Sunday, March 23, 2014

Marcel Rochas

Marcel Rochas was born in Paris, France in 1902. He opened his house in 1924. He was encouraged by Jean Cocteau, Christian Berard and Paul Poiret. In 1931, Marcel ROCHAS opened his fashion house to the 12 Matignon avenue. His customers are composed, amongst other things, stars Hollywood such as Carole Lombard, Marlène Dietrich and among others. For the actress Mae West, Marcel Rochas have created a black wasp-waisted corset of Chantilly.


Rochas started carrying perfumes around 1936, and sold exclusively at the fashions shows of Marcel Rochas. These perfumes were Air Jeune, Audace, and Avenue Matignon and were housed in both square and rectangular white opaline glass bottles. However, at the start of the second World War, these perfumes were withdrawn from sale and are very rare to find today.

c1936 ad



After the War, a new perfume was on the horizon.  At the request of Marcel Rochas, in 1944, Edmond Roudnitska created the perfume Femme. This last will be proposed with the public in 1945. The perfume, Femme, was inspired by Rochas' young wife. Legend has it that he gave it to her as his wedding present. This scent was highly praised by critics. 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.


In 1946, a new perfume named Mousseline was launched inside the same amphora bottle as Femme, but was trimmed with printed gold lace instead of the black.  Two more perfumes used the same bottle shape and lace packaging. The perfume Mouche was created in 1948 and the box  was trimmed with turquoise lace. The name Mouche was the name of Marcel Rochas' cat. These two fragrances were discontinued in 1962. In 1949, the perfume Rose was presented in the amphora flacon and its box was trimmed with pink lace, this perfume was discontinued in 1973. The male fragrance Moustache was created in 1949. All of these perfumes were composed by Edmond Roudnitska.

c1952 ad



When Marcel Rochas died in 1955 his wife was asked by an associate to become president of the company. She agreed.


 Rochas developed new perfumes during her time at the company and designed clothes. Her most famous perfume was Madame Rochas launched in 1960. She named it after herself and it was the first scent to be named after a living person. Madame Rochas is regarded as a classic perfume. This perfume was created by Guy Robert (and reformulated in 1982 by Jean-Louis Sieuzac and Jacques Fraysse, it is a floral fragrance. The new perfume became very popular. Helene was a collector of antiques and based the bottle for Madame Rochas on a 18th century Baccarat crystal flacon that Helene Rochas discovered in a Parisian antique store.


The company increased sales during Rochas’s time as president. Rochas became the sixth largest perfumer in France by 1964. In 1969, a new fragrance for men was created called simply Monsieur Rochas, and was composed by Guy Robert. However, Rochas decided to sell the company in 1970. The Rochas house engaged Nicolas Mamounas, perfumer, for the development of the future Rochas perfumes. In 1970, Eau de Roche became Eau de Rochas.  Helene was president until 1970 when the business was sold to the French chemical company Roussel-Uclaf for a reported $40 million. She was privately "disappointed" with their stewardship of the name, and when a new management team asked her back Hélène eagerly accepted. "Rochas was always in my heart," she sighs. "I would look in windows and see the perfumes, and I felt a sadness."


In 1972, the Rochas house was back in the control of Helene and repromoted the earlier perfume Audace, a woodsy leafy chypre, but was this discontinued by 1978. In the same year, the fragrance Mystere was created. in 1980, the men's fragrance Macassar was launched and the ladies perfume Lumiere was launched in 1984.


In 1987, Laurent Normand left Chanel to become President de Rochas and entrusted to Olivier Cresp (Quest International) the modernization of Femme. Femme was reformulated with modern ingredients and relaunched. Later that year the perfume Byzance was introduced. With an Oriental theme, the perfume was packaged in a cobalt blue flacon, a color that Marcel Rochas found beautiful and magical. In the center of the bottle, was a medallion, printed with the symbol of the Rochas house.


In 1993, the men's fragrance Eau de Rochas was launched.  In 1994, Maurice Roucel created the perfume Tocade. The bottle will be a reminder of the amphora bottle which held Femme, but redesigned by Serge Mansau. The bottle is taller, has less of a curvaceous body and is topped off  with a small conical cap.


In 1995, saw the launching of Byzantine, in 1997, came Tocadilly, and in 1998, Alchimie, which was composed by Jacques Cavallier and defined as a fresh sensual floral perfume housed in a pretty bottle of Serge Mansau. In 2002, we saw the launching of Aquawoman, created by Michel Almeiras.


Helene Rochas returned as a consultant from 1984 to 1989. Proctor and Gamble acquired the company in 2003, and re-launched the fashion division, under the direction of Olivier Theyskens from 2003 to 2006. A two-year hiatus followed, with the fashion company launching yet again in 2008 under its current creative director, Marco Zanini.

Fragrances remain the most important product of the Rochas brand, and Rochas has employed its own in-house perfumer, Jean-Michel Duriez, since 2008.


The perfumes of Rochas:
  • 1936 Air Jeune
  • 1936 Audace
  • 1936 Avenue Matignon
  • 1944 Femme
  • 1946 Chiffon
  • 1948 Eau de Verveine
  • 1948 Eau de Roche
  • 1948 Mouche
  • 1949 La Rose
  • 1949 Moustache
  • 1949 Mousseline
  • 1960 Madame Rochas
  • 1969 Monsieur Rochas
  • 1970 Eau de Rochas
  • 1972 Audace (reformulation and relaunch)
  • 1978 Mystère
  • 1980 Macassar
  • 1984 Lumière
  • 1987 Byzance
  • 1989 Madame Rochas
  • 1989 Femme
  • 1990 Globe
  • 1993 Eau de Rochas pour Homme
  • 1994 Tocade
  • 1995 Byzantine
  • 1996 Fleur d'Eau
  • 1997 Tocadilly
  • 1998 Alchimie
  • 2001 Aquaman
  • 2002 Aquawoman
  • 2002 Absolu
  • 2003 Lui Rochas
  • 2004 Poup`ee
  • 2004 Absolu Intense Simply Red
  • 2006 Reflets d'Eau de Rochas
  • 2006 Reflets d`Eau de Rochas Pour Homme
  • 2007 Desir Pour Femme
  • 2007 Desir Pour Homme
  • 2008 Rochas Soleil
  • 2009 Eau Sensuelle
  • 2010 Eau de Rochas Fraiche
  • 2011 Muse de Rochas
  • 2012 Les Cascades de Rochas - Eclats d'Agrumes
  • 2013 Les Cascades de Rochas Songe d’Iris
  • 2013 Femme Rochas (reformulation and relaunch)
  • 2013 Madame Rochas (reformulation and relaunch)
  • 2013 Tocade (reformulation and relaunch)
  • 2014 Eau de Rochas Limited Edition 2014 
  • 2014 Secret de Rochas
  • 2014 Secret de Rochas Oud Mystère
  • 2015 Secret de Rochas Rose Intense


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