It’s the middle of The Great Depression and I imagine it’s rather difficult to sell a luxury French perfume. Or is it?
Caron French Cancan was made just for an American audience; hence, the corny name that conjures up Parisian gaiety. I can’t speak too much on the history of the fragrance but I would love to read an essay about this one. I can say that for many of us, even our mothers and grandmothers, that perfume has been a form of escapism. Many writers want to speak of nostalgia and marketers want to talk about attraction and intercourse, but for many perfume, like any other attainable luxury, is about escapism and sensual gratification.
When I wear French Cancan, I can tell that even in 1936 that it’s an over the top stereotype or how exhausted American women perceived prosperous Paris. It’s a big floral with heady white florals like orange blossom and jasmine dancing with powdery, spicy spring florals (or what I call “purple florals”). French Cancan toasts to excess and abundance! It’s layers and layers of florals shaking their tail feathers! It settles into an almond-heliotrope floral that brings to mind soft, supple skin. And the base is very Caron – mossy amber (you know it when you smell it).
French Cancan is as stereotypical French as Inspector Jacques Clouseau but that’s why it’s lovable. They shoved as much glamour and gaiety as they possibly could into one perfume. And the final result is this lovely escapism from mundane, Conservative American life. I think of French Cancan like “The Wizard of Oz” or the “Gone with the Wind” and other popular feature films of the late 1930’s. Wearing it is a luxury, something you don’t need and maybe it doesn’t fit into your budget, but it takes you away to a place that you wish you were. It may be only for a few hours but it brought you joy during those few hours. During those few hours so much is going on, you can relate to what you want to relate to. Rhett Butler was a dick, but he was Clark Gable…some women (and men) went to see the movie to be Scarlett and to be kissed by Gable. Others went for the bright colors or the luscious wardrobe. With so much content, you related to what you wanted to relate to. And that’s how French Cancan is. It’s filled with everything. I relate to the “purple florals”. You’ll probably relate to something else.
Notes listed include jasmine, lilac, violet, lily of the valley, rose, orange blossom, patchouli, iris, sandalwood, amber and oakmoss. Launch date 1936. *What I’m sampling is a current version that is about 3 years old.
Give French Cancan a try if you like older fashioned smelling classic fragrances. Or if you like perfumes like Rochas Femme, Molinard Habanita, Jean Deprez Bal a Versailles, Lanvin Arpege, Givenchy Organza and/or any of the other older Carons.
Sillage and projection is above average. It’s a perfume-perfume that was probably designed to wear with furs and opera gloves…
The parfum retails for $100 at Luckyscent. It’s also available at Caron boutiques.
Victoria’s Final EauPINION – Bouquet of florals over a classic Caron base. It was carefully calculated to win over American women in the 1930’s and it still wins over women today. Big, French perfumes will always be in vogue.
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