Created by : François Coty (?)
Date : 1936 or 1942
Genre : Green floral (lily of the valley)
Concentration : cologne spray
When I asked my mother what she wanted for Mother’s Day awhile back, she surprised me when she asked for Coty’s Muguet des Bois because I thought that she still wore Guy Laroche’s Fidji and Muguet des Bois was unknown to me. It took me awhile to find it. Luckily a department store SA suggested I try a drugstore and there it was… at an unbelievable price. I bought it for her for several years until I was told that Yardley had licensed the fragrance and the name had changed to Lily of the Valley. One particular year I simply couldn’t find it and when I called the head office in Ontario to locate their products, they offered to send my mother free-of-charge the cologne spray, the scented soaps and the talc powder. It was such a wonderful, generous act. I’ll never forget it.
The original Muguet des Bois was launched by François Coty in 1936 or 1942 depending on your source. It’s a very green, somewhat jarring lily of the valley but it impressed the great Edmond Roudnitska enough to comment on it…
“I remembered that Coty had a lily that was called Muguet des Bois. No better lily note was ever made. It pushed the green note of the flower. As a lily note, it was magnificent. It was much better than the one I had made myself. I wondered how they had managed to create such a masterpiece in the Thirties, with so little means. But it never became very successful, because it wasn’t a perfume one could wear. So when I made my lily, I told myself that I should not fall into the same trap. I had to make it into a perfume.”
The current fragrance isn’t round like Roudnitska’s take on lily of the valley, Diorissimo, nor as beautiful. LotV is more angular and a little difficult to wear. Dosage is a factor and where you spray it might also be a dealbreaker for you. I would avoid spraying it too close to the face. I think it’s fun to wear but it isn’t a shrinking violet and it’s a little loud. Whether the original Muguet des Bois was wearable or not.. I don’t know… but the current Lily of the Valley by Yardley IS wearable and quite good considering its price. A librarian friend of mine, Mariouche, wears it and when we kiss hello it smells wonderful on her. It wakes up your senses… it simply smells like spring. Just go easy on the atomizer.
Top image : L’ange et la mère by Louis Janmot (1814-1892)