Recently I’ve been doing some research and I’ve settled on 5 perfumers who I think are the most influential of their time – Ernest Daltroff, François Coty, Ernest Beaux, Jacques Guerlain and Edmond Roudnitska. When I look at some of their masterpieces, it’s hard not to be in awe and I started to ask myself which one of them I would want to have dinner with. It was a toss-up for awhile between Ernest Daltroff and François Coty until I closed my eyes and imagined what that dinner would be like.
No doubt François Coty would have the best stories with his life of rags to riches (and back to rags… well almost). But then he would start to boast about his estimated 12 to 20 mistresses, his private army and about his newspaper L’Ami du peuple with the pro-Mussolini and anti-semitic editorials and how he enraged the french my removing the “Le” from his newspaper Le Figaro and blah, blah, blah… it’s like, “Waiter! Check please!” Later for Coty!
No… the better dinner partner for me would be Ernest Daltroff. I just love his stoical yet sensitive face (from the only photo we seem to have of him) and I’d have so many questions for him. For one… why didn’t he ever marry Félicie Vanpouille? And, I’d want to know more about his childhood and upbringing because there seems to be precious little information about that too! And then, those great perfumes! Narcisse Noir, Fleurs de Rocaille (which my mother wore in the 40s while dating my father), Tabac Blond, Pour un Homme… oh and Nuit de Noël! Oh… could you just imagine dinner with Ernest Daltroff!
And of course, I’d want to know about those last years, alone in New York, chased away from France by the Nazis. The whole thing brings me to tears. Edmond Roudnitska would be a close second with his theories of art and perfume… but Ernest would be my first choice.
As for Coty, his story would definitely make the better opera. François Coty wasn’t exactly a “nice guy” and for me, the best operas are when the villain gets his punishment, which is why I’m not the biggest fan of many of the Puccini storylines. The only thing Ernest Daltroff is guilty of is being a “genius while Jewish!” Yes, dinner with Daltroff but I’d pay bigtime to see an opera of François Coty’s life.
Have a nice week everyone!
Top image : Photo of Ernest Daltroff