Thursday, June 03, 2010

Complice de Francois Coty (Vintage Parfum)

The photo at the top and Complice have something in common. Both are from 1973 but were made to look and feel about 40 years older. The early 1970s were about the last time Coty (the company) actually cared about making real perfumes instead of regurgitating lame formulas for even lamer celebrities.  The notes for Complice were left by Francois Coty before his death in 1934, hence the direct reference to him on the bottle and box. The bottle design was also made to evoke the days of yore, when Coty perfumes were poured into Lalique bottles.

Complice has a very aldehydic opening, which makes the husband wrinkle his nose, shrug and say it smells "like vintage" (interestingly enough, he's learned to recognize Chanel aldehydes, vintage or not, and no longer complain about them). My bottle is old enough that the other top notes, bergamot and orange blossom, have been eaten by time and aldehydes. Thankfully, the floral part takes over pretty quickly, and it is dry, elegant and quite lovely. You can argue about the peach and lilac (I get the former, though not the latter), but what makes Complice so attractive to me is a long lasting heart of orris and narcissus. It's borderline bitter and feels  almost formal in its crispness.

The drydown, mossy, woody with just a hint of animalic heat feels like coming home, kicking the high heels, unbuttoning the white shirt just a little and taking out the pins holding your hair up. At this point the perfume is not very feminine in today's standard, but I find it quite sexy and I suspect other vintage and oakmoss fiends would feel the same way.

Complice was discontinued by Coty about 25-30 years ago. Bottles can still be found online here and there. I have the parfum in the bottle you see in the ad, but have never tried the EDT.

Fashion photo from British Vogue, 1973 (
1976 Complice de Francis Coty ad (


  1. I love that the Blond is constantly interested enough to test these. Can we have him cloned?

  2. Beautiful bottle... and as a vintage-lover, I'm intrigued. Heading over to ebay now.

  3. Just bought an old eu de toilette atomiser in the original packaging .... oh, the memories of the fragrance! Complice was my first 'grown up' perfume - I bought it at the age of 16 when working my first job. It is such a beautiful fragrance!!! Wish it was still being made

  4. the notes for complice were not left by François Coty before his death in 1934 but elaborated in 1973 by Jean-Pierre Weil who died recently when he was technical director of création aromatiques.


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