Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Tropiques c1935

Lancome Tropiques: launched in 1935. Created by Armand Petitjean. Tropiques was inspired by the tropical port of Bahia in Brazil and the perfume reportedly took four years to be completed. Tropiques was one of the first five Lancome perfumes to be presented at the Universal Exhibition in Brussels, the others were Tendre Nuit, Bocages, Conquête and Kypre.

Fragrance Composition:

So what does it smell like? It is classified as an exotic floral oriental fragrance laden with citrus, tropical fruits, spices, white flowers and precious woods. 
  • Top notes: bergamot, spices (pepper, clove, cinnamon), mandarin, aromatic notes, tropical fruits
  • Middle notes: orchid, gardenia, honey, orchid, jasmine, ylang ylang, tuberose, carnation
  • Base notes: leather, sandalwood, vanilla, precious woods, amber, vetiver, oakmoss

Armand Petitjean, creator of the perfume explains:
"Tropiques is like honey. With its heavy coating of spices and aromatics it frightens off most of the English and the northerners, although it may appeal profoundly to women of society and artists."

A 1945 Lancome perfume catalog described Tropiques as:
"Sur un fond évocateur - aromates, bois, épices - le jeu divin d'odeurs très pures.Une nappe suave mais profonde et assez capiteuse dégagé d'abord dans sa plénitude. La suprême élégance de ce parfum paraît avec les accords de notes hautes, intenses, d'une distinction qui ravit. "  
"On an evocative background - spices, woods, spices - the divine play of very pure odors. A suave but deep and quite heady tablecloth first released in its fullness. The supreme elegance of this perfume appears with the notes of high, intense notes of a distinction that delights."

Official sewing and fashion of Paris, Issues 880-882, 2003:
"The first five perfumes from Lancôme occupy different territories. Tropics preferred by Petitjean, reminds him of South America.  "Imagine a man in white suit walking down the harbor of Pernambuco in the late afternoon, in the midst of incoming vessels to port. He finds himself in a corner of the pier where bananas, molasses, spices, precious woods, rum, leather are being unloaded. Smells exalted by the sun mingling with hints of the tide, and the scent of hemp. A little later, the man got back into a full residential town of fragrant gardens. After the clutter of the port, the sumptuousness of rare flowers, in the calm shade of the trees, the incredible luxury of rest ...A magical evocation suggestive of a delicious honey fragrance. The bottle, it's terrain surrounded by ropes, is embellished with fine gold."

Ladies Home Journal, 1947:
"Tropiques by Lancome. casts an aura of surf, palms, and exotic flowers."


Tropiques was presented in various bottles over the years, but it's deluxe parfum flacon was made up of clear crystal, the square bottle is molded with simulated knotted rope as if bound like cargo, a nod to it's inspiration. A thick crystal cover hides the ground glass inner stopper, while gold baudruchage thread is wound around the neck of the bottle and passed through a notch in the center of the stopper to seal the flacon. The perfume's name is printed in gold enamel in the bottom right corner of the bottle.

This bottle was available in four sizes:

  • 1/2 oz (catalog reference number 5201)
  • 1 oz (catalog reference number 5202)
  • 2 oz (catalog reference number 5203)
  • 3.5 oz (catalog reference number 5204)

The 1945 Lancome perfume catalog describes it as:
Flacon créé par Lancôme: plat, de silhouette , presque carrée, avec des cordages en relief en rehaussés d'or fin. Bouchon massif, allongé, taillé, retenu par un cordonnet de soie verte. Coffret carré, à couvercle décoré de phalénopsis roses et mauves, sur fond de bois de rose poncé à l'or et intérieurement  gainé de satin verte amande très pâle. 
Flacon created by Lancôme: flat, silhouette, almost square, with raised ropes enlightened with fine gold. Solid plug, elongated, cut, retained by a cordonet of green silk. Square box, with lid decorated with pink and purple phalaenopsis, on a background of rosewood sanded with gold and internally sheathed with green satin and very pale almond .

Bottles & boxes were designed by Georges Delhomme. 

Etoile Flacon:

Lancôme - "Tropiques" - (1935) Edition luxury dating back to 1944 square box with canted cardboard covered with polychrome paper patterns inspired decor Florentine bindings, titled, containing the bottle model "Etoile" colorless pressed glass molded rectangular shaped 8-pointed star, with its gold label. Bottle designed by Jean Sala, box designed by Georges Delhomme. H. 12.5 cm

Scroll Flacon (my own name for it):

Tropiques," a JEAN SALA designed perfume bottle for Lancome, limited edition 1944, in clear and frosted glass with label, in deluxe display box. Ht. 4 5/8 in (11.5 cm). This flacon was also used for Conquete.

Purse Bottles:

Fate of the Fragrance:

Discontinued, date unknown.  During WWII, importations of Lancome fragrances such as Tropiques, Tendres Nuit, Fleches, Cuir, Conquete, Bocages, Peut Etre, and Kypre were halted and did not return to US soil until 1946.  Still being sold in 1952.

Tropiques was reformulated by Laurent Bruyere and Dominique Ropion. The limited edition perfume was relaunched as part of  the Collection Voyage, a travel retail only limited edition in 2006.  The new Tropiques is a fruity floral.

From Lancome:
"Tropiques is the first edition of the Collection Voyage by Lancome Parfums. This floral fruity and radiant fragrance evokes a tropical garden where notes of jasmine, bergamot and mango flower flourish and blend together." 

Reformulated version:
  • Top notes: bergamot, cranberry and raspberry
  • Middle notes: kumquat, mango blossom, jasmine and blackberry
  • Base notes: vanilla, tonka, and sandalwood

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