New Book Retraces Life of Founder of Marionnaud Chain of Perfumeries: Un Homme au Parfum (2012) {Fragrant Reading}


November 2012 saw the release of a new book on the destinies of perfumery as seen through the eyes this time of French entrepreneur Bernard Marionnaud, the co-founder of the famous chain of perfumeries... 

Those continued after Sephora to break the model of the rarefied atmosphere smelt at the perfume counter by allowing customers to freely roam inside a self-service perfumery and explore perfumes and beauty products by themselves.

The concept was invented by Dominique Mandonnaud in 1969 in Limoges before being first applied more largely to Sephora. 

The book is an autobiography co-written with Sylvie Nordheim.

20 pages into these memoirs, you can already tell how scents are naturally important to Bernard Marionnaud as he intersperses his recollections with rich olfactory descriptions. The text revives chapters of the larger French historical context too, such as the very important turning point of the advent of paid vacations in 1936. 

Marionnaud confesses that he knew from an early age that he wanted to give back to the "little people", i.e.,  to the social class in which he was born.

The narrative retells in part how he had to fight the luxury houses to impose the idea and practice of a democratization of luxury and culture of everyday, easily accessible glamor (as opposed to spectacular, aristocratic glamor) {See also the daily glamor of Lipsticks}. 

Un Homme au Parfum (A Man in the Know), Le Cherche Midi, 333 pages, Paris, 2012.

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