I never wanted to wear Fracas until trying it in pure parfum. When smelling the EDP all I got was that big Big BIG tuberose. With a side of tuberose. And then it brings its friends gardenia, orange blossom and jasmine, and the entire thing is lush, feminine and undeniably gorgeous. But the combination, structure and general vibe were too much like the way Karl Lagerfeld's original Chloe used to smell in the late 1970s and early 80s, before they started cheapening the formula. And that means this 1948 Piguet fits my mother perfectly, so I bought her a bottle, got her addicted and promptly crossed Fracas off my list.
Still, I have a thing for Robert Piguet perfumes. Between the history of the house and my beloved Bandit, after a while I was curious enough to give the parfum a chance, and that was when I fell in love.
Fracas parfum holds back a little. It's not just the more restrained sillage but also something in the balance between the flower notes and the greenery. I don't get much (or any, really) jonquil from the EDP, because the tuberose-gardenia combo makes too much olfactory noise for me. The parfum scales it back and the narcissus note emerges beautifully and brings its typical dryness to the front.
I also find the parfum a bit sweeter in the dry-down. Fracas is creamy in every incarnation, but the sandalwood in the extrait is more prominent, rounder and tones down the exuberance of this southern belle. The higher concentration is still an extrovert with a dominant presence and a clear voice, but it also offers more depth and introspection. It has a hidden side- like a beauty queen that writes poetry and is also very good at math.
Notes: bergamot, orange blossom, leafy greens, jonquil, peach, tuberose, jasmine, orris, carnation, rose, sandalwood, musk, moss, cedar, benzoin.
Fracas is the most popular and easiest to find among Robert Piguet perfumes. Many department stores offer the eau de parfum and some also have the parfum ($95, 0.25oz), including Sephora. There's also an entire range of bath and body products that can be purchased directly from robertpiguetparfums.com.
1940s illustration by Roy Best from myvintagevogue.com