jeudi 17 avril 2014

Patou comes home


One more address to add to your Parisian perfume pilgrimage: 9 rue Saint-Florentin, right by the place de la Concorde.

This is actually where the couturier Jean Patou (1887-1936) had his boutique and studios: the house stayed at this address from 1914 to 2004. When CEO Bruno Cottard decided to move from the rue de Castiglione, he started his search with the rue Saint-Florentin. Serendipitously, premises were available. So he’s managed to bring Jean Patou back home, which he takes as an excellent omen for the revival of the brand: ultimately, the plan is to reopen the fashion branch.

The boutique is larger and equipped with a couch to sniff at one’s leisure with the Monclins, those cognac glasses with the foot sawed off to let a blotter through that Jean-Michel Duriez introduced when he was Patou’s in-house perfumer. It will soon be decorated with Art Déco furniture owned by the couturier and preserved by his great-nephew Jean De Moüy. Other brands owned by Designer Parfums – including the first Jean-Louis Scherrer, a wonderful green chypre – are also available.

The Jean Patou line-up has been restored by Thomas Fontaine to its original formulas with the help of the former in-house perfumer Jean Kerléo – inasmuch as new regulations would allow. A living encyclopedia, the 80-year-old Kerléo was often able to suggest equivalents for discontinued ingredients.

The “heritage” collection, now comprising Eau de Patou, Chaldée and Patou pour Homme, will soon expand with the three first fragrances launched in 1925 by Jean Patou: the green floral Amour Amour, the gardenia-themed Adieu Sagesse and the fruity chypre Que Sais-je? In 2015, a new trio including L’Heure Attendue, Vacances and a third I couldn’t get confirmation on – my bets are on Normandie or Colony, but it’s definitely not Moment Suprême. The Cocktails might follow.

Joy Forever is being launched in an eau de toilette version for the summer. The woody and musk notes have been toned down. Since musk tends to wrap other notes, going easier on it gives more breathing space to the quintessentially French rose-jasmine and iris-galbanum accords, and I find they express themselves more fully. In fact, Joy Forever edt does just what it says on the label: it’s joyful.

Photos courtesy Jean Patou and www.studiophotosparis.com

Patou rapatrié

Encore une adresse à ajouter à votre carnet parisien: le 9 rue Saint-Florentin, métro Concorde.

C’est justement à cette adresse que Jean Patou avait établi sa maison. Elle y est demeurée de 1914 à 2004. Lorsque Bruno Cottard, président de la marque, a décidé de quitter la rue de Castiglione, c’est par là qu’il a commencé sa recherche. Coïncidence de bon augure : il y a trouvé des locaux disponibles. Il a donc pu ramener Jean Patou chez lui, première étape d’une renaissance qui comportera, espère-t-il, celle de la maison de mode.

Plus vaste que celle de la rue de Castiglione, la boutique propose un canapé pour humer ses parfums tranquillement grâce aux fameux Monclin, ces verres à cognac au pied scié pour laisser passer une mouillette introduits par Jean-Michel Duriez lorsqu’il était parfumeur-maison. Elle sera bientôt décorée de meubles Art Déco ayant appartenu au couturier, préservés par son petit-neveu Jean De Moüy. Les autres marques appartenant à Designer Parfums – dont le premier Jean-Louis Scherrer, un superbe chypre vert – y sont également proposées.


 Jean Kerléo a fourni à Thomas Fontaine les formules originales de la collection, afin qu’il puisse en rapatrier en France la fabrication tout en les mettant aux normes réglementaires. L’ancien parfumeur-maison de Patou, encyclopédie vivante, a aussi pu suggérer des matières premières de substitution lorsque les ingrédients d’origine ont disparu.

La collection Héritage, qui comprend aujourd’hui Eau de Patou, Chaldée et Patou pour Homme, s’enrichira sous peu des trois premiers parfums lancés en 1925 par Jean Patou : le floral vert Amour Amour, Adieu Sagesse construit autour du gardénia, et le merveilleux chypre fruité Que Sais-je ? Puis, en 2015, L’Heure Attendue, Vacances et sans doute Normandie ou Colony, mais pas Moment Suprême. Les Cocktails suivront sans doute.

Une version eau de toilette de Joy Forever, déshabillée en partie de ses notes boisées et musquées, est désormais proposée pour l’été. Puisque le musc tend à envelopper les autres notes, cet allègement offre plus de respiration et d’espace de résonance aux beaux accords classiques rose-jasmin et iris-galbanum, qui me semblent s’exprimer plus pleinement dans cette déclinaison.

Photos courtesy Jean Patou et www.studiophotosparis.com


lundi 14 avril 2014

A Petition to Defend Perfume




Last February, perfume aficionados went into overdrive as the European Commission opened its public consultation on upcoming fragrance allergens regulations. As I reported (click here to read the post), the situation is less dire than we could have feared, since what is basically proposed concerns labeling rather than a slew of bans and restrictions that would kill off the art of perfumery altogether.

Among niche perfume brand owners, opinions are divided. Some consider that this amendment is just a prelude to actual restrictions or bans and are gearing up for a fight. Others consider that the issue is not Europe (or IFRA), but the big companies that fiercely oppose labeling allergens, since this would compel them to admit even their allergen-free cosmetics contain them.

Meanwhile, the perfume community has not been inactive. I would like to salute the huge task accomplished by members of the Parfumo.net discussion board, who stopped tearing their hair out, rolled up their sleeves and produced a well-considered, comprehensive document that has been sent to the European Commission within the framework of the public consultation.

Parfumo.net has summed up its main arguments in a petition which you can consult and sign by clicking here.

Illustration: The Abduction of Europa by Gustave Moreau.