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Perfumes developed and released during WW2

Perfumes developed and released during WW2 9 years ago
Hope this is in the right section.

I have noticed that quite a few perfumes (such as Femme and Bandit) were developed and released during the war years. It was such a terrible time for everyone and life was turned on it's head throughout Europe. The idea that such substances of artistic beauty were created during such a dark period of history fascinates me.

I am not posting this to discuss any of the political aspects of the war, I don't want to get into that at all.

But I'm finding it difficult to find books, websites, blogs that discuss the production of fragrances during this period in Europe. It must have been very difficult to get the right ingredients so perfumers must have had to tailor their ideas according to what was available to them. Also, was it an industry that transcended national barriers? Or did they have to be content to just deal within Europe until the war was over?

Anyone that has information, can recommend reading material, blogs, web articles that might be of interest, please let me know. There is obviously the book about Coco Chanel, but that isn't the avenue I want to explore.

Thank you everyone! Very Happy
9 years ago
I am not an expert on this era but you can google around for the noses and houses active at that time, and every once in a while you get a quote or something from those days, like here, in Bois de Jasmin's review of Rochas Femme:

“Let me tell you, I created [Rochas] Femme in 1943 in Paris during the worst days of the war in a building that had a rubbish dump on one side and paint factory on the other,” remarked Edmond Roudnitska about one of his most sensual compositions, a perfume that smells of woman’s skin and ripe summer plum.

The chemical industry was obviously working overtime during the war for various purposes, and that will have had an effect on perfume, as I imagine more ingredients were synthesized and new ones introduced at a faster rate. An ingredient the name of which escapes me right now that was/is instrumental in "Rochas Femme" was a by-product of medicine production or research IIRC, for instance, and so was coumarin before it, one of the key ingredients in modern perfumery.

I do wonder if anybody has tried to outline the legacy of the war(s) on perfume, socially as well as within the trade! For instance modern computing owes a great deal of its development to IBM being contracted by both the US and Nazi Germany to create systems for their records and operations during WWII. Similar, although hopefully far less gruesome, legacies must live on in the cosmetics trades as well.
9 years ago
Thank you Sweetgrass. Yes, that quote from Edmond Roudnitska is quite fascinating. I can almost see and smell the conditions that he must have worked in. Yet he managed to make the most beautiful fragrance. The artistic ability of the world's top perfumers never ceases to amaze me!

I didn't know about IBM, that is really quite a story! Thank you!
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