Over the past few years I’ve stumbled over a few perfume questions or stories, and I’ve gathered them here for you to ponder, too. If you have any insight, I’d love to hear it.
Mystery #1: According to Michael Edwards’ Perfume Legends, the first version of Guy Laroche Fidji was created by Edmond Roudnitska, the legendary nose responsible for Rochas Femme, Frédéric Malle Le Parfum de Therese, and Christian Dior Diorissimo. L’Oréal, who manufactured the scent, decided at the last minute that Roudnitska’s formula “would have been perfect for a Dior couture perfume, but it was too aggressive for Fidji”, so they delayed production until another perfumer retooled Fidji to make it more commercial. Perfect for a Dior couture perfume? Sounds terrific! My question is, what the heck happened to the original formula, and what did it smell like?
Mystery #2: Since we’re talking about mysteries, what perfume would Nancy Drew have worn? How about Bess and George?
Mystery #3: Everywhere I look, it seems that one perfume or another is touted as a favorite of Catherine Deneuve. Her favorites are supposed to include Guerlain’s L’Heure Bleue, Chamade, and Nahema; Chanels No. 19 and 22 (she modeled for No. 5 ads, too, see above); many of the Frédéric Malles; and all the Jo Malones. Then there’s her own scent, Deneuve. What perfumes does she really wear? Wait a minute, I think I just answered my own question. Catherine Deneuve is one of us.
Mystery #4: In Pierre Balmain’s autobiography, My Years and Seasons, he says, “My friend, Germaine Cellier, had just invented a perfume for me which evoked best the kind of elegance of which I wanted to be the harbinger. I named it ‘Elysée 64/83’, my first telephone number.” (Cellier went on to create Balmain Jolie Madame and Vent Vert, too, as well as Robert Piguet Fracas and Bandit.) That’s the end of his talk of perfume. What did this “harbinger” of “the best kind of elegance” smell like? Did it have Cellier’s quirkiness and strong edges? I wish I knew.
Mystery #5: This is really a bundle of mysteries that need a crystal ball to answer. Will the old Diors ever be made with the quality and care that they once were? Will the Chanel Les Exclusifs ever come out in parfum? Will Lanvin ever re-release a respectful version of Scandal? Tell me, perfume swami.
Note: image via Parfum de Pub.