In creating Quelques Fleurs, Houbigant perfumer Robert Bienaimé "joined the early users of methyl nonyl acetaldehyde" (aldehyde C-12 MNA) a synthetic aroma chemical isolated by professor Georges Darzens in 1903.
In 1912, Quelques Fleurs was a great fragrance a "prestige" fragrance, was we would say today a fragrance Houbigant could be proud of. In fact, the name itself mirrors the original sign over Jean-François Houbigant's Paris shop the "Basket of Flowers".
In 1935, Bienaimé left Houbigant to found his own fragrance house. Quelques Fleurs continued to be a top seller for Houbigant worldwide but, over the years, the formula and "positioning" of the brand mutated. By 1993 Houbigant had split its licenses, trademarks and manufacturing rights among various licencees in various countries; quality control became less important than cash flow. Quelques Fleurs became more of a name (trademark) than a fragrance. By the 1990s, it is likely that most buyers of Quelques Fleurs had no knowledge of the fragrance's proud origins and it would more likely be found in a chain drugstore than an upscale department store.
Today Quelques Fleurs can be credited as providing a good part of the inspiration that led perfumer Ernest Beaux to create Rallet's Bouquet de Catherine (1913), which, after its failure in Russia, was renamed Rallet Le No.1, and led directly to Beaux's creation of No.5 for Chanel1>.
Also studying Robert Bienaimé's use of aldehyde C-12 MNA were perfumers Henri Alméras (who created Joy for Jean Patou), Vincent Roubert (who created L'Aimant for Coty), and Henri Robert (who went on to become Chanel's perfumer in the 1950s and creator of Chanel's No.19).
When it was launched in 1912, Quelques Fleurs was hailed (by perfumers in particular) as a modern fragrance — and indeed it set a course which 20th century perfumery followed for many years.
If you have any information on Quelques Fleurs or Houbigant, please share it with us using the message sender below.
Comments On This Article
Add Your Comment
Visit the Museum Bookstore
Perfume books for connoisseurs and collectors
Some are now collectibles themselves!