Sunday, March 23, 2014

Femme by Rochas c1943

After the Second World War, a new perfume was on the horizon. At the request of Marcel Rochas, Edmond Roudnitska created the perfume Femme. The perfume was inspired by Rochas's young wife. Legend has it that he gave it to her as his wedding present.



Perfumer Edmond Roudnitska talked about the humble creation of his sumptuous perfume Femme, "Let me tell you, I created Femme in 1943 in Paris during the worst days of the war in a building that had a rubbish dump on one side and paint factory on the other." Roudnitska allegedly found a vat of the chemical methyl ionone in a factory and made use of it in the creation of Femme.

In 1944, Rochas issued a letter inviting select women to purchase his first perfume. It was originally produced in a limited, numbered edition, and the following year it was made available to the public.  This scent was highly praised by critics.


Fragrance Composition:


A 1953 ad describes Femme as "Flowers and fruit superbly wreathed together into one of the most compelling perfumes of our era."


A 1952 advertisement in the Milwaukee Journal describes the perfume:
 "One French perfumer offers his well known Femme or La Rose in a pretty box for gift giving. The graceful Lalique designed bottle, labeled only on the stopper, nestles in billows of filmy net in an oval box.  This presentation is veiled in black lace - the trademark of this perfume house.  
Femme is a blend of more than 200 rare flower essences from all over the world. Predominant is the exquisite jasmine with overtones of lush, tropical blossoms. This is completely feminine and flattering fragrance as its name would imply.  La Rose captures the heady fragrance of fresh cut  roses with a hint of their pungent leaves and stems."

Rochas Femme was composed of over one hundred ingredients which produce a fruity flowery fragrance.
  • Top notes: bergamot, peach, prune, plum, apricot
  • Middle notes: iris, cinnamon, violet, Bulgarian rose, immortelle, white Grasse jasmine, ylang-ylang, 
  • Base notes: leather, castoreum, labdanum, civet, patchouli, vanilla, ambergris, musk, oak moss, sandalwood

The Bottles:


It appeared that the shapes of the woman have inspired him for the creation of the bottle of perfume Femme. The bottle of Femme was a curvy amphora shape and was designed by Marc Lalique based on the sketches by Marcel Rochas.

The packaging was trimmed with printed black Chantilly lace designed by Albert Gosset, the lace design hearkens back to the corset that Rochas made for Mae West. Only the luxury edition crystal bottles will be signed with the Lalique signature.


Femme was available in Perfume in four sizes, Toilet water in two sizes and cologne in three sizes. Only the Deluxe perfume bottles will be marked Lalique.  Later, dusting powder and soaps were also available. An atomizer for the eau de cologne was introduced in 1955, a period newspaper ad mentions that "Femme is the first perfume to have an atomizer." In 1969, Parfum de Toilette was introduced.

Fate of the Fragrance:


In 1989 or 1992 (per Osmotheque), Olivier Cresp of Quest International reformulated the perfume with modern ingredients and relaunched and based its composition on his own memories of his own family members who wore the perfume.

Please note that this version is a decidedly ‘earthy’ mossy chypre fragrance, lighter and different than the original version. The bottles are the same Mae West shape and have black caps as on the original bottles.

  • Top notes: aldehydes, lemon, bergamot, peach, pear
  • Middle notes: Damascene rose, cumin, iris, cinnamon, immortelle, jasmine, carnation, ylang ylang, plum
  • Base notes: rosemary, labdanum, rosewood, civet, patchouli, leather, sandalwood, oakmoss, musk, amber


The 2011 version was reformulated by Jean-Michel Duriez which minimized the oakmoss due to IFRA regulations. Please note that is a reformulation of the 1989 version and has been repackaged in new bottles with peach colored caps.

  • Top notes: aldehydes, lemon, bergamot, peach, pear
  • Middle notes: May rose, carnation, immortelle, jasmine, iris, ylang ylang, plum
  • Base notes: rosemary, oakmoss, leather, labdanum, patchouli, sandalwood, musk, amber





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