Cacharel Anaïs Anaïs (1978)

Cacharel’s first perfume, Anaïs Anaïs (1978), was conceived to appeal to the young women, who could not find fragrances that suited them in traditional perfumeries. According to the general manager of Parfums Cacharel, Annette Louit, the concept of the fragrance was duality. It is expressed through the soft, innocent yet sexy feminine fragrance, through picturing two women in advertisements and through its name. The notion may be apparent in the repetition of the name Anaïs but not so much in the significance of the name. The name Anaïs originated from Anaitis, the name of the Greek goddess of fertility and death. The “connotations of birth and death” were befitting to the concept.


An Ad for Anaïs Anaïs (Source: Parfumdepub)


It took 18 months and four Firmenich perfumers (Paul Léget, Roger Pellegrino, Robert Gonnon and Raymond Chaillan) to develop the fragrance. Anaïs Anaïs is constructed around white florals, which comprises hyacinth, orange blossom, tuberose, lily of the valley and jasmine. These were used to interpret the scent of lilies, as they do not produce perfume oil. Other flowers include honeysuckle, carnation, rose, ylang ylang and iris. The heart of the fragrance consisting of sandalwood, musk, cedar, vetiver, amber, leather and incense is warm, rich, spicy, ambery, musky and woody. As the white florals and musky and woody notes are tightly interlaced, Anaïs Anaïs becomes a rather linear fragrance.


Bottle for Anaïs Anaïs (Source: Cacharel)


Anaïs Anaïs is contained within a white opaline bottle made of porcelain, a contrast to the glass bottles that were used for every other perfume. Annegret Beier designed the bottle, which was inspired by an antique toiletry set. The use of porcelain not only created a sense of mystery, but also was stronger than glass and served to protect the perfume from light. Beier drew imaginary flowers on the label that captivated the eye and evoked sensuality.


The fragrance was sold at an affordable price, which was 30 per cent below the price of perfumes from classical brands such as Dior and Givenchy. However, it was as beautiful as the fine perfumes of prestigious brands.




Perfume Legends: French Feminine Fragrances by Michael Edwards (1996), p. 181-185.

The Essence of Perfume by Roja Dove (2010), p. 163.


Dune by Dior (1991)

Related image
1999 Ad for Dune (Source: Parfum de Pub)


Dior’s Dune is an oceanic floral perfume created as a symbol of serenity that Maurice Roger, former head of Parfums Dior, had envisioned: “I wanted to translate the familiar olfactory impressions which we have all experienced at the seaside on a beautiful sunny day, where the dunes meet the countryside, with the alchemy of fragrance of very delicate flowers intensified by an ocean breeze, softly melting into the golden sand.” (Edwards, 1996)


Roger worked to develop Dune with perfumer Jean-Louis Sieuzac for a year, during which Roger kept its name undisclosed and it was known only as P13. The top notes are a fresh, fruity and green combination of bergamot, wallflower, broom and mandarin that fade to reveal a delicate floral heart of rose, jasmine, lily and peony. The fresh and floral notes are a contrast to the rich and warm base of vanilla, amber, musk, lichen and sandalwood.

Hedione (derived from a molecule in jasmine) and Galaxolide (musk derivative) are the principal aroma chemicals in Dune; the former adds vibrancy to the flowers while the latter supplements a musky freshness to the soft but potent fragrance. Also, the blend of broom, amber and lichen provide Dune an oceanic scent.


Véronique Monod and Marie-Christine de Sayn Wittgenstein drew inspiration from master glassmaker Maurice Marinot’s bottles, which he pinched on two sides when the glass was molten, when designing the bottle for Dune. They portrayed the lightness and softness of a dune by adding glass-filled wings to each side of the bottle. To contrast the soft and light shape of the body and make the flacon stand out, they created a spherical cap that sat on a thick collar. The warm, radiant amber-gold color of the bottles’ luster reflects the glow of the sun on sand and dunes.


A limited edition bottle for Dune designed in 1993 by Véronique Monod. (I took a photo of this picture from the Dior: The Perfumes Book because I could not get find a photo online.)




Dior: The Perfumes, Text by Chandler Burr (2014), p. 182-189

Perfume Legends: French Feminine Fragrances by Michael Edwards (1996), p. 271-273

Fidji by Guy Laroche (1966)

Parfum Fidji par Guy Laroche
1981 Ad for Fidji. If I’m not wrong, the slogan translates to Fidji: the perfume of another heaven found.  (Source: Parfum de Pub)


Fidji (1966) by Guy Laroche was the first perfume to associate a couturier’s name with an image – the image of a ‘happy island’. As Guy Laroche was not as prominent as Chanel and Christian Dior, they made a bold move by using American-style marketing techniques, which had never been used to launch a French perfume. Previously, it was suffice to launch a French perfume with a famous name and it was soon evident that marketing could determine the success of a fragrance.


Perfumers were briefed to create a modern version of the floral L’Air du Temps (1948) that was fresh, very floral and easy to wear. The commission was awarded to perfumer Josephine Catapano of International Flavors & Fragrances (IFF), who elaborated on the woody notes of L’Air du Temps. To enhance the naturalness of the fragrance, she injected green notes and a fresh, flowery note. There is a unique airiness to the scent, which is a result of a combination of naturals and chemicals exclusive to Fidji.


Fidji opens with notes of galbanum and ylang ylang, after which the heart of jasmine, Bulgarian rose, tuberose, clove, iris and spices emerges. The perfume concludes with a base of ambergris, musk, patchouli, balsam and sandalwood.


Parfum Fidji par Guy Laroche
1987 Ad for Fidji, featuring the slogan ‘A woman is an island, Fiji is her perfume’ (Source: Parfum de Pub)


An accident led to the creation of Fidji’s flacon. Robert Salmon, who was in charge of Fidji’s development, had taken the cap of a discontinued Lancôme fragrance, Tropiques, with the intention of using it as the cap for Fidji. He dropped the cap, and it landed on the floor upside down; he thought it was a nice shape and used it to make the bottle.


The name Fidji was chosen to invoke a sense of exoticism and mystery of a faraway island. Salmon explained, “We used the slogan ‘A woman is an island, Fidji is her perfume’, because we felt that every woman is unique. By linking the two, we made Fidji the perfume of the unique island, and the unique woman.” (Edwards, 1996)





Perfume Legends: French Feminine Fragrances by Michael Edwards (1996), p. 135-138

The Essence of Perfume by Roja Dove (2010), p. 144

First by Van Cleef & Arpels (1976)

1987 Ad for First (Source: Parfum de Pub)


Van Cleef & Arpels’ First (1976) was not only their first perfume but also the first perfume to be introduced by a jeweler. Pierre Arpels dreamed of producing “a perfume in the image of our jewels” (Edwards, 1996). With the intention of producing an international fragrance, they gave the perfume an English name.


Jean-Claude Ellena is the nose behind the floral aldehydic First, which features Hedione or methyl dihydrojasmonate, which is “derived from a molecule found in jasmine absolute” (Edwards, 1996). To the Hedione, he added cassis (or blackcurrant bud) and created a new and interesting combination. The fragrance opens with sparkling top notes of bergamot, cassis and mandarin. In the heart, Hedione is unveiled along with aldehydes, Turkish rose, narcissus, cloves and ylang ylang. The base notes consist of sandalwood, musk, tonka bean, vanilla and amber.


A Van Cleef & Arpels pendant sparked the idea for the bottle design, created by Jacques Llorente. He used the shape of the pendant for both the bottle and the cap, but widened the body of the bottle and inverted the cap to make the bottle.


It took only six months to create both the fragrance and bottle, which reflect the jewel that is First.



Van Clef & Arpels First : Perfume Review (2004) by Victoria Frolova: (Accessed: 28th Sept 2017)

The Essence of Perfume by Roja Dove (2010), p. 158

Perfume Legends: French Feminine Fragrances by Michael Edwards (1996), p. 165-169

Van Clef & Arpels: (Accessed 27th Sept 2017)

Calandre by Paco Rabanne (1969)

Michael Hy of Givaudan-Roure (formerly Roure Bertrand Dupont) created Paco Rabanne’s first fragrance, Calandre, which was launched in 1969. Rabanne envisioned a shocking, avant-garde perfume that encapsulated the moment of making love in a car in a forest in spring. However, there were difficulties in creating a metallic scent that Rabanne wanted.

Eau de Parfum Bottle for Calandre (Source: Paco Rabanne)


Hy had created fragrances for potential clients and one was chosen, which eventually became Calandre. Its fragrance is not quite the scent of hot bodies and metal Rabanne imagined, and is instead of a floral aldehydic. It was the first fragrance to use a molecule found naturally in oakmoss known as Evernyl, which makes up the woody base notes along with cedar, sandalwood, amber, civet, vetiver and musk. The heart is a floral blend of lily of the valley, ylang-ylang, jasmine, rose and geranium and the top notes consist of bergamot and aldehydes.


Both the design of the bottle and the name was inspired by a Rolls-Royce radiator with its grille. Pierre Dinand created the bottle using a plastic known as ABS to create a frame with a groove that held the bottle. Rabanne thought that the calandre (French for radiator grille) perfectly symbolized the mobility and independence of contemporary women, and captured the essence of all his ideas.


1991 ad for Calandre (Source: Parfum de Pub)



Paco Rabanne Website: (Accessed 21st September 2017)

Perfume Legends: French Feminine Fragrances by Michael Edwards (1996), p. 141-145

The Essence of Perfume by Roja Dove (2010), p. 149

L’Origan by Coty (1905)

L’Origan (1905) was François Coty’s first masterpiece. This floral oriental fragrance inspired the creation of many outstanding compositions throughout the following century, including Guerlain’s L’Heure Bleue, Dior’s Poison and Cacharel’s Loulou.


Ad for L’Origan (Source: Yesterday’s Perfume)


Unlike other perfumers at the time, Coty was willing to use natural absolutes and new synthetics bases. He used two Firmenich bases, which were the sweet, floral and woody methyl ionone base and spicy carnation bouquet, Dianthine, in L’Origan. The base of this fragrance is accompanied by vanilla, musk, coumarin and sandalwood. On this base, a heart of carnation, jasmine, rose, violet and orange blossom is built. Bergamot, ylang-ylang, bergamot and peach make up the top notes.


Baccarat created the original elegant crystal bottles for L’Origan. Subsequently, the flacon designs were created by René Lalique. Initially, Lalique refused Coty’s request to make glass labels for the Baccarat bottles. Coty was taken aback and asked if Lalique was inclined to design a special bottle instead. Since, Lalique has designed over sixteen bottles for Coty.





Perfume Legends: French Feminine Fragrances by Michael Edwards (1996), p. 21-26

The Essence of Perfume by Roja Dove (2010), p. 91

No. 5 by Chanel (1921)

Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel wanted to create “a woman’s perfume with a women’s scent” (Edwards, 2001), one that smelled unlike the soliflores that were fashionable at the time. She believed in the paradox that in order to have a natural scent, the perfume had to be made artificially. Chanel met the Russian perfumer Ernest Beaux through her lover, Grand Duke Dmitri Pavlovich. She enlisted Beaux to create some perfumes, including the aldehydic floral N˚ 5 that was created in 1920 and launched on 5th May the year after.


A Chanel N˚ 5 ad published in Harper’s Bazaar in 1937, in which Gabrielle Chanel promoted the perfume (Source: Chanel)

Beaux presented Chanel with his creations in two sets that were numbered 1 to 5 and 20 to 24. She chose the creation that was numbered 5 and named it N˚ 5 for it was her lucky number. Chanel was afraid that the formula would be easily replicated, so Beaux proposed making “the formula too expensive to imitate” (Edwards, 2001) and instructed him to do so. He began by increasing the level of jasmine absolute, the most expensive ingredient, causing the perfume to turn dark; thus he needed to find a producer to create a lighter-colored absolute and this in turn added to the cost. Furthermore, the additional jasmine softened the effect of aldehydes and consequently, he decided to boost the level of aldehydes.

Estella Warren, photographed by Jean-Paul Gorde, for the N˚ 5 Ad in 1999 (Source: Chanel)

Beaux used three aldehydes, which give a sparkle to the scent of the floral notes and are accompanied by top notes of ylang ylang and neroli. As the scent develops, it reveals notes of Grasse jasmine, Rose de Mai, iris and lily of the valley and a woody base of sandalwood, oakmoss, vetiver, musk, civet and vanilla.


There have been speculations that the overdose of aldehydes in N˚ 5 was a mistake. One of the stories claimed that Beaux’s assistant misunderstood instructions and added ten times the aldehyde amount that Beaux desired. Another states that it was Beaux himself who accidentally added too much of the aldehydes. However, it is extremely likely that Beaux was completely aware of what he was doing and did not made a mistake.


N˚ 5 Parfum Bottle (Source: Chanel)

Inspired by a toiletry bottle and with the belief that the perfume inside was much more significant than the bottle, Chanel designed the simple bottle that encased N˚ 5. The shape of the stopper was inspired by Place Vendôme. She supervised changes to the bottle shape until 1970 and also presented the idea that the box should act as an overcoat that protected and perfectly fitted the perfume bottle. Two rows of pearl-cotton thread are wrapped over a membrane around the neck of the bottle then sealed with wax.


From the simplicity of the bottle and its packaging to Beaux’s use of aldehydes, N˚ 5 was a modern fragrance for its time that has definitely become a timeless masterpiece.




The Essence of Perfume by Roja Dove (2010), p. 102-103

Chanel Website

Perfume Legends: French Feminine Fragrances by Michael Edwards (1996), p. 39-47

Scents and Subversion: Decoding a Century of Provocative Perfume by Barbara Herman, p. 32

The Perfume Bible by Josephine Fairley and Lorna McKay (2014), p. 112