French drawing room at Hillwood


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Style and Scent in the 18th Century

This is the first program in the Perfume & Seduction lecture series.

Exhibition curator Rebecca Tilles will discuss Marjorie Post's interest in scents and collecting objects used in the French bathing ritual known as la toilette during the 1700s. Then independent scholar Kimberly Chrisman-Campbell will explore how complex and collaborative fashions and hairstyles of the 1700s required women to spend several hours a day at their toilette tables.

Her talk will reveal the beauty secrets behind this daily and often public practice as well as the role of perfume in dressing and hairdressing. Luxurious objects like mirrors, lace, porcelain, clocks and candlesticks played both practical and ornamental functions in a woman's boudoir. Modern concepts of hygiene and cosmetics have their roots in this ritual from the 1700s.

Event Timeline

5:30-6:30 p.m.: Mansion, Perfume & Seduction and Greenhouse open for self-guided touring
6:30-7:45 p.m.: Lecture
7:45 p.m.: Book Signing

About the Speaker

Kimberly Chrisman-CampbellDr. Kimberly Chrisman-Campbell is an art historian specializing in 18th-century fashion and textiles. A graduate of Stanford University and the Courtauld Institute of Art, she has worked as a curator, consultant, and educator for museums and universities around the world. Her book Fashion Victims: Dress at the Court of Louis XVI and Marie-Antoinette was published by Yale University Press in 2015; her forthcoming book, Worn On This Day: The Clothes That Made History will be published by Running Press in Fall 2019. She is a frequent contributor to exhibition catalogues and scholarly journals, and writes about art and fashion for The Atlantic, Politico, and The Wall Street Journal.


About the Series

Explore the evolution of perfume’s luxurious and seductive role in this four-part series.

Thursday, March 28: Style and Scent in the 18th Century with Kimberly Chrisman-Campbell
Wednesday, April 17: Art and Passion: A Cultural History of Fragrance with Richard Stamelman
Tuesday, April 30: Lightness and Luxury: Historic Scents and Containers with Martine Uzan
Wednesday, May 15: René Lalique and the Art of Perfume with Nicholas Dawes