Scent & Subversion – Barbara Herman

Barbara Herman’s much anticipated book Scent & Subversion: Decoding a Century of Provocative Fragrance is now available.

I will be reviewing the book tomorrow. In the meantime you can have a flitter though the pages with Dita Von Teese’s moon manicured fingernails via Vine (of course you need more software in your life! Vine is for sharing very short videos; like Instagram but for video). Click the image to make it stop or start.

Title: Scent and Subversion
Subtitle: Decoding a Century of Provocative Perfume
Author: Barbara Herman of Yesterday’s Perfume fame
Publisher: Lyons Press, an imprint of Globe Pequot Press
Pages: 288
Illustrations: full-color throughout
Size: 5 1⁄2 x 7 1⁄2

Kindle e-book at Amazon $US9.99
Hardcover $US24.95

Release Date: November 2013
ISBN: 978-0-7627-8438-7


I believe that the effective use of perfume is a vital stepping stone in the art of creating glamour, and I’ve always sought out rare and distinctive perfumes. In Scent and Subversion, Barbara Herman weaves an enchanting tapestry of words about the world’s most spectacular perfumes, a must read for any sensualist or maestra of glamour.

Dita Von Teese Photo: Ruven Afanador

Dita Von Teese
Photo: Ruven Afanador

Dita Von Teese
The Queen of Modern Burlesque
Creator of the fragrances Dita von Teese, Rouge, Fleurteese, and Erotique

It’s impossible to overstate the importance of scent in your glamour arsenal. In Scent and Subversion: A Century of Provocative Perfume, Barbara Herman tells you how to slip into multiple identities, define your narrative, and star in your own life.

Mx Justin Vivian Bond Photo: Matthu Placek.

Mx Justin Vivian Bond
Photo: Matthu Placek.

Mx Justin Vivian Bond
International Cabaret Superstar
Author Tango: My Childhood, Backwards and in High Heels
Co-creator of The Afternoon of a Faun perfume for État Libre d’Orange

Scent & Subversion is a guided tour of perfume history as seen through cuir-colored glasses. It opens with a keen essay on the neurological impact of animalic, “unclean” odors, and ends with observations on the industry’s future horizons…a worthy flanker to Perfumes: The Guide, one that takes something of the original format in order to build its own point of view.

Now Smell This

Barbara Herman is an oracle of social history, and her sacred vapor is vintage perfume. For Herman, perfume is a time machine that reveals each decade’s particular obsessions with gender roles and sex. Scent and Subversion explores how in the space of a century, women went from smelling like animals while behaving like ladies–to smelling like detergent while pretending they weren’t animals. A rip-snorting olfactory perspective on 20th century culture, Scent and Subversion is entertaining reading for fumeheads and casual sniffers alike, and destined to become a classic of perfume research.


Katie Puckrik
journalist, broadcaster, and perfume writer

Like writers who have understood history through painting, architecture, and music, Barbara Herman has laid out the 20th century through one of the most fascinating, personal, and innovative of lenses, the evolution of its olfactory art.

Chandler Burr
author of The Perfect Scent and
Creator and Curator of the Department of Olfactory Art, Museum of Arts and Design, New York City

Further Reading
Yesterday’s Perfume – website
Yesterday’s Perfume – Facebook
Now Smell This – review by Aleta
Barbara Herman is @parfumaniac on Twitter

11 responses to “Scent & Subversion – Barbara Herman

  1. Pingback: Scent & Subversion – Review | The Fragrant Man·

  2. Pingback: Scent & Subversion by Barbara Herman: NEW BOOK REVIEW « AustralianPerfumeJunkies·

  3. Pingback: Christmas Gift Idea 5 – Instant Delivery for late shoppers $3.66 – $9.84 | The Fragrant Man·

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