Rise of Grasse as Perfumery Center: Story of Scented Gloves

Grasse2

Guild of Glovers was among the most important guilds, and in 1268 it was granted a status of corporation in Paris. Due to the fact that tanning process made use of malodorous nitrogenous wastes, gloves and leather goods had to be scented. Therefore, it would be fair to say that glove-making was an important starting point for the inception of perfumery in France, and particularly in Grasse. “In March of 1673, Colbert’s Ordinance of Commerce put the industry of gantiers-poudriers-parfumeurs on a more stable footing as part of the Six Corps, the six most powerful business societies of the day, with priviledged access to products from overseas” (156).

Leather goods would remain an important part of the luxury industry, however in the 1760s the government introduced high imposts on hides, which crushed the revenues of the gantier-parfumeurs, the glove-making associations. Thus, Grasse retained its prominence in perfumery to this day, since its rival Montpellier had invested much more in glove-making aspect of perfume industry and could not survive the industry collapse.

Reference: Morris, Edwin T. 1984. Fragrance: The Story of Perfume from Cleopatra to Chanel. E.T. Morris and Co., New York.

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10 Comments

  • Campaspe: Slight tangent: I have a little theory, that fear of Scary Viruses is going to have gloves make a comeback. I don’t think this is a bad thing; gloves are beautiful and they protect your hands. My grandmother, in her day, would never go downtown or out into the world without a well-chosen pair of beautiful gloves. November 16, 2005 at 7:56am Reply

  • Tania: F said what I was just about to say: gloves are due for a comeback. I used to volunteer, reading excerpts from popular magazines on a subscription radio service for the blind, and one of my fellow readers was an ancient white-haired woman, always impeccably turned out in a tailored suit, and she always wore white gloves. I have since been on the lookout for a pair of leather gloves lightweight enough for everyday use. In New York, particularly, you feel so gross touching handrails, door handles, posts on the train, that you end up washing your hands incessantly, and then they get dry; it just seems more elegant and nicer to wear gloves. Now that the trim tailored look is back, can we have our gloves again? November 16, 2005 at 10:16am Reply

  • Diane: A picture is 1000 words: http://blogdorfgoodman.blogspot.com/2005/11/cleveland-mua-shopping-event-this-last.html

    They NEED to make a comeback, yes? So elegant, classy, utilitarian, and what a statement. November 16, 2005 at 11:51am Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: F, I love that theory. Gloves would definitely be great. Our D. said that she wears them while driving. I am trying to imagine a look on my profs’ faces if I show up in gloves though. November 16, 2005 at 1:04pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: T, I say that you can pull it off! I am trying to imagine you in that coffee-with-milk suit you wore and beige gloves. The picture is quite lovely in mind! November 16, 2005 at 1:06pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: D, I adore that photo! What a stunning woman she was. Thank you for posting it again.

    I actually start wearing gloves as soon as the weather turns even a tiny bit cooler. Of course, in our parts, it does not happen till December. Today is definitely a t-shirt weather day. November 16, 2005 at 1:08pm Reply

  • Diane: Oy vey, opportunity finally knocks. Explanation: My post disappeared. Then I tried to repost it, but I wasn’t allowed to “post a comment.” ANYway, I am “allowed” to again and so…

    I am surprised you remember my driving gloves. 🙂 I have two–white cotton (so Asian from abroad) and classic black leather with red silk lining [that are frayed, since they were my mother’s from the ’70s].

    One of the reasons that I love winter is the necessity of accessories–hats, scarves, and gloves! Useful for keeping us warm and chic! November 16, 2005 at 3:22pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Oh, sorry! If you cannot post it, then scroll down on that page and enter the letter code. Sometimes it happens to me as well.

    I have a very good memory, although it is selective. Remembering what I have done with my passport is one thing, but your driving gloves are imprinted in my memory. 🙂 I imagine how chic you might look cruising LA streets while wearing your little white gloves! November 16, 2005 at 7:13pm Reply

  • Katie: Oh I love the idea sometimes of gloves, but the reality of actually wearing them is not so ideal for me. I am so very, and pathetically, used to functioning with my long fingernails that covering them with gloves renders me even more klutzy than usual. And fingerless gloves simply don’t say elegance so much as they say work gloves. November 16, 2005 at 8:07pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Yes, long fingernails can be useful. I have not kept my fingernails long for a very long time, because they get in the way when I type. Fingerless gloves are either work gloves or 80s redux. November 16, 2005 at 9:47pm Reply

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