Hello and welcome! Please understand that this website is not affiliated with Coty in any way, it is only a reference page for collectors and those who have enjoyed the classic fragrances of days gone by.

The main objective of this website is to chronicle the history of the Coty fragrances and showcase the bottles and advertising used throughout the years.

However, one of the other goals of this website is to show the present owners of the Coty perfume company how much we miss the discontinued classics and hopefully, if they see that there is enough interest and demand, they will bring back these fragrances!

Please leave a comment below (for example: of why you liked the fragrance, describe the scent, time period or age you wore it, who gave it to you or what occasion, any specific memories, what it reminded you of, maybe a relative wore it, or you remembered seeing the bottle on their vanity table), who knows, perhaps someone from the current Coty brand might see it.

Also, this website is a labor of love, it is a work in progress and is always being updated with new information as I can find it, so check back often!

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Chanel No. 5 and Coty

Chanel No. 5 and Coty

There is a rumor that has been going around since the 1920's. It seems that some people believe that Francois Coty was the inventor of Chanel No.5. People maintain that Chanel No. 5 was an act of industrial espionage and that its formula was stolen from a competitor's laboratory in the south of France. This theory is part of that long, tangled history that connected Coco Chanel and her friend - and -competitor - Francois Coty.

As Edmond Charles-Roux tells it: "The development of No.5 …proceeded in a rather heavy atmosphere reminiscent of the whispered machinations that herald a palace revolution…Plenty of intrigue, sudden reversals and secret alliances. Nothing was missing from the script not even the spectacular disappearance of one of Coty’s top chemists. The deserter fled, clutching to his bosom the fruit of long years of research: the formula for a perfume Coty could not make up his mind to put on the market because it cost so much to produce. That was one reason why this chemist went over to the enemy: he was afraid his invention would never be available to the public…Was his name Ernest Beaux? All queries being met by the impenetrable silence of those who know, we must be content to leave this point in darkness. But one thing is certain: about seven years later, Coty was producing a perfume that was almost exactly the same as Chanel No. 5. But although I sold tolerably well, L’Aimant never made a dent in the Chanel market.”

A closer look revealed a crazy mixed-up, story. On the other hand Yvonne Coty always claimed that Chanel No. 5 was named not after the number of the fragrance vial but after the number of “a station in Coty’s laboratory at either Suresnes or at the Rallet Factory in the south of France.” She seemed to believe that there was some possible buried connection. However, Ernest Beaux never worked for Coty. He has spent his entire career at Rallet, so he couldn’t have been the fleeing chemist. Perhaps it was another perfumer at Coty who absconded with the formula and passed it along to Ernest Beaux - who then handed it to Coco Chanel. One thing is for certain, in 1927, as Charles-Roux says, someone at Coty did have a copy of the Chanel No. 5 formula or something extremely similar to it. Coty’s fragrance L’Aimant, launched that year, was too close to have been any kind of accident. The question remains, did Coty have the formula all along and was Chanel No. 5 the copy?

There is a perfectly simple reason why Coty had a copy of the formula for a Chanel No. 5 perfume in 1927. A year before, Coty’s massive company had swallowed up one of his smaller competitors, the Chiris perfume house. Coty had been closely involved with the operations at Chiris for several decades. At the turn of the century, he has trained in their labs and became business partners with several of the owners of that family company. Since WWI, he has acted as those Chiris was his business alone, in many ways and its perfume “his” holdings. It was this sense of proprietorship that would fuel an intense and not always friendly spirit of competition between Coty and Coco Chanel.

In 1926, Coty had formally purchased the business and all of its holdings, which included the A. Rallet & Co perfume outfit. All the info that Coty needed to produce his own version of Chanel No.5 was sitting right there in the archives. But the name on top of that formula was not Chanel. No. 5. What he had acquired was the recipe for another perfume, one that was invented in 1914. It smelled unmistakably like Chanel No. 5, for one simple reason: it was the secret scent behind the world’s most famous perfume. This time, the crazy story was true. 

Most of this info was taken from the book "Secret of Chanel No. 5".

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