One more address to add to your Parisian perfume pilgrimage: 9 rue Saint-Florentin, right by the place de la Concorde.
This is actually where the couturier Jean Patou (1887-1936) had his boutique and studios: the house stayed at this address from 1914 to 2004. When CEO Bruno Cottard decided to move from the rue de Castiglione, he started his search with the rue Saint-Florentin. Serendipitously, premises were available. So he’s managed to bring Jean Patou back home, which he takes as an excellent omen for the revival of the brand: ultimately, the plan is to reopen the fashion branch.
The boutique is larger and equipped with a couch to sniff at one’s leisure with the Monclins, those cognac glasses with the foot sawed off to let a blotter through that Jean-Michel Duriez introduced when he was Patou’s in-house perfumer. It will soon be decorated with Art Déco furniture owned by the couturier and preserved by his great-nephew Jean De Moüy. Other brands owned by Designer Parfums – including the first Jean-Louis Scherrer, a wonderful green chypre – are also available.
The Jean Patou line-up has been restored by Thomas Fontaine to its original formulas with the help of the former in-house perfumer Jean Kerléo – inasmuch as new regulations would allow. A living encyclopedia, the 80-year-old Kerléo was often able to suggest equivalents for discontinued ingredients.
The “heritage” collection, now comprising Eau de Patou, Chaldée and Patou pour Homme, will soon expand with the three first fragrances launched in 1925 by Jean Patou: the green floral Amour Amour, the gardenia-themed Adieu Sagesse and the fruity chypre Que Sais-je? In 2015, a new trio including L’Heure Attendue, Vacances and a third I couldn’t get confirmation on – my bets are on Normandie or Colony, but it’s definitely not Moment Suprême. The Cocktails might follow.
Joy Forever is being launched in an eau de toilette version for the summer. The woody and musk notes have been toned down. Since musk tends to wrap other notes, going easier on it gives more breathing space to the quintessentially French rose-jasmine and iris-galbanum accords, and I find they express themselves more fully. In fact, Joy Forever edt does just what it says on the label: it’s joyful.
Photos courtesy Jean Patou and www.studiophotosparis.com