Posts tagged ‘Chanel’

Scent of Triumph: guest-post by Jan Moran


Scent of Triumph:
A Novel of Perfume And Passion

(historical novel)

Release date: March 31, 2015
at St. Martin’s Press
384 pages

ISBN: 9781250048905



Perfume is the essence of beauty, the heart of illusion, the soul of desire. It is my past, my present, my future. —from the journal of Danielle Bretancourt

When French perfumer and aristocrat Danielle Bretancourt steps aboard a luxury ocean liner, leaving her son behind in Poland with his grandmother, she has no idea that her life is about to change forever. The year is 1939, and the declaration of war on the European continent soon threatens her beloved family, scattered across many countries. Traveling through London and Paris into occupied Poland, Danielle searches desperately for the remains of her family, relying on the strength of Jonathan Newell-Grey, a British shipping heir and Royal Navy officer. Finally, in the wake of unspeakable tragedy, she is forced to gather the fragments of her impoverished family and flee to America. There she vows to begin life anew, in 1940s Los Angeles.

Amidst the glamour of Hollywood’s Golden Age, Danielle works her way up from meager jobs to perfumer and fashion designer. Still, personal happiness eludes her. Can her sheer force of will attract the elusive love she desires, or will it only come at the ultimate cost? (provided by the author)

[NB: Significant changes, different version and storyline, including the ending, from the self-published version of 2012!]

Thank you for having me here today on my Scent of Triumph! First, a little about me. For years I worked in the beauty industry; I cataloged thousands of new and classic perfumes for women and men, and created touch-screen programs (FragranceIQ, SKinIQ) for Sephora, DFS, Nordstrom and JCPenney stores, work for which I received a FiFi award from The Fragrance Foundation in New York.

When I began to write, it seemed natural to write about perfumeryScent of Triumph follows a French perfumer during the 1940s. Perfume and aromas are her professional frame of reference, so vintage perfumes are laced throughout the book.

Today I’d like to feature the background history on two classic perfumes still popular around the world. Even if you’ve never worn them, chances are someone you remember someone who does. Our olfactory sense—our sense of smell—is the strongest memory trigger we have, with a direct path to the limbic center of the brain, the seat of memories and emotions.

In Scent of Triumph my protagonist, Danielle Bretancourt, has specific memories or encounters with each one of these perfumes. (Without giving the scenes away, I wanted to share the history on each perfume, so when you read Scent of Triumph, you’ll have extra insight as to why these were included.)

Mitsouko by Guerlain (1919) – Created on the eve of the Roaring Twenties, Mitsouko reflects the Far Eastern style that became the rage in the flamboyant years after World War I. Third generation perfumer Jacques Guerlain developed Mitsouko for women of passion, intensity, strength, and introspection.

Mitsouko opens with fruity top notes of tangy bergamot and smooth, mellow peach. A lilac blend follows, dissolving into a woody chypre drydown, redolent of vetiver, oakmoss, and amber. Mitsouko is a sensual, voluptuous fragrance, like a dark, full-bodied Cabernet Sauvignon.

Mitsouko means “mystery” in Japanese and was inspired by a character in the Claude Farrère novel, La Bataille, or The Battle. The story revolved around the ill-fated love of an English officer and the wife of the ship’s commander–a beautiful Japanese woman named Mitsouko. Farrère had mentioned another Guerlain fragrance, Jicky, in one of his novels, so Jacques Guerlain reciprocated the honor by naming his fragrance after a Farrère character. And so Mitsouko lives on, in print and in fragrance. It remains one of the great jewels of the House of Guerlain.

Chanel 5

Chanel No. 5 (1921) – Chanel No. 5 was the first fragrance from Parisian couturier Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel, who was one of the first designers to introduce a perfume. According to Chanel, the secret behind Chanel No. 5 is an extraordinary, powdery blend of aldehydes–ingredients that defy categorization–combined with rich floral and warm amber notes. Take a tip from Marilyn Monroe–when the press once asked what nightwear she wore to bed, she smiled and answered, “Chanel No. 5.” And that was all.

What inspired the numeric name? Chanel once reported that when she asked Ernest Beaux to create a fragrance for her, he presented her with several scents, and she selected the bottle numbered “5.” Coincidentally, her couture collection was scheduled for presentation on the fifth day of the fifth month–May 5. Interpreting this as a good omen, she bestowed upon the fragrance the name of Chanel No. 5. It was the popularity of the early Chanel fragrances that spawned the designer fragrance industry of today.

Thanks for stopping by today! I hope you’ve enjoyed learning more about this vintage duo, and I hope you’ll enjoy reading Scent of Triumph.



Scent of Triumph Vintage Perfumes


PS: I’d love to see you with a selfie
of your favorite perfume
and a copy of Scent of Triumph
when you receive it!

Email that to,
and I’ll email a free e-copy of my next book,
Vintage Perfumes.



Scent of Triumph - Jan MoranJAN MORAN is the author of Fabulous Fragrances I and II,
which earned spots on the Rizzoli Bookstore bestseller list,
and other contemporary novels,
including Flawless, Beauty Mark, and Runway.
A fragrance and beauty industry expert,
she has been featured on CNN, Instyle, and O Magazine,
and has spoken before prestigious organizations,
including The American Society of Perfumers.
She earned her MBA from Harvard Business School
and attended the University of California at Los Angeles Extension Writers’ Program.

Visit her website. Follow her on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest

Subscribe to her newsletter

Go deeper with her Reader’s Discussion Guide

Buy the bookAmazon US  |  Amazon UK  | Barnes & Noble  | Apple iBooks

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Jean-Noël Liaut on Tour: The Many Lives of Miss K.

Many Lives of Miss K banner

Many Lives of Miss K

Author Jean-Noël Liaut

on Tour

September 2-6, 2013

with his biography of Toto Koopman (1908 – 1991):

The Many Lives of Miss K.:
Toto Koopman – Model, Muse, Spy

 Release date: September 3, 2013
Rizzoli ExLibris (an imprint of Rizzoli New York)

   256 pages + 8 page b/w photo insert
Author’s website (in French and English) | Goodreads



She is the most fascinating woman you’ve probably never heard of. Toto Koopman (1908 – 1991) was the world’s first celebrated bi-racial model, who was known for her work with Vogue and Chanel; acted as a spy for the Resistance, served time in WWII concentration camps; and played a pivotal role in launching the career of Francis Bacon.  She was fluent in five languages, led a jet set life in Europe in the 1920s and 1930s, associated with royalty, politicians, artists and other bon vivants. She was openly bisexual and beholden to no one, vowing never to marry.

She was affectionately known as Miss K and here is her story.

THE MANY LIVES OF MISS K: Toto Koopman – Model, Muse, Spy explores the allure of a freethinking and courageous woman who, fiercely protective of her independence, was sought after by many but truly known by very few. Author Jean-Noël Liaut chases his enigmatic subject through the many roles and lives she inhabited, both happy and tragic. Though her beauty, charisma, and taste for the extraordinary made her an exuberant fixture of Paris fashion and café society, her intelligence and steely sense of self drove her toward bigger things, culminating in espionage during WWII, for which she was imprisoned by the Nazis in Ravensbrück. After the horrors of the camp, she found solace in Erica Brausen, the German art dealer who launched the career of Francis Bacon, and the two women lived out their lives together surrounded by cultural luminaries like Edmonde Charles-Roux and Luchino Visconti. But even in her later decades, Toto remained impossible for anyone to truly possess.

Toto Koopman is a new addition to the pantheon of iconoclastic women whose biographies intrigue and inspire modern-day readers. Like her contemporaries Lee Miller or Vita Sackville-West, Toto lived with an independent spirit more typical of the men of her generation, moving in the worlds of fashion, society, art, and politics with an insouciant ease that would stir both admiration and envy even today. Sphinx-like and tantalizing, Toto conducted her life as a game, and each page of her biography conveys audacity and style.[provided by the publisher]



Monday, September 2
Review + Giveaway at
Musings of a Writer and Unabashed Francophile

Tuesday, September 3
Review + Giveaway at I Am, Indeed

Wednesday, September 4
Review + Giveaway at Boxes Of Paper

Thursday, September 5
Review + Giveaway at Comp Lit And Mediaphilia

Friday, September 6
Review + Giveaway at Enchanted By Josephine