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Thursday, February 18, 2010

Parfums Caron, Paris



In 1901 or 1902, Ernest Daltroff and his brother Raoul purchased a small perfumery named "Emilia", located on rue Rossini in Paris, possibly with some financial assistance from a man named Kahann. In 1903 the business was moved to 10 rue de la Paix and renamed "Caron".

The Daltroffs were raised in an upper middle class Russian Jewish family and Ernest Daltroff, in his youth, had traveled in both South and Central America as well as Europe. But he is not known to have had any formal training in perfumery. He was, however, exposed to perfume through his mother who is said to have used wonderful fragrances — a drop of this or that behind her ear.
In 1906, Félicie Wanpouille (Félice Eugenie Amelie Wanpouille Bergaud) joined the enterprise as creative director. From this time onward she was responsible for almost all of design work for Caron, particularly the design of bottles and packaging.
Some sources refer to Félicie Wanpouille as Félicie Bergaud or Félicie Bergaud. It would appear that her full name was Félice Eugénie Amélie Wanpouille Bergaud, as is born out by a U.S. Design Patent Number 89,985 that was granted to her on May 23, 1933, for "a new, original, and ornamental Design for a Vanity Case or the like" She gives 10 rue de la Paix as her address.
With the introduction of Chantecler in 1906, Parfums Caron began to gain some traction. After its introduction, it appears that Daltroff and Wanpouille hunkered down and got to work on what was to become Narcisse Noir, their breakthrough fragrance launched in 1911. Thanks to the fragrance and the use of a wonderful Baccarat bottle, Narcisse Noir made its way to Hollywood and into the hands of Gloria Swanson, who was seen holding the bottle in her film "Sunset Boulevard".
The collaboration between Daltroff and Wanpouille continued until 1939, when Daltroff moved first to Canada and then to the United States to escape the Nazi occupation of France and persecution of Jews.
Ernest Daltroff left Caron in the more than just capable hands of Félicie Wanpouille. With Daltroff gone, she began a professional collaboration with perfumer Michel Morsetti and the House of Caron continued to introduce new perfumes.
Ernest Daltroff died in 1947 at the age of 80. Félicie Wanpouille continued to manage the enterprise until she retired in 1962. She died in 1967 at the age of 93.
Parfums Caron has been owned by the Alès Group since 1998.

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