Artist, financier, politician, industrialist, philanthropist, lover, and above all—parfumeur—
François Coty revolutionized the fragrance industry during the first thirty years of the twentieth century. The genius visionary behind such legendary scents as Chypre
and La Rose Jacqueminot,
François Coty rose to extraordinary fame and fortune during his lifetime, following his extraordinary “nose” to exalt women with his innovative luxury products.
Presenting a dazzling study of the sensational “Emperor of Fragrance” and France’s first billionaire, this unprecedented biography traces Coty’s life and legacy from his familial roots through his death in 1934 and the transformations of Coty, Inc. into the cosmetics powerhouse it remains today.
Born in 1874, next-door to the house of his relative and idol Napoleon Bonaparte, François Coty was orphaned at the age of seven. He spent his childhood under the care of the Jesuit priests and elderly women of his ancestral Italian family in Ajaccio, the capital of Corsica. After briefly serving in the reserves of the French army, Coty became a parliamentary attaché for a well-connected family friend and prominent Parisian senator. Coty spent four years absorbing Paris’s political and cultural scene of the fin de siècle before discovering his extraordinarily sensitive sense of smell. He set out to create his first fragrance in 1904; by 1906, he was a millionaire.
Drawing upon Coty’s personal correspondences, memoranda, and papers, the authors have crafted a modish and masterful biography of France’s first man of fragrance. Rich in intimate anecdotes involving such figures as Coco Chanel, René Lalique, former kaiser Wilhelm Hohenzollern II, and Sergei Diaghilev, this comprehensive treatment of one of history’s most captivating, elegant, and complex fashion and business leaders will be appreciated by history aficionados, fashion industry devotees, and anyone who enjoys a fine fragrance and a good story.
About the Authors
Roulhac B. Toledano works as an artist, writer, and preserver of historic American treasures. She has edited, compiled, and contributed to various art history, architecture, and biographical works, including William Aiken Walker: Southern Genre Painter
and five volumes of the New Orleans Architecture Series,
all published by Pelican.
Elizabeth Z. Coty is the granddaughter-in-law of François Coty and the former director of Cosmetics and Fragrance for Coty, Inc. New York. She was named Professional Woman of the Year by the New York Journal-American in 1960 and went on to work as the founder and publisher of Marbella Times newspaper and magazine in Spain.