July 11, 1954
'Daring!' 'Mad Love!' 'Frantic!'
by Thomas F. Brady
New York Times
Americans spend three to six million dollars a year on perfume during their visits to the French capital. Male Americans buy perfume for their "female connections", although they regard the choice of perfume as a riskful endeavour; the author notes that the male buyer faces the following considerations: "(1) That he mustn't get any perfume on himself because, very logically, he fears he will smell of it; (2) That his choice may amount to a grave indiscretion because certain perfumes have powerful erotic qualities; (3) That he can commit an equally grave indiscretion because many perfumes are used as substitutes for bathing." The typical male tourist buying perfume is described as follows by a Parisian saleswoman: "There are three kinds that I get - the ones with lists who will never deviate from their instructions, the wise ones who place themselves in my hands, and finally the ones who buy Chanel Number Five." The "discreteness" of Chanel No.5's nomenclature (as opposed to names which translate as "My Claw" and "My Sin") serves as a reassuring factor to American buyers. However, trends are changing. Guerlain executive Madeleine des Anges claims that "women have acquired a taste for peppery perfumes since the war" as a result of the "forced" introduction of synthetics; another "expert feminine observer" confirms the idea that florals such as lavender, rose, and lilac are no longer: "Now it's synthetics and spices". The author briefly explores to what extent changes in the nomenclature of perfumes are a result of the increasing use of synthetic ingredients. Finally, perfumer André Fraysse argues that the seven greatest perfumes of France were all created before the 1930s: Lanvin's Arpège, Coty's Chypre, Millot's Crêpe de Chine, Joy by Patou, Chanel's No.5, Fleurs de Rocaille by Caron and Shalimar by Guerlain. He further states: "The daughters of the bourgeoisie today are wearing what the daughters of joy wore in 1900. [...] If an "honest woman" had worn one of the seven great perfumes in 1900 everyone would have believed the worst of her". The author warns that the newcomers in the perfume trade ("dressmakers" such as Schiaparelli) promote eroticism and mysticism in their products; hence, "the American male is well advised to shop with a list and never deviate from its instructions - no matter what the girl in the shop thinks".
June 3, 1958
Custom Perfume Is Taking Cover In Exotic Wraps
by Agnes Ash
New York Times
Short article on "former countess" Nam de Beaufort and her custom-made perfumes. "While she sometimes makes a special batch of perfume for one person, most of her business comes from department stores who order gallons and gallons of "special label" stuff that is sold under the store's name. Other big orders come from manufacturers who use perfumes as "give-aways" for customers who need impressing." She is critical of contemporary men's colognes: "She believes that much of the stuff now on the market is too heady for masculine use. She has just finished a spicy cologne that she describes as "clean, healthy, and virile"." She also emphasizes the importance of bottles and packaging: "American women buy with their eyes. In Europe everyone feels the goods. Here it must look good or it isn't accepted". Nam de Beaufort's showroom was located at 30 East 37th Street in Manhattan, New York.
November 23, 1959
If You Covet This Perfume, Call on a Man
New York Times
Short article on three scents (Nos. I, III, and IV) by Adelaide Chaqueneau, which are sold exclusively to male clients at F.R. Tripler and Rogers Peet stores in New York City. "Wherever the perfume is sold, salesmen have taken an oath not to sell it outright to a woman. She may wheedle, whine or threaten but it takes a man to buy it." The idea was conceived in 1948 by New York financier Julien Chaqueneau, Adelaide's father. Ms. Chaqueneau, now president of the perfume company, offers some suggestions to the reader on how to apply perfume. Furthermore, she states that cologne should be reserved for teenagers and the tennis court. "A woman should find the right perfume, [...] and then wear it constantly. Rather than a different perfume for evenings, she favors one fragrance around the clock but used more lavishly after dark." She adds that men are "very selective" when they buy perfume for a woman they like, and that they are prepared to pay $25 for a half ounce.
June 5, 1972
Perfumes As Fresh As an Early Morn
by Angela Taylor
New York Times
Short article in which the author signals a new trend in perfumery towards lighter perfumes and "early morning brews". Estée Lauder's Alliage and Nina Ricci's Bigarade are examples of these new "sportswear" scents. However, not all companies get involved in the new fad: Charles of the Ritz is "capitalizing on the nostalgia for the twenties and thirties when the word ritzy was even better than today's cool and groovy". The fragrance evoques the taste of champagne at midnight rather than morning grapefruit; thus the author concludes: "but then everyone isn't a sports fan."
August 5, 1979
France vs. U.S.: War of the Noses
by Jane Friedman
New York Times
The perfume industry is becoming increasingly "Americanized". With Yves Saint Laurent's Opium as a forerunner, French companies try to win back some of the lost territory on the US market. On average, French houses have launched 25 new perfumes each year since 1976, but 1979 is expected to show higher figures. "Of the new ones, many are patterned on the more concentrated American scents and designed to sell in the United States." French companies are rethinking their advertising and marketing strategies, looking for ways to attribute "personality" to their products. Revlon and Estée Lauder have become serious contenders to the old French prestige brands: "[...] the French began to succomb to American competition about 10 years ago. In the mid-1960's, American cosmetic companies burst onto the United States perfume market, aided by highly developed sales strategies if not by the liquid in the bottle." Revlon's Charlie and Estée Lauder's Youth Dew, examples of perfumes "meant to appeal to the so-called liberated woman", edged out traditional top-selling perfumes such as Chanel No.5 and Nina Ricci's L'Air du Temps: "both sold about $30 million in annual American sales. The French share in the US market dropped from 20 to 10 percent". American brands turned to Europe, and in England and Germany they beat the French at their own game. Squibb, owner of the French brand Yves Saint Laurent, introduced Opium in the US in September, 1978. Chantal Roos, international marketing manager at YSL Parfums, explains how they decided to make a French perfume with an American smell: "highly concentrated (in a ratio of one part of oil to four parts of liquid), the way Americans like perfumes rather than subtle, the way the French like them." Although Rochas' Mystère and Lancôme's Magie Noire are not copies of Opium, they were made in the same vein, as untraditional French scents. "Opium's inspiration was clearer in the case of Dior which introduced Dioressence in the United States nine years ago as toilet water and decided to launch the perfume in France this year. A company official said the decision was influenced by the success of Opium."
December 26, 1993
Labs Conjure Up Fragrances And Flavors to Add Allure
by Joyce Jones
New York Times
Reporter Joyce Jones visits the Haarmann & Reimer laboratory and headquarters, the chemicals division of Firmenich, and the Ungerer & Company headquarters (all in New Jersey). "The flavor and fragrance industry, which has European roots, first settled in this country in New York City, the center of the fashion industry [...]. In the last three decades, a migration of workers to New Jersey and the need for more space have accelerated the move of fragrance and flavor companies across the river." Differences between natural and synthetic ingredients are discussed; Firmenich's Dr. Fred Stone comments that the industry has failed to overcome the prejudice against synthetics: "The suspicion about flavorings arises from belief that chemicals are bad. [...] A strawberry has a chemical makeup. But chemicals have been equated with poisons and pesticides."