Paco Rabanne perfumes were launched by the design house of the same name. Originally from Spain, he fled during the Spanish Civil War and remained in France for the rest of his life.
His career began as a jeweler, creating for some of the biggest couture design houses in Paris. He opened his own design house in 1966.
Collaborating with Piug in 1968, Paco Rabanne launched his first perfume. First perfume launches can wind up forgotten or be the most famous perfume they will ever make. In this case, it was the latter because the first perfume was the French Perfume Legend, Paco Rabanne Calandre.
Calandre is pretty much a green floral chypre. Opening with bright citrus over a rose, hyacinth middle with additional notes of musk and woods, the perfume was designed by Michel Hy. Calandre was my persona scent during my 20s, and I adored it. Easy to wear, sexy, it exuded brightness and confidence. It was reformulated to a shadow of its former self, and now it has been discontinued as they continue to make the 3,000 Ultraviolet flankers. No, I’m not bitter.
The original brief Rabanne wrote for Calandre – “Imagine it’s spring. A rich young man arrives in his E-type Jaguar to pick up his girlfriend. Imagine the scent of fast air, speed and leather seats. He takes the girl for a ride along the seaside. He stops in a forest. There he makes love to her on the bonnet of the car.” Paco, babe, I thought it smelled just a little more innocent, but maybe that’s because I was young and didn’t know any inappropriate young men with a Jaguar. My inappropriate boys drove a Barracuda or Grand Prix.
Whether you knew boys in Jaguars or not, Calandre is a gorgeous perfume who has been mistreated with the most recent reformulation and is now sadly gone. Grab those bottles on eBay while you can.