Today I have the opportunity to welcome author Jan Moran to The Maiden's Court. Moran is the author of Scent of Triumph and is here today to talk about the vintage perfumes: Fracas and Indiscret. Stay tuned at the end of the post for a chance to enter a tour wide giveaway.
Fracas and Indiscret
Guest Post by Jan Moran, Author of
Scent of Triumph
Thank you for allowing me to take over your blog for today to celebrate the debut of SCENT OF TRIUMPH, my historical novel from St. Martin’s Press. SCENT OF TRIUMPH is about a French perfumer and couturier during World War II, and I drew a great deal on my prior background in the perfume industry. (I created a touch-screen fragrance finder, which Sephora acquired and branded FragranceIQ.)
The main character in the story is Danielle Bretancourt. As an artist, she often observes the world through her olfactory sense, or her sense of smell, which is well trained. As I researched and wrote, I paid particular attention to historical fragrances.
The history behind these perfumes—of their perfumers and couturiers—is often fascinating. The stories of the couturiers behind Fracas (Robert Piguet) and Indiscret (Lucien Lelong) reveal many World War II hardships. In fact, both fell from the market, and decades later, each one of these perfumes was resurrected and relaunched, so they are still available today.
Fracas is an explosive tuberose fragrance, a romantic harbinger of spring. Created by Germaine Cellier, one of the few female perfumers of the 1940s, Fracas is a post-World War II era fragrance, and reflects the joy that people felt after the end of the war. Indiscret, from couturier Lucien Lelong, hails from 1936, but Lelong was professionally active during World War II, and was lauded for keeping the fashion industry in Paris alive during the war.
For SCENT OF TRIUMPH readers, Indiscret would have been in vogue at the beginning of the book, while Fracas would correspond to the period at the end of the book.
Fracas by Robert Piguet (1948) – Fracas, by Parisian couturier Robert Piguet, is a classic French floral bouquet, bursting with the white flowers for which Grasse is famous. Fracas, meaning “violet noise” in French, is a cacophony of tuberose, an expansive white floral. The tuberose flower has a scent so intense, a single stalk will drench a room with intoxicating, sensual scent. Free-spirited female perfumer Germaine Cellier created the Fracas formula for Piguet, which was launched just after World War II.
Piguet was known for his designs of simple elegance. During World War II, Nazi orders directed the top couture houses to relocate to Berlin. Piguet rebelled and resisted, and rode out the war in occupied Paris, continuing his work in fashion and fragrance. During this period he commissioned Cellier to develop Fracas and Bandit, two fragrant points of light in a dark time of history. Today, after a lengthy absence, both fragrances have returned to the market.
Heady, mysterious, frank sensuality—the hallmark of Fracas is obvious. It’s retro-glamour at its finest.
Indiscret by Lucien Lelong (1936) – Indiscret is one of the great classic fragrances of the twentieth century and the legacy of Lucien Lelong, renowned French couturier. Introduced in 1936, this magnificent perfume faded from the scene after Lelong’s death, but was lovingly resurrected in 1997 by until Lelong perfume and couture collectors Arnold Hayward Neis and his wife, Lucy de Puig Neis.
Rich and dramatic, Indiscret is a fragrance of impeccable pedigree. After being awarded the French Croix de Guerre for his efforts in World War I, Lucien Lelong opened his first maison de couture in 1919. By 1937, he was elected president of the French Fashion Syndicate, the Chambre Syndicale de la Couture Française.
While Nazi troops occupied France from 1940 to 1945, Lelong toiled to keep the French fashion industry alive by foiling German attempts to move the industry to Berlin. He is widely credited with maintaining the fashion industry in Paris during World War II and, in the process, keeping some three hundred thousand people employed in various aspects of the industry. Among Lelong’s staff were Hubert de Givenchy, Christian Dior, and Pierre Balmain, who later made their own marks in the world of fashion and fragrance.
In 1924, Lelong embarked upon his fragrant journey by establishing the Societé des Parfums Lucien Lelong. A prolific entrepreneur, he created more than twenty-five fragrances. Among them were lettered scents: N (for his wife, Princess Nathalie Paley), J, L, A, B, and C. Many of his fragrances masqueraded under different names in English-speaking markets: La Première (Opening Night), Orgueil (Pride), Joli Bouquet (Pretty Bouquet), Murmure (Whisper), and Mon Image (My Image). One of the most popular of these scents was Indiscret, the scent Arnold and Lucy Neis chose to commemorate the ideals of Lucien Lelong.
Indiscret, meaning “indiscreet,” was reformulated with care by the French perfume house of Mane. The dramatic soul of the original formula prevails: sensual, captivating, expressive, sophisticated. Yesteryear’s glamour is artfully blended with a new, modern attitude. Today’s Indiscret features fresh top notes of mandarin, orange blossom and orange flower, with a green lift of galbanum. Following is an intensely feminine heart of jasmine, rose, and tuberose, with a twist of cypress and violet leaves, and finishing with a sultry, long-lasting base of sandalwood, amber, and vetiver. Indiscret is a fragrance for the art of grand living.
A sculptor and glass collector, Lelong favored glass for his bottle designs. Most of Lelong’s many and varied bottles are priceless collectibles today. In designing the Indiscret bottle, Lelong draped a silk handkerchief and said, “That is how I want the Indiscret bottle to look—as if they were folds of classical drapery.” Bottle designer Marc Rosen served as a consultant in the re-creation of the Indiscret bottle. Faithful to Lelong’s original vision, Indiscret is captured in a frosted glass bottle, then nestled in brilliant fuschia satin, and boxed in shades of black and gold.
Finally, with deep admiration, this author bids a fond adieu to the man who left this world the day she entered it (May 10th). Perhaps we passed in the corridor of life…
In SCENT OF TRIUMPH, the protagonist, Danielle Bretancourt, is a third generation perfumer. Perfumery is her profession and her passion, so genuine vintage perfumes from the period were important to the story and setting. As you might imagine, I could only include a small amount of historical detail without slowing down the saga, so I compiled some of this research into another book, VINTAGE PERFUMES. For a limited time, if you buy SCENT OF TRIUMPH, simply email a receipt or a take a selfie with the book or your ereader, and I’ll send you a free digital PDF edition of Vintage Perfumes as a thank-you.
If you’re in a book club, or want to experience vintage perfumes as you read, I’ve included a Reader’s Guide in the book, and a vintage perfume “aromatrack” on my site so you can explore more classic perfumes. Thank you again to my host, and I hope everyone enjoys reading SCENT OF TRIUMPH.
Jan Moran is a Rizzoli bestselling and award winning author. She writes historical women’s fiction for St. Martin’s Press, contemporary women’s fiction, and nonfiction books. Her stories are smart and stylish, and written with emotional depth. Jan often draws on her international travel and business experiences, infusing her books with realistic details. The Midwest Book Review and Kirkus have recommended her books, calling her heroines strong, complex, and resourceful.
Jan has been featured in numerous publications and on television and radio, including CNN, 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 such as Cosmopolitan, Elle, Costco Connection, and Porthole Cruise.
A perfume and beauty industry expert, she is the creator of Scentsa, a touch screen fragrance finder in Sephora stores.
From Jan: “I love smart and fierce female protagonists. I hope you enjoy these books, and if you’d like to Skype me into your book club meeting, simply send me a message!”
The Scent of Triumph
When French perfumer Danielle Bretancourt steps aboard a luxury ocean liner, leaving her son behind in Poland with his grandmother, she has no idea that her life is about to change forever. The year is 1939, and the declaration of war on the European continent soon threatens her beloved family, scattered across many countries. Traveling through London and Paris into occupied Poland, Danielle searches desperately for her the remains of her family, relying on the strength and support of Jonathan Newell-Grey, a young captain. Finally, she is forced to gather the fragments of her impoverished family and flee to America. There she vows to begin life anew, in 1940s Los Angeles.
Through determination and talent, she rises high from meager jobs in her quest for success as a perfumer and fashion designer to Hollywood elite. Set between privileged lifestyles and gritty realities, Scent of Triumph is one woman’s story of courage, spirit, and resilience.
Now what you have all been waiting for...the giveaway!! The giveaway is for one signed copy of Scent of Triumph.
This is a tour-wide giveaway and the rules are provided to me by the tour company. Good luck!
- Giveaway starts on April 1st at 12:01am EST and ends at 11:59pm EST on April 17th.
- Giveaway is open to residents in the US only and you must be 18 or older to enter.
- Winners will be chosen via GLEAM on April 18th and notified via email.
- Winners have 48 hours to claim prize or new winner is chosen.
- Please email Amy @ email@example.com with any questions.
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