Canasta, the 1950 perfume from Jacques Fath, is now all but forgotten. All we have are the vintage ads you see above (dating 1950-1958) and the (very) random old bottle one may come across on eBay or at an antique store. The ad convey a certain mischievousness, along with that 1950s sensual glamour that was not devoid of playfulness. Looking at fashion shots and illustrations of Jacques Fath's work, the stunning evening gowns along with the attention-grabbing hats, one may get the context and atmosphere that surrounded Canasta.
Smelling and wearing Jacques Fath's Canasta, it is very clearly a fruit chypre. I have a miniature bottle bottle of the extrait de parfum (part of a Jacques Fath coffret), and when I acquired it I was not sure what state the juice within would be. As I uncorked Canasta for the first time I was stunned by the vividness of the fragrance, including the zesty top notes. The body of Canasta is smooth and solid, quite plummy with a hint of Mitsouko-ish peach and something that makes me think of dark and fragrant cherry liqueur. It's not particularly sweet, and has that dignified elegance we tend to expect of French perfumes of that era. Canasta is as womanly as they come, cinched waist, silk hosed and meticulously gloved. The dry-down is wonderfully oakmossed, enough to send us all into a pre-IFRA coma. I think I also smell some patchouli, beautifully aged and almost smoky.
They no longer make them like that. What a shame.