2014: In-house perfumer, Thomas Fontaine, in front of the Jean Patou Paris boutique
The first three fragrances of Jean Patou’s ‘Heritage Collection’, launched in 2014 to celebrate the 100th Anniversary of the house of Jean Patou (1914-2014), comprise a beautiful and sophisticated ‘perfume play’ in three acts, in honor of women and love affairs.
The fragrances were originally created in 1925 by perfumer Henri Alméras as ‘Que Sais-Je?’, ‘Amour-Amour’, and ‘Adieu Sagesse’. In 2014 they were revisited and reformulated by Jean Patou’s in-house perfumer Thomas Fontaine.
Act I: ‘Que Sais-Je?’ (what do I know?) is about flirtation, and the doubts of a first encounter.
Act II: ‘Deux Amours’ (two loves), formerly ‘Amour-Amour’, is about seduction.
Act III: ‘Adieu Sagesse’ (good-bye, wisdom) is about throwing caution to the wind.
Simple , you might think. But, no!
There’s an intriguing little twist to the plot.
Jean Patou modeled each fragrance on a specific woman, a blond, a brunette, and a red head.
‘Que Sais-Je ?’ is a brunette.
‘Amour-Amour’/‘Deux Amours’ is a blond.
‘Adieu Sagesse’ is a red head.
So, how many women are there in this three act play?
This is not explained.
All I can tell you is this.
Jean Patou, the man, in addition to being a visionary fashion and fragrance designer (best known for his seminal fragrance, ‘Joy’, created in 1929), was also a great lover of woman, and knew them well. He, of all people, knew that a woman can change her hair color — and her perfume — almost as fast as she can change her mood! So the answer to the question of how many women there are in the play is…Endless Possibilities!
Speaking for myself, most of the time, or at least, this week, I’ve been ‘Que Sais-Je?’, the brunette. But, then again, last week I was ‘Deux- Amours’, the blond.
Which of these am I really? Which are you? Who’s to know?
The possibility of conveying multiple personalities is just one of the many enticing attributes of perfumery.
So, in addition to being a perfume play, Jean Patou’s trilogy, ‘Que Sais-Je?’, ‘Deux Amours’, and ‘Adieu Sagesse’ invite us to play.
Don’t waste another minute.
1924: Jean Patou aboard La France with his favorite women – blonds, brunettes, and red-heads
Photo courtesy Jean Patou
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