We’re back with Jan Moran! She’s graciously agreed to write up a guest post for us, so let’s all pay attention and learn about perfumes!
Hello Selah, great to join your blog today! During my blog tour, I’ve been talking about the writing experience, but today I thought I’d share something different. My novel, Scent of Triumph, is a historical story woven with romantic suspense. It features a young French perfumer, so on this tour stop I’ll showcase some provocative perfumes of the period.
In Scent of Triumph, the protagonist, Danielle Bretancourt, has a number of encounters with perfumers and popular perfumes. Fragrance and aromas are her professional frame of reference, so vintage perfumes are threaded throughout the book.
So, to whet your appetite, here are two striking fragrances that were considered avant-garde when they were introduced. Today, they’re just as intriguing.
Bandit by Robert Piguet (1944) – Bandit is a classic fragrance developed during World War II for couturier Robert Piguet by Roure perfumer Germaine Sellier. It is a delightfully wicked blend of sultry spices and florals with a long-lasting base of woods and musk, and the interesting of addition of leathery note. Who wore it? None other than the sultry actress-turned-spy Marlene Dietrich.
Swiss-born Piguet apprenticed under couturier Paul Poiret in glamorous 1920 Paris. By 1928 he had his own salon, specializing in couture creations for petite, youthful women. Christian Dior once said that he learned from Piguet “the virtues of simplicity…how to suppress.” Piguet is often credited with “the little black dress.”
Piguet was a man with a rebel heart, both in design and by action. In 1944, he introduced Bandit in a provocative manner, with runaway models in black bandit masks brandishing toy guns and knives. Remember, this was 1944. During the German occupation of France, Piguet defied Nazi orders to relocate to Berlin, remaining in Paris, in business, for the duration of World War II.
Jicky by Guerlain (1889) – Jicky is a fresh fougère from Guerlain that has endured for more than a century. Citrus, lavender, vanilla, and amber form the dominant accords of the classic fragrance, a scent that may be worn by men or women.
The Jicky story began in the 1850s when Aimé Guerlain was living in England, studying chemistry and medicine. He fell in love with a woman he nicknamed Jicky, but when he asked for Jicky’s hand in marriage, her family would not allow it. He returned to Paris alone and brokenhearted.
More than thirty years later, Aimé Guerlain honored the great love of his life by creating a fragrance that bore her nickname. Guerlain found that when he blended vanilla and vanillin for the base note of Jicky, the result was a rounder, full-bodied fragrance. For the floral notes, he discovered a new solvent technology that produced a potent pure flower essence. Jicky was a breakthrough modern blend that utilized revolutionary technology in the perfumer’s palette.
But the year was 1889, and respectable women wore light, single flower scents such as lavender, violet, or rose, or simple bouquets. With its notes of citrus, florals, woods, and spices, Jicky was considered strong and scandalous among proper ladies. The only women who wore such distinctive fragrances were prostitutes, who presumably mixed strong fragrances so potential clients could identify them on the dark streets.
Soon men who wanted to be slightly provocative began to wear it. By 1912 women’s fashion magazines began to praise it and women embraced the complex fragrance once considered scandalous. Today, more than one hundred years later, the original formula Jicky remains popular with women and men. So who has worn it? Fans include the legendary Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, bombshells Joan Collins and Brigitte Bardot, and 007 agents Sean Connery and Roger Moore.
Scent of Triumph is the story of Danielle Bretancourt, a talented young French perfumer with a flair for fashion and a natural olfactory gift. In the language of perfumery, she is a Nose, with the rare ability to recognize thousands of essences by memory. The story opens on the day England declares war on Germany, and Danielle and her family are caught in the midst of a raging disaster sweeping across Europe.
Her life takes a tragic turn when her husband and son are lost behind enemy lines. She spies for the French resistance, determined to find them, but is forced to flee Europe with fragments of her family. Destitute, she mines her talents to create a magnificent perfume that captures the hearts of Hollywood’s top stars, then gambles again to win wealth and success as a couturier. Her intelligence and flair attracts the adoration of Jonathan Newell-Grey, of England’s top shipping conglomerate, and Cameron Murphy, Hollywood’s most charismatic star.
Danielle charts her course through devastating wartime losses and revenge; lustful lovers and loveless marriages; and valiant struggles to reunite her family. Set between privileged lifestyles and gritty realities, here is one woman’s story of courage, spirit, and resilience.
Jan Moran writes smart, stylish, sensual sagas. She’s also written several books on perfume.
“My most recent book, SCENT OF TRIUMPH, was inspired by my love of perfumery and history. In writing, I drew upon my own family history and my mother’s memories of World War II, imagining a young entrepreneur whose talent, determination, and fearlessness catapult her to the pinnacle of success, despite mounting personal tragedies and the elusiveness of love.
“I write about strong, capable, female entrepreneurs. I’m a world traveler, so I also enjoy writing about different destinations.”
Jan Moran is the author of SCENT OF TRIUMPH, a historical novel, and FABULOUS FRAGRANCES I and II, which earned spots on the Rizzoli Bookstore bestseller list. She is at work on more series in fiction and nonfiction.
As a fragrance and beauty expert, she has been featured in numerous publications and on television and radio, including CNN and Extra, Women’s Wear Daily, Allure, InStyle, and O Magazine. As an editor and writer, she has covered fragrance, beauty, and spa travel for a variety of publications.
Thanks so much again to the lovely Jan Moran for providing so much interesting information about herself, her book, and about perfumes! I don’t know about you, but I can’t wait to curl up with this book! There’s also a tour-wide giveaway going on, so be sure to check out the Rafflecopter HERE