JE REVIENS. 1932.

jereviens

The name “je reviens” translates in “I come back”. This name is the programme of the scent itself, of the House of Worth and it is the hope of millions when in 1939 WWII started.

I doubt if any of it was intended. I daresay that it is the opposite of “Joy” that appeared in 1930 since its creator Jean Patou decided that people needed some comfort after the stock market crash in 1929.

Let me explain why.

The House of Worth

Charles Frederick Worth is considered the father of Haute Couture. He founded his company in 1858 and was the first designer to create fashion shows to inspire his clients. Due to political circumstances he had to close the company in 1870 for an entire year.

As everybody in this field he also began to create perfumes under his name. “Je reviens” appeared in 1932.

In 1956 the company shut its doors for good. So it seemed. In 1999 the House of Worth was revived by Dilesh and Hiteh Mehta. They created Haute Couture. The last fashion show they ran was in fall 2013. Given the company’s history I am not so sure if this was really the last move.

The Frangrance

However, the House of Worth still sells perfumes. Also “Je reviens” kept its promise; it is an evergreen. “Je reviens” contains synthetic ingredients that are completed by natural floral scents and cumaru.

In 2004 there was a new edition of this scent. I am not surprised.
   

SHALIMAR. 1925.

shalimar

Jacques Guerlain was born the grandson of the founder of the House Guerlain in 1847. Jacques’ predecessor was his uncle Aimé Guerlain who also was a renowned creator of perfumes.

One of his creations by the name of “Jicky” is still on the market. The scent was named after Aimé’s son Jacques whose nickname was Jicky.

Shalimar

Shalimar sounds like a story out of “1001 nights” and indeed it is not so far away. The origin of the name Shalimar seems to be unknown but the Shalimar Gardens as famous and inscribed in the World Heritage List.

They were constructed in about 1642 under the reign of Shah Jahan. Legend has it that the reason the gardens existed was a love story. The prince fell in love with Princess Mumtaz Mahal with whom he later had a large family. When she died in childbed he ordered the Taj Mahal being constructed and dedicated it to her.

See, creating a fragrance that matches such a story is quite a challenge.

However, Jacques Guerlain managed this in 1925. The perfume “Shalimar” was a best-seller and nowadays it is an evergreen.

According to Guerlain’s website these are the ingredients:

Shalimar Cologne opens with a luminous, refreshing and sparkling surge of bergamot, lemon and grapefruit.

The Calabrian cocktail then gives way to a heart of freesia, jasmine petal and rose, brought together like a bouquet of freshly-cut flowers.

The composition culminates with an addictive and enveloping base of white musk, vanilla and iris.

Do I need to repeat that it was of course created in the 1920ies when exoticism was discovered so to speak?
     

QUELQUES FLEURS 1912.

quelquesfleurs

The Maison Houbigant is probably one of the oldest perfume manufacturers that still exist. Their company history is full of fame and legends.

Some History

In 1775 a young man by the name of Jean-François Houbigant set up a fragrance shop “à la corbeille des fleurs” (the flower basket) in the very heart of Paris. Houbigant offered what every perfumer offered at that time: selling pomades and perfumes and scenting leather gloves.

Apparently, he did very well since legend has it that Marie-Antoinette made a detour to Houbigant’s shop when she was on her way from Varennes to the guillotine. She took some phials of perfume that should give her the strength to meet her fate. Perfume seems to be agnostic to politics; some years later Napoleon Bonaparte and his first wife Josephine belonged to Houbigant’s clientele. The “royal success” did not end there, many more should follow.

In 1882 the maison Houbigant invented the first male scent that incorporated an artificial ingredient called “coumarin”. It natural substance was first found in Tonka beans that’s French name is “coumarou” or “coumarin”. Some years later, chemists could artificially produce coumarin. That’s when it ended up in the scent “Fougère Royale”.

Quelques Fleurs

In 1912 another milestone followed. “Quelques Fleurs” is the first multi-floral fragrance ever made. When I looked at the ingredients I felt that the entire botany was stuffed in just one bottle, so to speak.

According to Houbigant’s website the original recipe has never been published. But this is what it says:

It is a blend of soft, sensual flowers. Over 250 different raw materials and more than 15,000 flowers are necessary to create just one ounce of Quelques Fleurs Eau de Parfum. Still, today, the fragrance is produced in Grasse, France, where Jean Francois Houbigant first created his perfumes in 1775.

Head notes: Bergamot, Galbanum, Tarragon, Lemon

Heart Notes: Jasmine Absolute, Tuberose, Lily of the Valley, Violet Absolute, Rose Absolute, Ylang Ylang, Carnation, Broom flower Absolute, Orange Blossom, Beewax Absolute, Clove

Base Notes: Oakmoss Absolute, Sandalwood, Civet, Cedarwood, Musk, Orris, Tonka Bean.

Source: houbigant-parfum.com

See what I mean?

“Fougère Royal” and “Quelques Fleurs” can still be purchased today.

Just the location has changed. While Jean-François set up shop in Paris Houbigant resides now in Monaco. However, if you want to try before buying online every well-assorted perfume shop can help you with this.

LA ROSE JACQUEMINOT. 1904.

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François Coty’s huge success began with an accident. But let’s take it step by step.

François Coty was born Joseph Marie François Spoturno in Ajaccio the capital of Corsica. Not only was he born at the same place as Napoleon he also was a distant relative.

After some years in military service Coty met Antoine Chiris a wealthy business man whose family owned a perfume factory in Grasse where Coty started studying the art of perfume making.

La Rose Jacqueminot – 1904

In 1904, during his studies at the Maison Chiris Coty began to work on a scent he named “La Rose Jacqueminot”.

Single floral

“La Rose Jacqueminot” belongs to the fragrance family called single floral. Perfumes of this family are dominated by one heavy floral scent. In our case it is a dark red rose.

Bright floral

There is also a fragrance family called bright floral. These perfumes are also dominated by heavy floral scents such as rose, orchids or iris but also contain benzoin, musk, ambergris. Just one year later Coty creates such a scent by the name of “L’Origan” where he also used ingredients like peach and pepper.

Success!

François Coty was gifted in perfume creation and in marketing which is quite a rare combination. But even he needed luck. One could say that his luck came like a bombshell.

While business went rather slow he accidently dropped a bottle of “La Rose Jacqueminot” in the department store “Les Grands Magasins du Louvre”. This was not just breaking glass but Coty’s breakthrough. The entire place was filled with the scent of “La Rose Jacqueminot”. People were attracted to it like moths to the light and within a few hours Coty’s entire stock was sold out.

The Rose Jacqueminot made him a millionaire.
   

STORIES OF AN INVISIBLE WORLD.

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A women who doesn’t wear perfume has no future. Coco Chanel

You maybe know the novel «Perfume: The Story of a Murderer». The original version’s title is «Das Parfum».

Unlike Coco Chanel’s prediction the women with a very good scent had NO future; especially if they ran into Jean-Baptiste Grenouille.

He would find them, stalk them and eventually coldheartedly kill them. Grenouille did not care about people, beauty; one even is tempted to say that he had no feelings at all. But he had one gift that from the aspect of perfection compensated for the entire rest: his nose. For a good scent he was prepared to go any length and literally killed for it.

Although I would not go this far I can only recommend this book. It changed my olfactory world. Scents are more important than we might believe; and they are everywhere.

Introduction to the Series

Quite some time ago I wrote an  article on perfume for a Canadian magazine where I tried to give an overview on the history of perfume and the different groups in which scents are divided. This post even made it to the printed version.

This post might serve as an introduction in this series. Throughout this series I will present one scent for each century of the last hundred years.

PHILIPPE STARCK.

philippestarck

The French Designer Philippe Starck was born in 1949 and is by no means a Bauhaus student or even a follower. I don’t know how he would feel about it but I daresay that he is something like «Bauhaus in the third generation».

Design for Everything and Everyone

What makes me say so? Well, Monsieur brings design and imagination into literally anything and therefore unites function and design. Just like the Bauhaus school he seems to be a Jack-of-all-trades. By the age of twenty he created cloths for the French fashion designer Pierre Cardin. Later he started designing furniture and household goods.

You literally can have a «Starck household» if you wish to do so. Maybe you want to squeeze your lemons with a tool by the name of «Juicy Salif» that can stand on its own feet or swat annoying flies by a designer tool.

My personal favourite is the chair «Louis Ghost» a combination of Baroque and Modernism. The chair has a Baroque shape, is made of plastic and totally transparent.

For the time being this is the last post of the Bauhaus series which ends «beyond Bauhaus» I just think that Philippe Starck is someone you must know.

– The End –

 

ALESSI.

alessi

I would not go as far as to say the Alessi was Bauhaus. What I would say on the other hand is that they profit (and so do we) from the Bauhaus school and philosophy.

When the company of Giovanni Alessi was founded in Italy in 1921 the manufacture followed the traditional motto “form follows function”.

A change of Paradigm

This changed dramatically after WW2 when Alessi started using stainless steel and made a point when it comes to design.

Some of their design items are symbols for an entire epoch. Their breadbasket is reduced to the max, it came on the market in the 1950ies and represents the style of that decade. Did I just say that? It is still on the market and did not lose any of its appeal.

In 1985 the famous tea kettle came on the market. For the 30iest anniversary Alessi created a limited edition. On this model the whistle is not an ordinary bird but a T-Rex that inspired me to buy one.

 

MAX BILL.

The Swiss designer, painter and architect Max Bill is very much a Bauhaus student with the most famous teachers one can think of: Wassily Kandinsky and Paul Klee to name only two.

What he definitely learned at the Bauhaus is the oneness of all arts and to use the right material for the right thing. And maybe the painter Piet Mondrian whom he met in 1932 influenced him even more.

24 Hours A Day?

While reading about him I came to the conclusion that this man worked 24 hours a day. He created monuments (the one on the picture is in the centre of Zurich) watches, furniture, painted pictures and wrote papers on art theory.

He was born in Berne (Switzerland), lived in Paris, Zurich, Hamburg and died in Berlin in 1994.
   

ACHILLE CASTIGLIONI

achillecastiglioni

«So subtle and so simple; I like it!» – Achille Castiglioni

Achille Castiglioni was born in Milan, Italy and not a student of the Bauhaus. But his philosophy was – as I put it – «Bauhaus inspired». He designed furniture one can only describe as «reduced to the max».

To me he is a fascinating example of how the same philosophy can lead to such different results.

For instance he designed a stool that looks like a bicycle saddle or the chair you see on the image above. I never would have guessed that they have the same creator. Did you?

Light

Achille Castiglioni is one of the most influential Italian designers. He became very famous with the lamps he designed for prestigious companies like Flos or Zanotta .

While Achille died in 2002 his creations are still being produced.

MARIANNE BRANDT.

marianne-brandt

Walter Gropius wanted equality for women and men. Well, even at the Bauhaus equality was a rather theoretical value. Most women did pottery, weaving ore casework.

Not Marianne Brandt (1893 – 1983). Although women were often not welcome in the workshops of “male” professions, Marianne completed an apprenticeship in a metal workshop and soon became a star.

MT 49

On the image you see a tea pot that belongs to an entire set. The name? Sure, you do not expect anything poetic. And you are right. MT 49.

The shape reminds to Art Deco and the materials are boldly combined. The pot itself is made of brass while the handle consists of ebony.

In 1985 the Italian designer Alessi took it up again.

Marianne Brandt also designed ashtrays and other dishes and lamps. After WWII she became a lecturer at a design school in Dresden (Germany) and turned more and more towards fine arts and sculpture.