In the post-holiday bustle, we missed a significant date: exactly half a century ago, on January 10, 1971, Gabrielle Boner Chanel - this is the real name of the trendsetter - passed away. But on May 5, we will certainly celebrate the 100th anniversary of the fragrance named after her. And on March 8, handing the coveted bottle to the lovely ladies, let us remember the one who invented this miracle: the perfumer Ernest Bo died on this day in 1961 - 60 years ago.
The winter of 1921 in Paris turned out to be slushy. It was chilly, but better than the piercing cold. The famous "sniffer" and composer of aromatic compositions Ernest Bo, shivering, recalled cold winters in distant Russia - it seems that he still could not warm up.
The 38-year-old man left the country in the revolution in 1919. Prior to that, together with his father and brother, he worked for Ralle, a major Russian perfumer who supplied products to the Tsar's court. Ernest was born in 1881 in Warsaw, but soon the family moved to Moscow, and the younger Bo, having matured, also joined the common cause - he made soap in the factory's laboratory. Later he learned to be a perfumer, opened a company. Things were going uphill. In 1912 - 15, fashionable salons in France and Russia smelled fragrant with the "Bouquet of Napoleon" cologne invented by him and the perfume "Great Catherine".
But the First World War broke out. During the intervention of the Entente, the perfumer was sent to Arkhangelsk as an employee of the intelligence department of the headquarters of the Main High Command of the Allied Forces. Later he will tell that when creating the fragrances he drew inspiration from the freshness of northern rivers and lakes. In fact, the stay of the Frenchman in the polar latitudes was not so romantic. Under his "paternal care" there were death camps for prisoners of the Red Army. Publicist Pavel Rasskazov told about the conditions of stay in one of them, on the island of Myudung, in the "Notes of a Prisoner". Hard labor, hunger, freezing temperatures even in the barracks. There is a description of the "beholder" in the memoirs:
“Lieutenant Bo was the counterintelligence agent. A former large Moscow merchant, of medium height, fat, with a round, shaved, flabby face, reminiscent of a bulldog, with a wide initiative in the manifestation of atrocities, Bo was a typical gendarme and security guard.
The episode stands out from the legend of the beautiful-hearted perfumer. Like the story of Gabrielle Chanel herself. During the Second World War, becoming the mistress of the German Embassy attaché von Dinklage, she collected intelligence for the Third Reich. The product, invented by the Coco-Bo tandem, turned out to be smelly. But it was new and beautiful, and the fans did not delve into the personal files of its creators.
Having left Russia, Ernest Bo did not lose interest in the country of his youth. Perfectly speaking Russian, all my life I bought antiques and diamonds from emigrants. He was introduced to the young milliner by one of the clients: Grand Duke Dmitry Pavlovich, nephew of Nicholas II, was with her in an intimate relationship. Beau is looking for a stimulus for inspiration, Chanel is a bright case on which you can make a name. Coco's order sounded like this: to create a scent that smells like a woman. But Mademoiselle was in no hurry to fork out. And Ernest, forced to save money, replaced expensive natural ingredients with synthetic ones. Aldehydes accentuated the notes of natural aromas, and they sparkled with new colors.