francois coty: 3 posts

The Mixed Legacy of Francois Coty

The Chinese heritage mansion in Georgetown, the capital of Penang island in Malaysia, may not have been the most obvious place to reflect on François Coty had it not been for the perfume flacons on display. The vanity tables in the ladies’ quarters featured L’Aimant scented talcs, cream powders, soaps and colognes. Some boxes were barely touched, with the bottles still set into the artfully rumpled peach satin. That these bottles traveled from France to this Southeast Asian town in the interwar era is a testament to Coty’s marketing genius.

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The man who gave the multi-million dollar fragrance empire his name was a renegade. Decades before Estée Lauder purportedly made it acceptable for women to treat themselves to a bottle of perfume, he revolutionized the industry by breaking some of its rules. Coty cleverly matched the packaging to scents and created eye-catching designs and logos. He offered budget alternatives and scented products, from oils to creams and powders. He didn’t shy away from using new materials, and to this day, the accords he favored qualify as classics. Most of his fragrances charted new avenues in perfumery and set lasting trends.

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Knize Ten : Perfume Review

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Smoky leather and green jasmine… The first time I smelled Coty Chypre I was startled by its wistful aura. For months before Chypre and I finally met I had fantasized about how dramatic and roughhewn it must have been to simultaneously set a new trend and to shock its contemporaries. But as I discovered, Chypre is alluring and harmonious, if not exactly well-behaved. I fell hard for its dark leather accord, which I subsequently spotted in Chanel Cuir de Russie, enjoyed in Robert Piguet Bandit and mourned in the reformulated Parfums Gres Cabochard. Finding Knize Ten is a flashback to the first time I dabbed a few dark drops of Chypre on my wrist and discovered that leather can be devastatingly seductive.

Knize Ten was created in 1924—just seven years after Chypre—by François Coty and Vincent Roubert, and it isn’t surprising that someone who loves the early 20th century perfumes would be taken by it as well. (A perfume lab rumor is that Ernest Beaux also was involved, which makes Knize Ten one of the best collaborative efforts.) More unexpected is how well this gem has weathered the past century. Today the fragrances are reformulated on what seems to be a daily basis, and anything older than a year is likely to be altered. Knize Ten, however, has managed to survive more or less intact. As I’m writing this review, I have the current Eau de Toilette on one wrist and the 1950s formulation on another. The new version is wonderful.

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Coty L’Origan and Francois Coty : Two Legends of Perfume History

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Original:

Rated 4.5 out of 5.0

Reformulation:

Rated 4.5 out of 5.0

Star rating: 5 stars–outstanding/potential classic, 4 stars–very good, 3 stars–adequate, 2 stars–disappointing, 1 star–poor.

If one were to enumerate perfumers who wielded great influence over the course of perfume history, François Coty is among them. A person of great talent and creativity, he gave the world fragrances that would serve as inspirations for many perfumers, despite the fact that he did not have formal perfumery training. Born in Ajaccio, Corsica in 1874, Coty realized that in order to expand the perfume market, the high quality product must be presented in beautiful packaging and at a reasonable price. While marketed as luxury, he deemed that perfume had to be affordable for people of every socio-economic class. While La Rose Jacqueminot (1904) was his first fragrance, incorporating new floral bases, L’Origan (1905) and Chypre (1917) would initiate two new genres of perfumery: soft sweet floral and chypre.

L’Origan (1905) cannot be mistaken for anything but a child of its times. Its soft powdery veil embellished with carnation, violet and heliotrope calls to mind gloves and Edwardian silhouettes. A precursor of Guerlain L’Heure Bleue (1912), L’Origan reveals the same bittersweet anisic top notes that sparkle like diamond dust in its powdery cloud. …

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