Jeanne Arthès is a text-book case of a business profiting from the legislative void regarding perfume authorship. With this example we see how a perfume company can thrive while investing as little as possible in the creative and research process and instead focusing all of their energies on copying, almost perfectly, original fragrances that have proven their worth in international markets. They do not attempt to be derivative; no, it goes further than that, they are masterful professional imitators that benefit comfortably from the fact that perfumes are not recognized as works of the mind and protected by intellectual property rights, except in The Netherlands.
Established in 1978, they have developed a web presence since the end of 2005. According to Cosmétique Mag, this Grasse-based family company employing 140 persons earned 26 millions Euros in 2004.......
Their catalog then comprised 150 fragrances. We have tried only two, Guipure & Silk and Sultane, but got a sense of where their inspiration came from. It does not come from the beautiful up-country of the Côte d'Azur, but rather from the view from the top of a corporate building looking at the proven and tested bestsellers.
Having heard about Jeanne Arthès but never tried their range and noticing that they were located in Grasse, we thought that perhaps we would discover a nice traditional family-owned perfumery with unpretentious, yet good quality compositions. In a sense they are that. Browsing further on their website we were struck by the low price tags and number of satisfied comments emanating from happy consumers. Finally, happening on a perfume flacon that looked like the bottled version of a 19th century Parisian black and red brothel, which would have undergone the crass but amusing influence of German kitsch and moreover baptized with a harlot name, Guipure & Silk, we had to have it! We also decided to try Sultane, another women's bestseller on their site.
For 15 Euros, you can get to smell this:
Sweet almond and liquorice are linked to form a suave and sensual note, slightly concerned by an exotic coconut key. This tasty departure succeeds an opulent heart and the powdered and flowered accents of heliotrope.
Guipure & Silk belongs to the world of seduction with its round and generous bottle, its fine black lace lets appear the goldy reflections of a charming perfume.
Olfactory: azerial, floral, ambery
It is the exact replica of a famous fragrance with a red boudoir atmosphere and that would be.........Dior Hypnotic Poison! When we say "exact" we mean it. There are slight nuances that differ such as more of watery, tea-like, and honeyed nuances with some coconut thrown into the mix for Guipure and Silk, where Hypnotic Poison is rich with heliotropin and powdery almonds. The result however is unambiguously an attempt at xeroxing the Dior perfume. Guipure and Silk is not as layered and deep as the original, but it is, superficially at least, extremely similar.
Next, for 14 Euros you can purchase this, and we quote:
A vibrating fragrance.
Like a soft touch on the skin. A luminous texture, woven with sunny citrus fruits.
A remote inspiration is at the origin of Sultane: The East, MUSE for the creator of this perfume. This fragrance is in charge of spiced scents, marvellous images and sparkling colors.
Olfactory: floral, green, fruity, musky
"A remote inspiration is at the origin of Sultane: The East, MUSE for the creator of this perfume"........Well, truth be told, we did not know that....... Michel Almairac lived in the East! For Sultane is nothing but the replica of........Burberry London! So probably they really meant to say....... The West. We can qualify our comment by adding that in fact it is a slightly more citrus-y version of Burberry London and that it does not match ultimately the quality of the original, but the intention is there and very clear. As far as dupes go, it is a good dupe.
Some people prefer some dupes to the originals. There is always the chance that they might develop better on one's skin. Both perfumes could be seen as lighter, more laid-back versions of the originals and certainly cheaper, both from the price standpoint and the olfactory standpoint (but not in a disagreeable sense). The question is, why not just simply state on their website that they are perfectly honest copies?
We can report on Jeanne Arthès' excellent service. They ship world-wide and even offer a little gift-with-purchase. We got a ladies pocket-knife and it is very useful for opening our packages and letters.
You can visit the Jeanne Arthès website here.