Thread: Creed Royal Warrants
Meh, it was too good to be true. Creed isn't the only perfume house to lie to consumers, just the most blatant. I know it doesn't affect most consumer decisions here but it I'm sure it does for most of the purchasing public and that's what gets my hackles up. I like the idea of basenotes as a repository of truth in a hobby where most companies lie pretty much nonstop.
Well, I would just differ with you on that. Race, citizenship and nationality are three different issues. The real shame is that one would even be given cause to wonder, but hey, that's just how I feel about the guy.
Back to Creed-- well I do find these royal warrants interesting, even if they are for clothiers. I just wonder exactly how and when Olivier decided to go about rebranding the company and building up the fragrance line. I have a few questions about their timeline. I can't get over the fact that Orange Spice (1949) is so similar to Kouros(1981). And then you have Pierre Bourdon's name in the mix of GIT/Cool Water and also Original Santal/Montblanc Individuel... you start to triangulate things and it seems like there could be some backdating going on with Orange Spice.
I like Creed, but I find myself skeptical of some of their timelines.
Here's my take, after several years of listening to this debate. Perhaps I'm too forgiving in the eyes of some, but I'm OK with that. Marketing is... well, it's marketing.
Every house, designer, or niche perfumer has a unique history, and I think we err in judging one by another's standards. Personally, I find Creed's carefully unspoken "real" history even more interesting and worthy than the slightly retouched one that makes for better sound bytes. Put simply, the Creeds were basically a family in the tailoring business that was blessed somewhat accidentally with an ability in perfumery - which we now clearly know is something which can be passed down the family lineage (and probably more easily than business sense, but let's not get distracted by that debate... ).
In the case of Guerlain, this led to a long and illustrious history as perfumers per se, first and foremost, for the entire time, although they now do a brisk business in cosmetics as well.
In the case of Creed, you might say that the company evolved into perfumery, as the true ability of the family endured, and the original business which brought them to it vanished. Personally, I think Creed's real history is rather inspiring, though I can see that it requires a bit more explanation than advertising really allows.
Some might say it is misleading that Creed calls themselves perfumers from the moment when they were just discovering their abilities, but I think that their later success justifies their earlier claim. I know many highly educated scientists who claim they were scientists from the moment they built their first robot, mixed their first chemicals, captured their first butterfly, bought their first telescope, or blew up something in the back yard. I am willing to believe this, and to extend the same benefit of the doubt to a family business. If Creed actually made perfumes in 17-something, in whatever quantity, and kept making them afterwards, then I personally think they have a right to call themselves perfumers from that moment on.
As for questions as to whether the modern fragrances are the same as the originals - it's impossible, so it's not fair to make the accusation. The original components, in the originally available states, don't even exist. Even the natural components now available under the same names are no longer the same (and in many cases are better). If Creed can come up with something that smells like the original REL by any method, then great. If they can make Orange Spice slightly better by borrowing tricks from other more recent perfumes, but keep it in line with the original idea, then great. If they can recreate Windsor using whatever modern methods, and include some synthetic components to make it last in the flacon for years and years, then power to them. The only thing which I would find fault with is simple - the fact that REL, Orange Spice, and Windsor did not exist at the cited dates. They could have been called anything under the sun. I doubt that Windsor was called Windsor. Whatever. Dukie's Bathwater Number Two. If it simply existed in some form, at the stated year, and Creed recreated the scent with due diligence, using modern methods, then I'm happy.
I would not say that history of the scent is unimportant to me, because it has meaning that something which smelled like what I'm smelling existed at the time in question. Fragrance is a statement as much as words. Sometimes it's a myth, or a story, and we all agree that it's a pretty lie. The pretty lie is OK. But when we say that the smell of the fragrance is a fact, it should be as much of a fact as modern perfumery allows.
Last edited by Robert G.; 28th April 2011 at 06:02 AM.
Lets not turn this into a political thing.
The explanation is quite simple - Creeds original warrants were granted to them as tailors because they were habit makers/tailors...that was their primary business. It would be absurd for a European King or Queen to grant them an "official perfumers" warrant because their primary business was not perfumery...it was an ancillary line, and as stated by creedboutique, they offered a wide variety of services alongside their primary tailoring line of business.
Its just like how Truefitt&Hill and Crabtree&Evelyn were granted "barber/grooming" warrants by the British Royal House, because they are primarily barbershops...but that doesn't mean they didn't create any fragrances for their royal clients (which they did).
Guerlain may have been granted a "perfumers" warrant, but that doesn't mean they didn't create a lipstick or two for their royal client (cosmetics is their ancillary business).
For me, Creed showing these warrants clears up the biggest controversy and claims by the naysayers...that the company is fake and didn't exist until the 1980s!
As Creed reveals more, I am sure we will see more evidence of famous consumers commenting on their fragrances...already we have documented evidence that the following stars wear and/or had a bespoke fragrance made for them:
President Sarkozy (ViW...see recent CNBC video report on Creed sales, last month)
Puff Daddy (MI connection well known)
Jamie Foxx (commented on SMW in Inside magazine)
Elton John (frequent Creed customer at Neimans in Lennox square-Atlanta)
Chester French (american indie band - see video on youtube)
US Olympian Evan Lysacek (ViW and MI in recent article)
Jermaine Dupri ( www.global14.com )
Michelle Obama (July 09 Washingtonian and others, spotted buying LiW and others in Washington DC)
...and this is just a list a common man like me was able to come up with. For sure there have been many high profile fans in the past...
Last edited by zztopp; 13th August 2010 at 04:53 AM.
www.francemag.com). He recalls rummaging through his dad's colognes, and finding (and subsequently adopting) the prettiest bottle - an old-fashioned one with a silver cap and the word "Creed", which had been a gift to his father from the director of a French company, sometime before that.
Like I say, one man's trash is another man's treasure, and at some point, I'm sure a Creed bottle will turn up in somebody's museum somewhere.
Who's Michelle Obama?
spotted buying LiW
What is LiW?
2 a) A long list of todays vips buying Creeds doesn't grant that earlier customers - if any, see (1) - would have had the same rank in public awareness.
2 b) If by some peculiar ways the Creed concoctions make vips to spray that stuff around that doesn't grant the quality of it. Or, at last that doesn't make me liking it more or even less.
7) If - again: If that story of royal warrants is not true (if!), this marketing ploy would (if!) be on the spot to what? It would address people of a certain state of mind. A certain attitude regarding social life etc.
10) If the story about royal warrants is valid regarding perfumery, and Creed insists on that as granting their contemporary superiority that would prevent me from buying their stuff. The attitude speaking through their advertising is far off my personal life style.
The biggest controversies are:
(a) Whether certain fragrances originated at their claimed date (e.g., was REL an 18th century creation?)
(b) Whether claims that earlier creations were worn by certain celebrities is accurate.
As to whether its the exact same formula in its current incarnation, thats nearly impossible for Creed or any other perfume house (for reasons well elaborated by Redneck Perfumisto).
Now as nearly as I can tell, The Palace of Tears is well-researched historical fiction (to the point of one person complaining about the historical insertions), so the actual proof is presumably somewhere else - some dry and dusty biography, probably not in English. Although to be completely honest, the Creed reference here (2002) could have even descended from unsubstantiated Creed marketing. I'm still a scientist, so I won't throw away ALL of my skepticism until I feel like I'm wasting my time with it. Nevertheless, I suspect that this is the way to settle things and be done with it - find a reference in an obscure biography. This was just my first Google books hit. It will be interesting to dig deeper.
As far as I'm concerned, proof of a fragrance for Eugenie would settle it. That is early enough for me. And, BTW, it's an awesome fragrance!
PS - Here is a link from a napoleonophile site regarding Eugenie's relationship with Worth and her fling with fashion - there is a nice biography at the end, which is probably useful in this quest.
I also found another old book about Eugenie on Google. No explicit mention of Creed, but an interesting statement that all the perfumers in Paris were competing to make fragrances for her. I'll try to find that link... Here it is - a more recent history of perfumes...
Also, very interesting. Looking at Google copies of "The Lancet" from that time - the advertising is extremely instructive. It seems common for advertisers to claim royal patronage, usage, etc. There were examples of extinct perfume companies, apparently not as fancy as Creed, making claims of sales to royalty, although often lacking in detail. The whole thing smacks of celebrity endorsements today, although in the fragrance world, unsolicited USAGE by the famous seems to be better than a paid endorsement. There were also products NAMED after royalty. There was a soap named after Eugenie - and I was not necessarily believing it had been with permission (no royal warrant cited).
Finally, here is a link to an out-of-print book about Creed's competitor, Worth, who basically invented modern haute couture along with the Empress. I would bet dollars to doughnuts that this is the background book used by the author of "Palace of Tears". I found several, but this is the best.
The age of Worth, couturier to the Empress Eugénie
Longmans, Green, 1954 - Art - 218 pages
I'm too cheap to buy this book (given that it's not 100% about perfume), but the little blurb that you can see on Google clearly shows that Creed had an intimate business relationship with the Empress, just as Creed claims. Given that fact, and assuming that everybody was making perfumes for her attention as stated elsewhere, I think I'm satisfied that Creed made a fragrance, probably not unlike the one you can buy today, at that time, for her. And if I were a company like Creed which had made a fragrance that long ago for a person that famous, I would certainly trot it out today and market it exactly as they're doing.
Well, how could I have missed this thread?
I still can't figure out why Creed just doesn't produce at least one shred of documentation of its historical perfume services to royalty, if it is so important to their image? As genuinely old perfume houses have all done (Farina, Guerlain etc.) forever and a day as a means of marketing. The logical assumption to me is there isn't any. That Creed presented George III with Royal English Leather is unlikely enough, but that he ordered it is out of the question. Even in the 1830s Creed is not yet mentioned as a tailor for nobility or the smart set, access to the House of Hanover 50 years prior does not compute. The real breakthrough came with d'Orsay and his coterie and the subsequent take-off of the Paris branch, climaxing in Eugenie's warrant for riding gear etc. The scant evidence I have found in newspapers suggests that Creed was particularly renowned as a maker of "sporting outfits," e.g riding habits and the like. It remains that what we know for certain is that Creed tailored for nobility and royalty since about the 1850s. Beyond that, all is PR, speculation, or gossip. That Creed's faux claims have inserted themselves into hack journalism and popular (historical) novels so as to confirm themselves is a splendid example of the success of the luxury guerilla marketing the house excels at.
What do I personally surmise? It's not unlikely Creed offered perfumes in their store. Farina was shipping Cologne to Juan Floris before he ever made any of his own (I saw the order book in Cologne). So they may have been acquired elsewhere or mixed on Creed's order by a druggist. More likely than a professional tailor mixing juice in a back room. If, by any chance, he did make it himself, it would have most likely been according to standard formulas provided by the literature for that purpose. But you really have to consider that people like Farina and Guerlain who revolutionzed perfumery studied their art profusely, travelling abroad to learn the trade, using networks of relatives and correspondents to purchase the finest materials, researching destilling processes and aging techniques etc. pp. and didn't have time for much else. A prospering tailor swamped by increasing orders from the better sort just doesn't fit the bill of perfumer extraordinaire to royalty.
On the other hand, the Parfums D'Orsay company is indeed a new fragrance company, founded only in 1908. The marketing "legend" that the Comte made "Etiquette Bleue" for his "English" mistress was created to give the impression of a much older company. (The debate of Lady Blessington being his mistress is still up for debate--and she was Irish, as well.) The company start-up is well-documented. Check Ken Leach's book "Perfume Presentations," and Nigel Groom's "The Perfume Handbook," second edition, for more information on the creative marketing.
The House of Worth did get its start as a couturier. The Englishman Worth made his fortune in Paris with the upper-crust of the Second Empire, which started with Empress Eugenie and included many courtesans, some of whom were mistresses to the emperor, ironically. The notorious demimondaine Cora Pearl was a frequent customer of Maison Worth.
Last edited by Primrose; 17th August 2010 at 01:42 PM.
"...her fragrance all in my keeping; softly she comes in the night." Lyrics, Gordon Lightfoot, "Softly."
Glad that our local historians got here, and none too soon! Yes, I think that the devil is in the details. Even if Creed did offer a fragrance to this person or that, was it truly theirs? And if they did offer fragrances to - or simply in honor of - famous persons, did they outsource in the beginning (whenever that actually was)?
All of these questions could be resolved in a variety of ways, if Creed desired. But I believe that even if the facts backed up their marketing completely, they would be hesitant to say too much. The "Creed controversy" has to be an important component of the guerrilla marketing, and ending it with a bunch of borderline admissions showing (most likely) their very slight interest in perfumery during their heyday is not bound to happen.
The simplest resolution would be what some "resurrected" companies have done - show off the old formula books.
(*foot tapping...* )
As far as I read about this case of kings and queens and Santa Claus and all Creed wouldn't do anything for me in any case. Neither the fun nor the b.o transforming (that is not masking, guys!). I have to admit, I really never ever sniffed into a Creed". That's a mission still to be accomplished. I just can't stand that retarded royal stuff ... true or not.
BTW, while going through Google Books, I came upon an article from an issue of Esquire from the early 70s where Olivier Creed was measuring a client for a suit...which leads to the question, does he still sew ?
No - I would never refrain from purchasing a Creed if the entire history was a bald-faced lie, nor would I buy one because I believed in its age.
HOWEVER, I do find the whole history thing terribly fascinating - NO MATTER WHAT. History is interesting, and the history of perfumery is even more so. Thus, if the story which Creed promotes is true, then I think it's just inherently interesting that these things happened. If, on the other hand, Creed's marketing is all scandalous lies, then it's a train wreck of an entirely different nature, but equally fascinating.
I suppose I'm just a tabloid mentality. I don't really care for Fleurs de Bulgarie based on the idea that it was made for Queen Victoria, but for some weird reason, the truth or falsehood of the question is just terribly interesting to me. I am a Creedophile based on the scents themselves, but I'm also interested in Creed's history (or lack thereof) for its own sake.
Although I think my wife cares about the Creed legends, and does tend to show her bottle off, I'm rarely asked about my frags or what they cost - I think only my closest friends who don't give a shit about such things even know anything about Creed.
The bottom line for me is that Creed takes extra pain to create scents that appeal to connoisseurs. They reliably make scents that I enjoy. They are, like the man said, the Apple of fragrance. That's what I'm paying for, and what I ultimately care about.
Wow, this thread has really taken off! Thanks everyone for making it an interesting read.
Unfortunately, the burden of proof is on Creed and they just can't seem to substantiate anything. Obviously we can't prove a negative, that they didn't make perfume since 1760, but nothing points in that direction.
Interesting tidbits: Old Creed Advertisements
The dissolution of the (original?) Creed company "Creed and Cumberland": http://books.google.com/books?id=hCE...onduit&f=false
-this might disqualify them from being one of the oldest family owned businesses
I wonder what other historical perfume houses we could debunk. Any suggestions?
Thanks for the links. Interesting to learn that the C&C partnership was dissolved in 1860. Therafter references seem to be to Henry Creed & Cie. As the net grows, more historical Creed items are popping up, except those related to perfume . Here is some newsreel of Charles Creed, even in color:
Cologne Sales Investigation
As a European I'm in a way used to royal fiction as to say, including the notoriously airheaded yellow press, that the Creed marketing ploy couldn't get my special regards. If it get's Your's I'm curious what for. Alas, the fragrances as such aren't that stunning too. Besides the sole GIT nothing made it over 3 stars in "The Guide" - el cheapo Cool Water seems to deserve it's rating of 5. Your take on Creed as the Apple of fragrance isn't that of Luca Turin. But, so far it is a taste case but nothing for the CSI squad.
Enjoy Your Day!
Last edited by WildThingy; 17th August 2010 at 09:43 AM.
Military models huh? Not much time for collecting rare essences with all that painting going on...
I think case is closed.
Creed was a tayloring business who may well have offered perfume as many taylors did. It certainly was not what the firm was known for or promoted in their advertising and there is no actual evidence of it having done it at all (as there surely would be if it was an important part of their trade). As t_g_l pointed out, taylors didn't make perfume, that was in the hands of chemists and prior to that alchemists so it is highly likely that if Creed the taylors (or Creed and Cumberland of conduit St, Bond St and "Paris") did offer perfume they didn't make it themselves.
As other well informed perfume historians have poited out the formualry of the 18th century was in the public domain - the perfume recipes were standard mixtures tweeked a little by the individual. The original recipe for REL (if it existed in 17~~) would likely have been taken from an established text and entitled "for making leather gloves fragrant" or "fore covering up the smelle of pisse from thee tanning process" or something...
At some point in the 20th century, probably as late as the 60s or 70s the fortunes of the tayloring business dwindled to the extent that they decided to refocus on perfume...
Now if they told us that straight and then went on to add that they use a high proprtion of high quality naturals and employ the best perfumers in the world to help compose aspects of their scents and pride themselves on INTEGRITY and producing quality would we like/buy them less???
HOWEVER, what occurs to me as being VERY interesting is the huge emphasis on mens fragrance particularly in the "older" line from Creed.
To me this is the best evidence of all that they were a taylor not a perfumer, and maybe it also suggests also that some of the formulae (or at least ideas) are quite old. No perfume house in the world would market itself at 5% of the buyers in the market.
If the whole perfume business was a construction, why would they not do what everyone does and bias the business 90% aimed at women and 10% at men??????