C'est la Vie by Christian Lacroix: launched in 1990 and released by Dior Parfums. Created by Edouard Flechier.
The Opera Comique off the boulevard des Italiens is a pretty little theatre which was chosen last Sunday night by the fashion house of Christian Lacroix as the place to launch a new scent called 'C'est la Vie'. About ,£25 million was behind this operation. The new scent is to be distributed by Dior Perfumes.
Los Angeles Times, 1990:
"Lacroix was describing his first fragrance, C'est La Vie, which was launched in the United States at a gala (purportedly price-tagged at about $550,000) for 400 at the Palladium nightclub in New York on Monday. French ballerina Sophie Guillem performed "Bolero," accompanied by 40 male dancers, on a technically elaborate stage built especially for the occasion. Actor Tony Randall acted as emcee and a catered dinner followed for such Lacroix fans Blaine Trump, artist Julian Schnabel, former Ambassador to France Evan Galbraith and his wife Marie, and Lacroix's muse and favorite model, silver-haired Marie Seznec.
"Perfume is, above all else, memories. It's nostalgia made from souvenirs," says Lacroix, who credits Maurice Roger, chairman of Parfums Christian Lacroix and Parfums Christian Dior with inventing the name.
"While we were coming up with the scent, we had to start again more than once and very often we said, 'C'est La Vie,' " he explains.
The fragrance, a floral bouquet of orange blossom and syringa (a white-flowering shrub found in Lacroix's native Provence), is packaged in the designer's signature colors--pink, bright yellow and black. The crystal bottle reflects feminine curves and features a pink stopper shaped like a coral branch.
C'est La Vie will be available in September at I. Magnin, Bullock's and Robinson's, with a little more than an ounce of perfume selling for about $163 and 1.7 ounces of eau de toilette selling for $43."
So what does it smell like? It is classified as a spicy floral oriental fragrance for women.
- Top notes: aldehydes, seringa, pineapple, cassia, raspberry, osmanthus, peach, bergamot
- Middle notes: jasmine, heliotrope, ylang-ylang, carnation, tuberose, iris, sandalwood, orange blossom, rose, violet
- Base notes: amber, patchouli, musk, benzoin, vanilla, cedar, sandalwood, tonka bean
The Connosieur, 1990:
"C'est la vie!, his first women's scent, like his clothes, harmonizes somewhat startling contrasts. The fragrance draws upon the long-respected floral- Oriental accord, which goes back nearly a century. The warm, lingering background of amber, vanilla, sandalwood, and musk blended with more sprightly floral elements (jasmine, violet, ylang ylang, heliotrope, rose, and orange flower) has olfactory associations with such classics as Guerlain's Apres l'Ondee and L'Heure Bleue."
The perfume was contained in a heart-shaped amber glass bottle, fitted with a black plastic collar to simulate onyx or jet, and topped with a coral plastic branch cap. It comes packaged in a hot rose colored box lined with golden yellow and ornamented with Lacroix's own black-and-gold tracery.
The Bulletin, 1996:
"C'est la Vie, by the fashion designer Christian Lacroix, cost the French cosmetics house Louis Vuitton Moet Hennessy $30 ... And then there was the design of the bottle - one French magazine described it as looking like a heart transplant."
A very pretty gilt metal purse atomizer bottle was shaped like a coral branch to hold the parfum. This refillable bottle was patented in 1990 and held one quarter ounce of parfum.
C'est la Vie was available in the following products:
- 0.25 oz Refillable Parfum Purse Spray (golden branch bottle)
- 1 oz Parfum
- 1.7 oz Parfum Spray
- 0.13 oz Eau de Parfum mini
- 1.7 oz Eau de Parfum
- 3.4 oz Eau de Parfum
- 0.34 oz Eau de Toilette
- 1.7 oz Eau de Toilette
- 3.4 oz Eau de Toilette
- 6.8 oz Eau de Toilette
- Shower Gel
- Body Lotion
- Body Cream
- Dusting Powder
- Deodorant Spray
Fate of the Fragrance:
Discontinued by 1991.
Chandler Burr speaks of this fragrance in his book The Perfect Scent:
"Christian Lacroix's C'est La Vie was a huge flop because they launched, expensively, right after launching the haute couture house and LVMH thought he was going to do so well, and it didn't."
The New York Times Magazine, 1991:
"Christian Lacroix's C'est la Vie! retreated from 600 venues just months after it hit the marketplace."
"Last year Christian Lacroix's C'est La Vie lost an estimated $10 million to $12 million in the U.S. alone. The market is finicky, success often ephemeral."
National Geographic Magazine, 1998:
"One corpse left by the wayside was the 40 million dollars reportedly lost on Christian Lacroix's C'est la Vie in 1989."