François Coty’s great-granddaughter Véronique Coty talks to Luxe Packaging Insight about her passion project, reviving scents created a century ago by the “father of modern perfumery”. Spoturno 1921 is the first perfume to launch.
As well as presiding the Association François Coty, you’ve also founded La Cité des Parfums to commercialize revisited fragrances originally created by your great grandfather.
Yes. Founded in December 2019, La Cité des Parfums takes its name from the factory in Suresnes built by François Coty (born Joseph Marie François Spoturno), which employed some 4,000 staff in its heyday. Spoturno 1921, an extrait de parfum, is the first fragrance to launch.
For intellectual property reasons I can’t use the original names of the fragrances created by François Coty. Calling them Spoturno - his birth name before he took his mother’s name “Coti” and put a “y” to make it international - and adding the year in which they were created is a way to bring some much-needed modernity.
What is your development strategy for Spoturno?
We want to go slowly, with around one launch per year for the next three years. Some seven or eight fragrances, which I believe are true François Coty masterpieces, are planned: Spoturno 1917, 1909, 1906, 1905 and 1904 are all in the pipeline, culminating in Spoturno 1927 in 2027.
This month will see the launch of a 6ml version of Spoturno 1921 with a glass stopper, and if everything works well the next step will be a 40ml format with a cylindrical bottle, fitted with a pump and different cap which will be designed as more accessible for millennial consumers.
What can you tell us about the Made-in-France and craftsmanship approach you took to the scent and the packaging?
I’d say that our approach is artistic rather than commercial, and we wanted to create something extraordinary. I’ve opted for a hyper luxury model, targeting collectors and consumers looking for exceptional pieces. This means not skimping on ingredients and creating packaging that really stands out from the crowd. We didn’t want to offer extrait de parfum in an ordinary bottle and simple cardboard box.
In terms of inspiration, we looked at packaging from the 1920s, with this idea of celebrating perfume. We wanted to present a perfumed work of art, rather than a perfume, so the arched “altar-box”, with its pedestal and almost religious connotations, works really well.
In the past, many artisans worked in the shadow of brands, even perfumers. I think today we need to recognize these talents. The savoir-faire of French artisans is worth its weight in gold. More than 20 different trades were involved in the creation of Spoturno 1921, from those who pick the flowers used in the formulas to the packaging artisans.
Which artisans did you work with for the packaging of Spoturno 1921?
Tristan Auer designed the entire “piece of art” – bottle, cap and secondary packaging. The bespoke, crystal flacons were made by Waltersperger. Each torch-blown, inlaid flower in the glass stopper (Adrian Colin) is unique, as is each, hand-decorated “altar-box”. Several artisans worked on these boxes: the metal structure is the work of Emporte-Pièces des Mauges, the crackle-effect décor with white gold Kintsugi is done by hand by Atelier l'Etoile, the gold leaf by Ateliers Gohard and the bespoke mirrors on the inside of the doors are the work of Kopper Glass. I learnt the baudruchage technique from dames de table and seal each flacon with the gold thread myself. The wooden boxes (Dardel) are satin lined and sheathed in paper from Winter. The bottles, stoppers and boxes are all individually numbered.
There’s something of a trend for reviving historic fragrance brands: Cherigan, Caron, Bien Aimé…
Yes. I see this as a very good sign for the market and it’s fantastic to witness the revival of these heritage brands. I think consumers are fed up with smelling the same fragrances, or poor quality scents. Perfumes of yesteryear are no longer considered old-fashioned scents, but rather real perfumes. Today we have anything and everything we want on the market, and there needs to be a return to more rare, qualitative and personalized products - everything that is the essence of perfumery.