This year two formidable classics celebrate their sixtieth anniversaries. Robert Piguet Fracas (1948) will turn 65, while Estée Lauder Youth Dew (1953) will mark its 60th year. These remarkable fragrances elicit strong emotions and inspire us even today. Youth Dew set the trend for rich orientals, while no tuberose perfume can be spared a comparison with Fracas.
These perfumes are also notable because they were created by two of the first female perfumers: Germaine Cellier and Josephine Catapano, respectively. The perfume industry of the 1940s and 50s was a boy’s club. In 1947, Donald William Dresden wrote in his article, The Twenty “Noses” of France, “Only a few people have the supersense of smell necessary to become a Nose—for reasons known only to Noses themselves, no woman has ever had it…” Dresden, reporting for the New York Times, simply reiterated what he heard around Grasse, France, the main perfumery hub of those days.