Fracas by Germaine Cellier for Robert Piguet 1948

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Gabriella

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Hi APJ,

In my ever changing and expanding fragrance collection, there’s one particular perfume that deserves pride of place. Other scents have come and gone, but Fracas by Germaine Cellier for Robert Piguet has been a mainstay for me for 15 years. It hasn’t been a smooth ride, but my altercations with this perfume have been mostly due to circumstance and other people rather than my own feelings of the scent.

My Fracas Story – Fracas by Robert Piguet 1948

Fracas FragranticaPhoto Stolen Fragrantica

I acquired my first Fracas bottle not long after the scent was reintroduced in 1998, before online shopping and the first fragrance blog. Until then, I’d worn popular scents available in department stores and Fracas’ exclusivity enthralled and enchanted me. It was expensive, only available in one boutique here in Sydney, had a cult following and was one of my idols favourites – British model Sophie Dahl. And it looked so chic in the shiny black bottle.

Fracas Robert Piguet Ad vk.comPhoto stolen vk.com

I returned to the Sydney boutique time and time again to catch beautiful whiffs while I saved my hard earned pennies to buy a full bottle. Fracas was going to be my fragrance, something that I loved rather than a perfume that all my girlfriends wore or something to impress a boyfriend. I still remember the thrill when that bottle was finally wrapped lovingly in tissue paper. I was all woman now, and nothing was going to stop me. I proudly put some on before going down to dinner that night. I was still living with my parents at that stage and thought I’d wow them with my new acquisition.

Not so. “Oh my god, what is that AWFUL perfume you have on?” was my mother’s reaction. Dad and my brother also looked suitably unimpressed. I told them in vain of the story of Fracas and how it had been inspired by Rita Hayworth but they just didn’t budge. Such was the level of dislike for my scent that my brother actually renamed it with an expletive (I’ll allow you to use your imagination here): “Oh no, you’ve got that awful *&^% #$$ perfume on again.”

Thus, Fracas and I became clandestine. She now accompanied my on my morning gym visits where I could spray with abandon without my family’s misgivings. However, one day, I managed to smash an almost full bottle on the changing room floor. I was mortified and more disturbed still when I saw dozens of girls recoil in horror at the pungency and loudness of the tuberose. That changing room had my scent on it for months.

Fracas Robert Piguet Elegant Stripper photo-cursPhoto Stolen photo-curs

Fast forward some time and suddenly it seemed like every woman was in on my secret. Fracas became ubiquitous and our relationship went more underground. I refused to wear it out now, only sneaking a precious few drops when I could enjoy it at home alone. It would be my guilty pleasure after coming home from work; my comfort scent that I would put on to wear to bed.

Just as my relationship with Fracas has changed, so too has the scent on my skin. All those years ago it was a bold, brash diva: tuberose with a capital T, a scent that was incredibly beautiful but that took no prisoners. Now Fracas is sotto voce on my skin, it opens up with the bright orange blossom and tuberose before the buttery goodness melds with my skin and becomes one with it. It sings so softly now that I can pretty much wear it without provoking comment.

So it was much to my surprise when I did get one sometime last year. I’d spritzed some on before hopping into a taxi to meet my fiancé. The driver turned to me and said: “What are you wearing? You smell lovely, like a lady.” I told him it was Fracas and she was very much a lady indeed.

Further reading The Candy Perfume Boy and Bois de Jasmin

Fracas is now not so exclusive and available readily online at outlets such as FragranceNet, $68.19/50ml.

Have you tried Fracas? Which one of your fragrances takes pride of place in your collection?

With much love till next time!
M x

19 thoughts on “Fracas by Germaine Cellier for Robert Piguet 1948

  1. What a lovely post; the history of a perfume in your life. After I tumbled down the rabbit hole just last year, I fell in love with Fracas, then went on to more exclusive and difficult tuberoses and just forgot about Fracas. Now I find myself returning to the lovely and feminine, and suspect that my bottle of Fracas will come into regular use while her more complicated sisters will sit admired but unused.

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    • Hi Feraljasmine,

      There are so many lovely tuberoses out there it is easy to understand that Fracas does get overlooked by many. Glad you haven’t forgotten it and it’s beauty is being enjoyed 🙂

      Madeleine

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  2. What a wonderful post! Thank you Madeleine. I love tuberose in all its incarnations so Fracas, of course, is part of my stash. The scent that takes pride of place in my collection, though, has only a touch of tuberose. I love Guy Laroche Fidji (created by Josephine Catapano) as much for its scent as for the memories it evokes. Fidji for me is not a tropical island vacation but quite the opposite. Whenever I wear Fidji I am immediately transported to 1975 to the little shop in Cervinia where I purchased my first bottle. I was on a skiing vacation and needed an extra sweater. I ended up buying the perfume as well as the sweater. When I smell Fidji I can clearly see the sun shining through the windows of that shop and feel the crisp mountain air. Scent as time machine!

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    • Hi Azar,

      Thank you for that wonderful story about Fidji. It is so wonderful to have these beautiful fragrance memories! Glad you love Fracas and tuberose in general too!

      Madeleine

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  3. Great post. I’m glad you stuck with Fracas and didn’t let everyone else sway you away from it. Sometimes a negative reaction makes one rethink their choices. Fracas is beautiful and it was one of my early perfumista purchases too.

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  4. I chuckled after reading how the changing room had your scent all over it for months. I think the atmosphere must have been improved by it. 🙂

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  5. I’m like Katrina, the only toe I’ve dipped in the tuberose waters is Private Collection Tuberose Gardenia (own a bottle of it), since I’m swimming in the iris and incense area of the perfume pool, but someday I’ll try the Lady.

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  6. Pingback: Le Galion timeline…a history lesson in Sydney « AustralianPerfumeJunkies

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