Thursday, March 06, 2008

Jean Patou Chaldée

Chaldee is defined as an inhabitant of ancient Babylonia (Chaldea (Chaldaean, Chaldean)), a member of a group of Semitic-speaking peoples of the Middle East and northern Africa (also see Aramaic). Jean Patou, a popular designer among the well-to-do clintele in the roaring twenties and the Depression years (1930s), was the first to introduce suntan oil. Huile de Chaldée, its name paying homage to the bronzed beauties of the Middle Eastern region, was the perfect idea to complement his sports clothing and promote the image of catering to the sunny, leisurely lifestyle of the rich.

The launch of Chaldée the perfume followed Huile de Chaldée in 1927. I recently came across a sample of this long lost Jean Patou Ma Collection scent, and I think it's too musty for me on dry down but I love the way it starts out: warm, sweet, a very opulent, powdery ambery Oriental, with the the drama of Vol de Nuit and the dusty-powdery softness of Chantilly, with the sophisticated quality of Jean Patou, most comparable to Cocktail, Normandie and Moment Supreme, like a cross between the three, sort of, but mustier than all of them (there's no telling how vintage this sample I got is). It's like a more ambery version of Cocktail but less Chypre, more Oriental, with a touch of spice. I imagine ballrooms and parties more than beaches, tennis courts or anything to do with the sun per se. I don't think I could pull off such a sweet, heavy, rich and powdery, ambery-musky-orange blossom scent to play sports or sunbathe in, but maybe high drama was the only way to go back then. Whatever works for the individual is fine by me; perfume is a personal thing.