Last week, on December 14, 2013, TV3 aired a fifty-two minute documentary on the house of Guerlain which will surely be of interest to all francophone perfume lovers. The short film, directed by Geneviève Vaudran, traces the early history of the house of Guerlain and offers glimpses into many aspects of the recent changes as well. Among the highlights are:
- Thierry Wasser is featured in many scenes and at one point toes the IFRA line, reporting that rose, ylang-ylang and jasmine may be hazardous to your health--not only allergenic, but ... carcinogenic!
- At a dinner out with Wasser, Alberto Morillas corrects Jacques Cavallier's characterization of the three men as "artists", saying that in fact they are "artisans".
- Several attractive celebrities, including Jade Jagger (Why? you may ask) share their early encounters with perfume.
- According to Guerlain, the first truly modern perfume was not Chanel no 5 (for its aldehydes), but Jicky, for its coumarin!
- The house of Guerlain version of the story of post-World War II G.I.s on the Champs-Elysées: they were lined up to buy ... L'Heure Bleue!
- Soap (glorious soap!) was an important part of the early house of Guerlain output.
- A brief treatment of the "racist slur scandal" involving Jean-Paul Guerlain (when he said he worked "comme un nègre" [like a nigger]".
- But the man has a heart: JPG is brought to tears as he reminisces about his father.
- An acknowledgement that some believe that the second rupture (beyond the end of the family line represented by the appointment of Wasser as head perfumer), the acquisition of Guerlain by LVMH, has caused the illustrious house to lose its "soul". Others are said to regard the acquisition as an opportunity for change. (I think that you know my view...)
- In the history of perfumery according to Guerlain, Gabriel was more important than Gabrielle!
All of this and more awaits anyone fluent in French (there are no subtitles). For others, the images (and sweet sonority of the French language) may be worth your time as well... Here is a link: