Sunday, March 14, 2010

Paris by Coty (Vintage Perfume)


In 1921, many years before YSL has commissioned Sophia Grojsman to create Paris, François Coty had his own vision for a perfume capturing the city. It's interesting to note that Coty's Paris was a contemporary of Chanel No. 5, one of those fragrances that say "French Perfume" from the very first whiff. I've never smelled No. 5 in its most original form (if some well-meaning but utterly misguided Chanel rep is going to jump in with the "Chanel No. 5 is the same as ever" line I'm going to throw something heavy at them), and my bottle of Coty Paris doesn't go quite as far back (it's most likely from the late 1960s), but I suspect that there were some similarities there, at least in the general feel of the two perfumes.

Octavian Coifan's breakdown of Paris' formula reveals an aldehydic floral with a typical (to that period) rich, animalic base. What I smell from both the EDT and the Parfum de Toilette  I've tried is a somewhat abstract floral heart- the specific seems to have been blurred and smoothed over the years, so I can't say I get any hyacinth or lilac (though I definitely wish I had). It's very full and round, though the EDT is sharper, as is usually the case. The next phase is a delicious heliotrope-peach. It's beautiful and very satisfying, making me think not so much of a ripe peach or its skin, but of the stone inside.

The lovely almost-sweet-but-not-quite lasts for hours. I've been decanting into a small spray atomizer, because the perfume grabs the skin better when sprayed. It feels womanly and sexy in a rich, understated way. Is it very Parisienne? I'm not sure- Paris for me is just as much about Guerlain, Lutens and the other usual suspects. What's obvious is that we all lost a large piece of perfumery's history when Coty turned its back on tradition and quality and signed Jennifer Lopez and Shania Twain (Coty the company, that is. Monsieur Coty has been rolling in his grave for many decades by that time).

Paris, like many of Coty's original classics was discontinued years ago. Bottles pop up on eBay from time to time.

Original Coty Paris perfume ad: okadi.com

4 comments:

  1. I have a sample of Coty Paris from the lovely Donna and am eager to try it. (Also have a sample of Les Muses, but can't find any notes or info on it anywhere at all - do you have any information on that one? Thanks in advance, and to be honest I don't expect that you do, I'm just hoping. :) )

    Coty was always about making fragrance available to the less-affluent. It's a shame that they've gone to *such* cheap formulas, however. Vintage Emeraude is a thing of stunning beauty, not the cheap trashy ghost of itself you can buy in the drugstore these days.

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  2. Sorry, I have no info on Les Muses. I'm also very curious about the original Coty perfumes . They are on my "to explore" list.

    One of the Paris samples I have is also from our wonderful Donna. It's interestingto note how the perfume varies between years and concentrations.

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  3. Hello Gaia,

    My first time posting here, though a long-time reader. I managed to get ahold of a small bottle of Paris on eBay and I get a similar impression to yours, an abstract floral. I cannot detect any animalic base, but I have been dabbing so far, so I'll try decanting it into a spray bottle. Coincidentally, I read a book called "Coty: Fragrance, Power, Money" where the author asserts that Paris was Coty's top-seller in England. It seems fitting, since the English have such a long tradition of gardening.

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  4. I just scored an vintage Paris gift set (circa 1960s) which includes the parfum de toilette. Lovely lilac with a zing of carnation. The almond-heliotrope note IS like a peachstone-- I love your perception of that, too true. Thanks for this review!

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