Reviewed by Lenore Worth Hiers
While much has been written before about M. Coty (1874 – 1934), this biography is greatly enhanced by the personal reminiscences of his grandson’s wife who worked for the company, and is filled with information gleaned through both research and oral history from conversations with Yvonne Coty (Francois’ wife). Thus, many personal family stories are shared, delightfully. We learn intimate details regarding his wife, his mistresses, and his children (two legitimate and five illegitimate).
His calling card read: “Francois Coty: Industrialist, Artist, Technician, Economist, Financier, Social Scientist”. All, true, but to which could be added Perfumer and Billionaire. While we know him thorough his perfumes and cosmetics, he was also known for his ownership of newspapers, political views, interest in fabulous automobiles and airplanes, and purchase/restoration of fourteen historic residences and chateaux in Europe alone.
His early perfume efforts, creating Cologne Coty and La Rose Jaqueminot (pictured on the book cover), as well as the Baccarat bottles used, are all discussed. The relationship between Coty and Lalique is reviewed and expanded. Other tidbits of information, such as the creation of his own larger glass works in 1920 resulting in no longer using he Lalique glass works is set forth. His artistic talent led him to create many of the perfume bottles his company launched, although as we know Lalique created some also.
IPBA members who are thanked by the authors for contributing to this book are: Madeleine France, Annette Green and Rick Kinsel.