amounts which is as it should be. If you trust a seller, all signs look good, it's not dark brown juice or something crazy like that, I would go with the better priced bottle open or sealed, for sure. The extrait is Rich, luscious goodness!




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