Talking perfume, Rue de la Paix is exactly what good taste was supposed to be in that time. Harmony, a bit of everything, not too much flowers, not too much amber, not too sweet. If you compare Rue de la Paix with L'Heure Bleue or Shalimar - those are different worlds and an example of how tastes changed. It is also different from Jicky with its strong character by what I would call "élégance retenue".
Rue de la Paix was a perfume quite popular in the Belle Époque era and it's not the floral bouquet, neither the old-fashioned violet we associate with that era, neither hyper sensual décolté perfume. It's all that in an elegant and well mannered style. It reflects a typical Parisian attitude " ne pas en avoir l'air". Its opulence is showed in a natural way as it would be natural to mix flowers and amber and have a rather light perfume (!).
Rue de la Paix is a very sweet jasmin-rose perfume with an important ambery note (type Ambre 83). The drydown is powdery-musky-sandalwood with that typical skin smell (peachy) that can be found in No5. If today we have a certain perception of what clean skin would smell, I think of that when smelling that drydown of 1908. What was the sexy feminine smell of that era, what soap evoked the white feminine beauty of Belle Époque? That's an exercise of imagination but Rue de la Paix captured that mood, that beautiful trail.
The perfume opens with bergamot and orange but soon goes in a rich heart composed mainly by rose and jasmin absolutes and their typical smell brings opulence to the perfume. On the drydown we can smell the powdery orris and the musk (natural plus nitromusks). There is also an important lilac base in the perfume that gives freshness to the floral absolutes surrounded by a very delicate carnation base.
The young lady enters the society. It's the magical Paris of 1900's. She comes from England and had for sure a very "teutonic" education about what taste should be and how in her tailored Redfern suits she should avoid any froufrou. But when she enters Rue de la Paix everything will change! Men offer her compliments and champagne (the bright citrus top notes). Her white long neck is adorned in Cartier jewellery that will shine as rose and jasmin absolute shine in every perfume with their opulence. She wears chinchilla fur (the amber) over her white dentelle dress with a genuine touch (the lilac). At the end of the day through fashion she will become Parisian and the musky-powdery-peachy trail evoke the naked skin where one lover left another Cartier diamond necklace and a rose.
"Come to Paris and you will become a woman" - That would be the message of Rue de la Paix. The perfume is about taste and seduction about the magic that a Guerlain perfume would operate on each woman.
(that's not marketing, it's how I perceive this perfume - I found no official info about it).
"Examinez cette façon d'avancer le pied en moulant la robe avec une si décevante précision qu'elle excite chez le passant une admiration mêlée de désir, mais comprimée par un profond respect".
This Balzac quote about a Parisian woman is the exact description of Rue de la Paix.
photos: Guerlain from Les Modes 1909, the fashion is from Getty archive
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