There are perfume legends, there are perfumer legends, and then there are perfumes that become obsessions. Fracas is all three, which is a hat trick less common that you’d think.
— Columnist Chandler Burr of the New York Times writes about the glory that is Robert Piguet Fracas.
This has been a favorite of mine since age 24 (I'm 55 now). It is an intoxicating fragrance, and you should not overdo it–unless it's that kind of a night…..
Remember it is pronounced fra-CAH nor fray-cus!
So aptly named!
Hi Robin, and whoever else will happen to see this… I just signed up on NST after reading it on the sly for ages.
I have a question: I've read over and over again that Bandit in EDT is the real thing, but have never seen Bandit in EDT! Where does one find it? I am a shoestring perfumista…
Come to think of it, I have another question: where can one ask stray perfume-related questions? Must one reply to a post, or are there other options? Thanks!
Thanks for sharing this, Robin! I have joined the club of those who are hopelessly in love with Fracas, and always will be. I just was gifted with the solid perfume compact, and I can't stop gleefully dabbing it on – it's my new favorite toy!
Sofar I have never tried even one of Robert Piquets perfumes!
It's not that I did not want to but sofar no luck in finding any of them in a store and no luck in getting any samples from Paris.
Whenever I am in France finding Fracas and the other perfumes by RP will be high on my list.
But I get great satisfaction out of calling it frAH-CASS
Hi & welcome!
Gosh, I've never heard that and at any rate, it is no longer made in EdT, only EdP & Parfum. I wonder if you're thinking of Bandit Pour Homme, which if I remember correctly is also no longer made?
You can always email me (address can be found on the About page, top menu).
You already know my longtime devotion to Fracas…so I will just say YAY! for Chandler Burr's declaiming it to the rest of the world!
The solid is wonderful.
Fracas is on my all time top 10, I'm sure (but don't ask what the others are, I've no idea).
Great article, although Fracas has never appealed to me…in the same way that some people just don't “get” Chanel #5, for example – great classic though it may be – I just don't get Fracas. I'm simply not a fan of tuberose, so I suppose I'll never like it…but I wish I could at least *appreciate* it. But it just leaves me stumped. Maybe I need to revisit it and give it another try. Another Cellier creation mentioned in the article, Vent Vert, is one of my all-time favorites, though, and I also really love Bandit.
You know, we none of us can appreciate *everything* — if you've got a couple of Cellier scents you love, that seems good enough!
Nice article by Burr. I like the line “no mid-century perfume is street legal in its original form.” Seems so sad to hear it put that way. Are consumers safer now?
I'd be curious to smell Fra-cah — I'm learning to like tuberose scents (though not necessarily on me). I may have to buy a stem or two of tuberose at the market this weekend.
We are safer w/o *some* of the old ingredients, I think, but not others…and of course, that is not the only reason for the reformulation — it is also a matter of ingredients that are no longer easily or affordably sourced, or are verboten for other reasons (esp. the animalic notes). But I'd take the original Fracas, any day!
It's always nice to see Fracas more acclaim. It's hands down my favorite floral.
Thanks for posting this, R!
I'm always glad to see this one get props- in the fond hope that it never goes away!
I'm always glad to see this one get props- in the fond hope that it never goes away!
and one day I will master these darned internets!
I was with my husband in Sephora trying everything I could and making my husband smell anything interesting. He had that glazed over “when are we going?” look, and dismissed most of the perfumes as “nice” or “eh”. I sprayed Fracas on my arm, stuck it under his nose, and he snapped to attention, looked me dead straight in the eye, and said very seriously, “I. Don't. Like. It.” with a definite undertone of “No way are you bringing this into the house.” Ha!
I of course immediately got a sample online, and it's waiting in the to-try pile!!
I have the utmost faith in your ability. And clue me in on the whole “internets” thing – is there some joke [something from Borat, maybe?] about “internets”?
That's how I mentally pronounce it, too. We Yankees are so crass.
Fracas is always part of my arsenal. Its such a cult favorite, I feel as if I am missing something NOT having at my disposal. But curiously, I rarely reach for it as I find it a very “thick” scent. Don't get me wrong, I am a lover of rich heady fragrances and especially love over the top unusual notes (chypres, leathers and spices being my faves) but somehow Fracas needs the right occasion, right setting, just the right affair. Anyway, it is a wonderful fragrance, but I would consider it not a very wearable one. Still and all………a winner!
DO NOT DEPRIVE YOURSELF! YOU DESERVE IT! YOU MUST OWN BANDIT! FRACAS IS GREAT, BUT BANDIT IS OOH LA LA! GO FOR IT GIRL!!
Yay, R.P. samples are on their way! Mamabear finally I will know what you (and Chandler Burr) are raving about
In my mind it sounds like how fracas would sound in Spanish.
According to my fr. dictionary fracas could mean sound of thunder or the sound of to crush amongst others.
Must be some perfume!
it's a cheesy swipe at the President- he said it in one of the 2004 debates. he answered a question with “I hear there's rumors on the, uh, Internets” and it's sort of stuck in my head
Existentialist — yep!
And it is
It is high on my list too
I loved Fracas in my young, wild years, when I thought I was far more sophisticated than I actually was. I've been meaning to re-try it. I also have wanted to try it again because the artist Jennifer Bartlett, a favorite of mine, likes it, and there is even a shopping list that says 'Buy Keds and Fracas' painted into one of her works…
I adore Fracas when I'm in the mood for it. I feel like a character in a Simenon mystery when I wear it. And now I must get a sample of Piguet's Baghari to try.
And it even has a wikipedia entry!
Tom — knock on wood — Fracas cannot be discontinued!
Ha, that is too funny! Do you suppose he'll remember the smell? But in the future you'll know better than to let him smell BEFORE you buy
Agree, it is not an everyday sort of scent, and you have to be careful not to overdo it — but on the right day, it's perfect.
Keds & Fracas! Love it.
Baghari is lovely, but to me, can't touch Fracas. Love the Maigret series!
May I say… I feel rather doltish when discussing niche fragrances, because I'm firmly (and career-ly) ensconced in mainstream frags BUT – FRACAS was my first love. I wore it when it was given to me as a gift when I was an imaginative 17 year old, and Fracas is deeply a part of me. I had no idea what I was spraying on, only that it was deeply sexy – it matched perfectly with my Victoria's Secret classic black lace garter and stockings and made me feel more womanly than I dared hope.
Fracas was never cerebral to me; it was wildly imaginative and sophisticated and was a perfect accompaniment to my first affair. It was my awakening to womanhood, a time spent riding horses in the moonlight with a lover that understood the appeal of Enya and the power of sensuality.
I returned to Fracas two years ago; I was depressed and felt I needed to return to my true self. I bought it at a discounter (a rather dubious shabby shop), and felt almost guilty spraying it on again. But immediately I felt returned to myself again. I wanted to run back to where I felt as a young woman; riding a mare through a crisp September night lit by a full moon… Fracas speaks to me in a way that no other fragrance can.
can't wait to see what you think. Remember, do not try Fracas on a hot day! That's my advice, anyway.
when you get the sample, let it dry down before you go anywhere near him. It really is lethal right out of the bottle. A little later it has this come-hither appeal…..it has the power to conjure up boudoirs and diamonds and silk covered chaise lounges…at least in my mind.
Marianne, it's available at Le Bon Marché in Paris and last time I was there they did have samples.
Thank you carmencanada but some samples are already on their way. Contacted R.P. by email in NYC and they have responded immediately! I'm so looking forward to try Fracas.
Amazing how quick and friendly the people at Robert Piquet NYC are compared to Robert Piquet in Paris for they never gave a sign of life.
What a great story, thanks for posting!
Wow, that story is so romantic – wish I had memories like that to look back on!
I'm normally not a tuberose fan, loathe gardenia, and I tend to stay far away from heady fragrances. For some reason, even though it's like being hit on the head with a floral anvil, I absolutely LOVE fracas! It's one of those fragrances that immediately transports me elsewhere, or at least lets me fantasize that I'm elegantly turned out for a spectacular ball. I hope to acquire a little bottle for my collection soon.
I have the EdP plus a small solid plus a tiny little mini of the parfum — all fabulous. I do think Fracas was one of the first “big” perfumes I managed to learn to love.
Fracas is in a class of its own. I have a bottle of the EdP and I sometimes spritz it on in the privacy of my own home, but honestly, I think I am scared to wear it out of doors since it is such a statement – it's showstopping. I can only imagine the impact it must have had when it was first released in the years of post-war austerity (didn't it appear circa 1948?) Like the introduction of sound or technicolor in movies
p.s. I heard a rumour that men are reputed not to like the smell of tuberose…Can anyone bust this particular myth?
I have quite a few guy friends, and they all seem to love Tuberose, just not someone who's bathed in it.
Whenever I wear Michael Kors original or Estee Lauder's Private Collection Tuberose Gardenia, I get compliments from hubby.
Elinoraddict, in my experience men are as various in what they like as women are — I think that is just a myth.
Thanks. Makes much more sense now.
Mb, it's a rainy cool day and yesterday my samplepack arrived from Pobert Piquet in NYC, (so fast, aren't they wonderful!) so I guess it is time to try Fracas.
I have to go into town as well so maybe I will leave my trails..:D
Oh I 'remember' Fracas!! I remember it very well, I just know this perfume for when I was a very young girl, some women who came to visit us were wearing this fragrance….. And the first woman who came to my mind was an aunt of mine who smelled just like this… but this is so very long ago… This brings me way back to my childhood when women still wore nylons with a line at the backside of their legs and they needed jaratelles to even wear nylons. Fracas also is the smell of petticoats that my mom and other moms wore under their wide skirt.
All those memories and such details, this is really a special personal experience.
I wrote that women were wearing this perfume, but that must have cost them a fortune back then and in my family nobody would spend that kind of money on a fragrance in those years.
They must have used other products like soap or powder that smelled very similar to Fracas.
I don't think that Fracas is so very strong and overpowering. It is a great classic perfume, but then also I recognize it so I m maybe less surprized by it.
Mamabear, Fracas is a fabulous perfume, a top classy classic juice and I really understand why you love it so much!
Yesterday I wrote that Fracas brought back tons of memories, so with all those links to my childhood I would not chose it for myself. But then there is Bandit… and I am totally falling for Bandit!
Now there is something I am puzzled about: why do you all think that Fracas is so strong?
I'm a girl who used to wear (the original) Opium, Byzance and Ysatis so Fracas still pretty modest to my nose. The only fragrance that freaked my nose out is Carnal Flower.
Fracas is a fragrance that any woman can wear with pride.