Javier Serra, lawyer and former director of the Spanish fragrance house Myrurgia, established the house of Dana in 1921 in Barcelona Spain. Dana then headquartered in Paris before relocating to the United States during the German occupation of Paris.
Serra recruited the most talented noses to create original scents. The most recognized perfumer and educator was Jean Carles. He was best known for his aromatic genius, creating fine fragrances with simple and economical ingredients. Early marketing of their products, with veiled sensual advertisements, were done elegantly, resulting in Dana exemplifying sophistication.
The gothic trademark, influenced from a piece of artwork by
Spanish artist Mariano Andrue, inspired Dana’s logo. The company name, Dana (Danae) was chosen for its simplicity, the theory being that it would be easy to pronounce in any language - and for its mythological associations. According to Greek mythology Danae was a beautiful goddess and daughter of king Acrisius.
The house had enormous success after Javier launched his first fragrance Tabu. Other beautiful creations followed with some being of limited release in France. American women were introduced to these fragrant luxuries, via G.I. husbands and boyfriends, serving in the armed forces during World War II. Although it was a time of devastation and many sacrifices, perfume somehow remained a hot commodity – along with cigarettes and chocolate. Soldiers on leave from the war zone, some with mud still on their boots, lined the streets of France in front of perfume shops in pursuit of a bottle of perfume for that special someone.
Dana, with all of its success,has not been without transfers, acquisitions, and mergers. The company purchased the rights to several companies such as Helena Rubinstein, Max Factor, and Shulton. Renaissance Cosmetics - the former House of Houbigant - acquired Dana Perfumes in 1995, but a few years later, filed for chapter 11. Finally, in 1999, the company was acquired by what we know as Dana Classic Fragrances.
Presently, Dana Classic’s is headquartered in Florida and continues to capitalize on the sentimental past and appeal of vintage scents – most of them being reformulated. Today, the company now owns more than 100 trademarks and sells perfumes through mass-market retailers such as Sears and Walgreens.