Couturier Marcel Rochas was born in Paris in 1902 and is said to have been inspired by Jean Cocteau, Christian Berard and Paul Poiret. In 1925 he opened his own couture house; then in 1931, moved to his more famous Paris address, 12 avenue de Matignon.
Rochas became as well known in Hollywood as he was in Paris and his clientele included the likes of Carol Lombard, Marlene Dietrich, Joan Crawford, Katherine Hepburn, Jean Harlow, and, above all, Mae West who, it is said, inspired Rochas's introduction of the "Waspie" — the strapless bra-girdle, known in French as the guépiére, which pinched the waist and emphasized the bust. Rochas was said to favor hourglass figures.
In 1936 Rochas began to offer exclusive fragrances to his salon clients, perfumes not available elsewhere. These were discontinued at the onset of World War Two.
The Liberation brought change to the Rochas business. Change came in the form of Albert Gosset, young son of the owners of Gosset Champagne. Rather than pursue the family business, Gosset opted for perfume. His association with Rochas gave birth to Parfums Rochas, S.A., in 1945.
Marcel Rochas died in 1955. His 28-year-old wife and long time creative muse, Hélenè Rochas, became president of the company. During the decade of the 1960's, Parfums Rochas became one of the major French perfume marketers but the couture business was gone.
In 1987 the company was sold to Wella, which tried to revive the couture business by hiring first Peter O'Brien and later Olivier Theyskins.
But Wella itself was acquired by Proctor & Gamble in 2003 and in 2006 P&G closed the couture business.
In 2008 Proctor & Gamble appointed Jean Michel Duriez in house-perfumer for Rochas. Duriez, who had trained under Jean Kerleo, was already in-house perfumer for Jean Patou, also owned by Proctor & Gamble. It remains to be seen whether P&G will keep the brand alive.
Perfumes by Marcel Rochas and Parfums Rochas
|Air Jeune (1936)||unknown||Sold only to salon clients.|
|Audace (1936)||unknown||Sold only to salon clients.|
|Avenue Matignon (1936)||unknown||Sold only to salon clients.|
|Femme (1945)||Edmond Roudnitska||While not a huge commercial success, Roudnitska's Femme is considered one of the great works of the perfumer's art. (Roudnitska had been working on the formula for year before being asked by Rochas and Gossed for a perfume.)|
|Mousseline (1948)||Edmond Roudnitska|
|Eau de Verveine (1948)||Edmond Roudnitska||Sold only to salon clients.|
|Moustache (1948)||Edmond Roudnitska||Sold only to salon clients.|
|Mouche (1949)||Edmond Roudnitska|
|La Rose de Rochas (1949)||Edmond Roudnitska|
|Madame Rochas (1960)||Guy Robert|
|Monsieur Rochas (1969)||Guy Robert|
|Eau de Rochas (1970)|
|Mystere de Rochas (1978)||unknown|
|Byzance (1987)||Nicholas Mamounas|
|Eau de Rochas pour Homme (1993)||unknown|
|Tocade (1994)||Maurice Roucel|
|Fleur d'Eau (1996)||unknown|
|Eau de Fan (1996)||unknown|
|Alchimie (1998)||Jacque Cavallier|
|Rochas Man (1999)||Daniela Candio|
|Aquawoman (2002)||Michel Almieras|
|Ropchas Lui (2003)||unknown|
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