ROBERT PIGUET | Fracas
Fracas, described by fragrance guru Luca Turin as the “Ferrari” of fragrances, is the jewel in the crown of the Robert Piguet collection. This cult fragrance worn by screen legends Marilyn Monroe and Brigitte Bardot is an intoxicating combination of tuberose, gardenia and orange blossom. Created in 1948 by Germaine Cellier, one of the most highly respected noses all time, Fracas extends the boundaries of sensuality in the floral family. It is a perfume of tumult and chaos of the heart which comprises the world’s most expensive raw materials.
Fracas was inducted into the FiFi (Fragrance Foundation) Hall of fame in 2006 and continues to be a cult fragrance the world over.
Born in 1898 to a prominent banking family in Yverdon, Switzerland, Robert Piguet’s passion for fashion design demonstrated itself early on. At 17, in the face of heavy opposition from family, he left Yverdon for Paris where he studied under the legendary houses of Redfern and Poiret.
In 1933, after completing his training, Piguet opened his own atelier on Paris’ Rue du Cirque. There he became known for the delicacy and reserve of his morning and afternoon dresses, a certain flamboyance of color in clothes for evening, and for the perfect cut of his thin grey flannel suit. Every collection was a reflection of his infallible eye, refined simplicity, and the quality that most defined Piguet—elegance—in style, character, and inspiration.
Charming and aristocratic, a connoisseur of literature, painting, and the decorative arts, Piguet’s success and reputation in Paris continued to flourish. He surrounded himself with Paris’ fashion elite as well as a host of the most notable artists of the time including Jean Cocteau, Colette, and Jean Marais. In 1938, to the delight of all of Paris, Piguet unveiled his crowning glory—The House of Robert Piguet—at the Rond-Point des Champs-Elysee, one of the city’s most prestigious addresses.
It was during the years at Rond-Point that the most enduring aspects of Piguet’s legacy took shape; first, as the master who trained the eyes of couture’s most recognized names, and second, as the man that forever changed the world of fragrance.
“Robert Piguet taught me the virtues of simplicity through which true elegance must come,” wrote Christian Dior who years earlier, was a penniless artist who would eventually become one of Piguet’s most celebrated “stagiares”. Other names that trained at The House of Piguet read like a who’s who of haute couture including Hubert de Givenchy, Marc Bohan, Pierre Balmain, and James Galanos.
But while Piguet’s impact on fashion is indisputable, it is his fragrance legacy that has made him legendary. Working with perfumer Germaine Cellier in the late ‘40s, it was Piguet’s Bandit and Fracas that acted as the watershed to a new era in perfumery. These were said to “have a particular feel very characteristic of his trademarks: strict adherence to good taste, true luxury, a horror of the commonplace and an innate sense of seduction.”