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.
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.
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.