Vintages Jean Patou Lasso: A Forgotten Way Of Seduction

Jean Patou Lasso: A Forgotten Way Of Seduction

03/09/15 07:00:00 (8 comments)

by: Sergey Borisov

Every time I get a parcel, it makes my day happy and joyful. Now Mr. Postman brought me a package from the Marais part of Paris, with a bottle of Jean Patou Lasso eau de toilette inside. Someone's Parisienne mother's or grandmother's forgotten gift, a souvenir of the 50s-60s, that was found in a dusty closet. The little-known fragrance by the glorious house of Jean Patou. Reason to open the bottle, to try some vintage perfume and find yourself in the history.

photo by Serguey Borisov, Lasso Jean Patou, 1956

The first thought: I know it! It is familiar to me, it's the perfume of my Soviet childhood! A strong fruity chypre start in which the lactonic sweetness of peaches is shaded by moss and patchouli. However, then an easy fleeting powdery sweetness sneaks in, that of heliotropine, powdery iris and carnation. And this violet triple accord moves Jean Patou Lasso away from the old Guerlain Mitsouko (which could be thought of, with the first fruity chypre notes) and towards another historic gem, Guerlain L'Heure Bleue, with its sweet-powdery oriental feel of relaxation (heliotrope, carnation, iris flowers and vanilla).

So, does Lasso represent a desire to get between two Guerlains, or combine two successful concepts? It's possible, of course, but it is unlikely. Being an historically established perfume house, Jean Patou had its own fruity chypres (like Que Sais-Je?, Colony) and powdery floral-orientals (Chaldée, Amour-Amour) from which to make this perfume.

The first post-war Jean Patou fragrance was creamy soft L'Heure Attendue (1946), “The long-awaited hour” in which the joyful sigh of relief after the war was depicted by incense, jasmine, sandalwood and vetiver, and it brings a peaceful feeling of “all is going to be well now.” Could it be the post-war Europe dream of returning to the wonderful Belle Epoque times, or at the end of the First World War? Maybe. In which case the sweet powdery chord of Jean Patou Lasso would just have been quoted from the pre-war perfumes to build a new structure on an old foundation. In the past this sort of citation is often encountered: for example, Guy Robert mantioned that his Hermès Calèche was the development of Fruit Vert by Florel, and Madame Rochas arose from Lanvin Arpege, while Miss Dior fragrance was a continuation of Chypre de Coty and Pierre Balmain Vent Vert. It can be found nowadays, as well.

However, the new fragrance cannot be an exact copy of the old one. Some development of the well-known theme is compulsory. New themes of the post-war times appeared in the form of chypres: leather chypre (Robert Piguet Bandit, 1944), green chypre (Carven Ma Griffe, 1946) and floral chypre (Miss Dior, 1947).

Lasso by Jean Patou is a soft, non-aggressive aldehydic chypre, with dense rose marmalade, warm and woody purple violet, fruity jasmine and an impressive sillage of animalistic musks that initially hides behind heliotrope, sweet flowers and creamy peaches. The Lasso perfume does not show sharp claws—it's a leather chypre in soft focus, a soft and furry animal. It seems like tired Guerlain Place Rouge or Guerlain Quand Vient La Pluie got lost in their times and eras, but that's probably shared with the tastes of the clients and sources of inspiration. For example, Jean Patou Lasso could grow from soft chypre Que Sais-Je?, combined with Chaldée or one of the “cocktail perfumes” of Cocktail Bar de Jean Patou. In The New Yorker magazine in 1957, the advertising article compared Lasso to Moment Supreme (also, the fragrance is called new and it reports the perfume's price—from $5.50 to $27.50 for a bottle). Today Jean Patou fragrances are much less well-known than Guerlain perfumes and the Patou examples do not immediately come to mind.

Inside the sweet powdery oriental body of Lasso, in its dense floral heart, in the middle of the soft dessert base, lies dry leather or suede, with a green gardenia tint, and dry woods with moss and patchouli. By the soft fruity-suede sillage with animalic musks it recalls for me the enveloping and viscous drydown of Paco Rabanne La Nuit. It is interesting that while being linked to so many different allusions, Lasso remains an incredibly familiar and dense sweet déjà-vu scent from my Soviet childhood. Given that the authorship Jean Patou Lasso is credited to famous Guy Robert, then a young perfumer, Soviet perfumers did quite impressive perfumes sometimes!

Jean Patou Lasso was launched long after Jean Patou passed away, and came along under the slogan "Votre Arme Secrete" (“Your Secret Weapon”). A lady in a glamourous open-backed dress is throwing a lasso to the air—a symbol of active, intentional and designed seduction via aroma. The image would have looked quite contradictory to the 50s: the lady in the luxurious dress does not flirt by means of a fan and does not glance from afar in hopes of attracting male attention, but is actively trying to catch the chosen and desired man of her choice.

The approach in which a woman become an active person of seduction while men assumed the role of prey just upended the notion of seduction. (And it`s quite perfect timing for the recent International Women's Day, this year with slogan “Make it Happen,” linked with all women's rights.) I have no idea how this aggressive advertising approach would work today, against the background of all genders struggling for their equal rights— but 60 years ago the ad worked poorly. This perfumed lasso did not sell very well, and in the 60s it was discontinued, replaced by Caline, the gentle floral chypre for young girls. The house of Jean Patou does not consider Lasso a worthwhile perfume (like many others, such as Monsieur Net, Hip and Heureux Amants). It was not included, for example, in the Jean Patou Ma Collection 1925-1964 set of 12 perfumes,revived by Jean Kerleo in 1984. And now, when the house of Jean Patou has changed its owner and in-house perfumer again, it would be a miracle if Lasso were to appear on the shelves. This kind of sex does not sell.

photo (auction is active)

Jean Patou Lasso

Top notes: Peach, Heliotrope, Carnation, Fruit accord;

Heart notes: Jasmine, Rose, Iris, Violet, Pepper;

Base notes: Leather, Vanilla, Oak moss, Patchouli, Musk, Amber, Civet, Vetiver, Sandalwood.



Serguey Borisov

Serguey Borisov has been known in the Internet world of perfume under the nickname moon_fish for more than 10 years. Now he writes about perfumes for and, and contributes on the subject for glossy magazines.





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drugstore classics
drugstore classics

Fascinating story, terrific ad copy, and FANTASTIC bottle combine to make me a trifle sad that such a lovely scent was ever discontinued.

Thanks for sharing your beautiful find with us, Serguey!


Et ce flacon qui imite le plissé d'une robe....
Aaaargh !! Je meurs !
Tout le glam' hollywoodien dans un flacon.
Imaginez le sur une toilette de Bette Davis, de Joan Crawford, de Katharine Hepburn ou de toute autre légende du cinéma...
Et en plus ce flacon renferme un parfum... poudré !
Re-aaargh !! Ca y est ! Je suis morte !! Trop d'émotions !!

lotus and jasmine
lotus and jasmine

Thank you for this- I hadn't actually considered perfume as a sensory experience of history, despite collecting vintage scents for a while now. This is an entirely new perspective for me, and adds a new facet to my enjoyment of scent. I will now have to research my favorites. I'm grateful for this perspective! Just WOW.


This was a brilliant article. Many, many thanks to you. RIP my bottle of Lasso edt (same as first photo) that was spilt in storage.....but at least I knew her for a while!


Thank you for this - I am SO envious! I adore this perfume, and I would just kill to have a bottle; the clasic Jean Patou scents are my all-time favorites. If only they would bring it back, but of course it could not be the same now.


I love reading about vintage perfumes. This particular one not only sounds like it smells great but it has such an interesting bottle. Even the ad campaign photo appeals to me.

I too love 1000 - I discovered it last year when another perfume blogger wrote about it. I was able to find a brand new unopened tester at my local Neiman Marcus. They seemed to think it may not be carried there any more.

anita thompson.monroe
anita thompson.monroe

This history is so interesting and is unknown to many lovers of fragrance. The bottle for "Lasso" reminds me of the bottle for "Intoxication", a long-lost
fragrance from the 50's that my mother and grandmother loved.

Patou's 1000 is still well and available, thank goodness. It las long been a favorite of mine.


Great interview with the new nose of jean Patou Sergey did. It helped me a lot to understand what is worth trying from reborn brands.


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