Saturday, October 25, 2014

Fidji by Guy Laroche c1966

Fidji was launched by French clothing designer Guy Laroche in 1966.




L'Oreal, has owned the Guy Laroche name since the 1960s under their US division, Cosmair. Lancome, was a small company at the time, and had just acquired the Prestige division of L'Oreal. Fidji's name was chosen by Lancome's president Jean Menet, who spun around a globe looking for a short and catchy name and settled on the tropical Fiji islands in the South Pacific.

"Exquisite blend of the scents of paradise..."

The advertisements featured a naked, kneeling woman cradling a large Fidji bottle, other less risque ads depicted a clothed woman.

Fragrance Composition:


So what does it smell like? It was originally classified as a floral green fragrance for women. Fidji was the first floral note united with a fresh green tonality, setting a new trend in fragrance composition. The fragrance idea was inspired by the classic chypre base of Miss Dior and the rich, florals  and woodsy notes found in L'Air du Temps. Certainly not a fragrance one would readily associate with the tropics, in fact, IFF's Josephine Catapano, a perfumer that created the fragrance had mentioned that Fidji "was a modern version of L'Air du Temps."

She was never in contact with Robert Salmon directly but was advised by other members of the firm, who she stated that they told her that Salmon had simply requested "something very feminine and easy to wear, light, fresh and very floral." Curiously, though, she was unaware of the perfume's name until the very last moment. The heart of the fragrance is it's secret one of a kind accord created by IFF,  a scent that carried the strong impression of the ethereal scents of blossoms floating in the air.

  • Top notes: aldehydes, Spanish galbanum, hyacinth, lemon, bergamot and Moroccan orange blossom
  • Middle notes: Florentine iris, Bulgarian rose, Italian jasmine, violet, English lilac, Madagascan ylang ylang, French carnation, Egyptian tuberose
  • Base notes: Indian myrrh, Persian musk, Malaysian patchouli, Mysore sandalwood, balsam of Peru, ambergris, vetiver and oakmoss


Bottles:


Together with Guy Laroche's advertising director Michel Bedin, the duo conceived the ideas for the packaging and distinctive bottles as well, with the help of Lancome's head of perfume marketing, Robert Salmon. Robert Salmon's bottle design for Fidji was inspired by the bottle of one of Lancome's early perfumes, Tropiques, which debuted in 1935. Sales were modest during the early years, and the Guy Laroche team was fortunate to be part of Lancome since it took seven years before the line made a profit.

Fidji was presented in a bisected clear rectangular bottle with a black stopper designed by Serge Mansau, who perfected and refined the sketches of the bottle, the stopper was sealed with black silk thread.




In 1968, Guy Laroche introduced his "Douceline" bath range, influenced by the successful Jean Nate bath line, comprised up of five bath essentials delicately and subtlety perfumed with Fidji. A milky bubble bath, beautifully packed in a big round drum with a little matching measure, it foamed up in the bath and turned the water all milky and made your skin soft. Also included was a deep green bath oil that was also designed to be used directly on the skin too, this came in two sizes.

After bath, you could apply some amber colored friction lotion that came in a bottle that matched the bath oil bottle. After that you could rub some lotion onto your skin and pat on some dusting powder. Later, emollient talc, perfumed cream, perfumed body shampoo and bath soap was added to the bath line. These items were originally packaged in white boxes adorned with a silver chain embossed trim. Later they were packaged in blue and white boxes.





By 1973 you could get Fidji in an eau de toilette or eau de cologne spray. In 1975, an aerosol cologne spray was introduced. In 1977, the eau de parfum natural spray and Fidji du Soir Spray Mist Eau de Toilette Concentrate a sultry night time version of Fidji came out.

By 1973 you could get Fidji in an eau de toilette or eau de cologne spray. In 1975, an aerosol cologne spray was introduced. In 1977, the eau de parfum natural spray and Fidji du Soir Spray Mist Eau de Toilette Concentrate a sultry night time version of Fidji came out.


There also exists a rarity called Fidji en Noir, it was parfum housed in a little black glass refillable purse bottle. Note that the bottles with gold caps date to 1978 and after when the packaging got a classier look.

Package Engineering, 1978:
"Gold finish gives new cologne a 'touch' of class Fidji Cologne Spray Mist, one of a number of Fidji fragrance products being marketed by Parisian designer Guy Laroche, uses Ethyl Corp.'s noMar. The total esthetics of the package are enhanced even further by the square bottle from Wheaton Glass. Fidji Cologne Spray Mist is packaged in 0.9-, 1.8-, and 3.8-ounce bottles."

In 1973, a gift set included a small silver tone or gold tone shell pendant. In 1974, a Fidji filled perfume pomander was made as an interpretation of the pomanders worn by fashionable ladies of 16th century royalty, it was meant to be suspended on a chain pin or belt.

The Ambiances Fidji line of 1980 included a series of products including incense sticks and candles which would allow one to perfume her living quarters with the lush, unmistakable scent of Fidji.Guy Laroche was the first French designer to enter this market at the time. Ambiances Fidji sales represented 21 percent of Fidji sales volume.

In 1983, a short-lived flanker scent, Fidji En Fleurs was released, described as a "gentle blending of delicate flowers blooming in a lush green forest".

Fate of the Fragrance:


By 2001, L'Oreal had discontinued Fidji, but relaunched it in 2003 due to the many petitions of loyal Fidji fans, however, please note that this version is reformulated and not the original. You can still purchase the new Fidji today at many perfume discounters. It is available as eau de parfum and eau de toilette as shown below.





 The vintage versions, which were originally colored green, have aged to a light yellow to the orangey brown color of brandy. This is due to oxidation of the perfume ingredients, which will change color and degrade due to exposure to heat and strong light over the years. It is recommended that you keep your perfume inside of its original box and stored away in a place that is cool and dark so that your fragrance will not turn sour and unwearable.

The reformulated version:
  • Top notes: galbanum, hyacinth, lemon and bergamot 
  • Heart notes: rose, jasmine, violet, ylang-ylang and carnation 
  • Base notes: musk, patchouli, sandalwood, amber, vetiver and tree moss



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