Tuesday, September 22, 2009

The House of Coty

What is it about little old ladies and dusting powder? I never quite understood but I do know that my Aunt Kat could have been called the "Powder Queen". She loved dusting powder, the kind with a big fluffy powder puff - and only one kind - Emeraude by Coty. (But don't ask, I don't know the story there.)

When she moved and we went to pack everything in her house, there was one room with so much powder in it, it looked like either it had snowed or a cocaine cutting room had exploded. Even though I would like to think she lived on the edge, somehow the sweet smell of Emeraude told the story. The light white coating was on everything - the furniture, the bed, the curtains - but most dangerously- the floor. It was clear to us that she would stand in the room and dust herself liberally daily, the only question was - how much powder actually made it on her versus the room.

If you are not familiar with Emeraude it is described (and I quote) "Launched by the design house of Coty in 1921, Emeraude is classified as a refined, oriental fragrance. This feminine scent possesses a blend of jasmine, orange, and other citrus florals. Ending with spices and sandalwood. It is recommended for evening wear." However, by the late 70's its popularity had faded. By 1990, it was almost impossible to find. I know because I was often sent out to seek and procure more. Anytime she was close to running out, Aunt Kat would come close to panic.

Being the practical one, I decided that if we couldn't find the real thing certainly another fragrance would satisfy her. But no can do! I brought her boxes of Channel Powder, Chloe Powder, Youth Dew. . . but Aunt Kat would have none of it. She only wanted Emeraude. Every once in a while, I would be in an older drugstore and on the back of a shelf - voila - there would be an elusive box of Emeraude, I would quickly buy it and go present my find to Aunt Kat. She was always very excited and appreciative. "If they only knew how good it makes you feel, they would sell more," she used to say.

She passed away in 1999 and to this day, I do not see a box of Emeraude without thinking of her. Just yesterday, I was reading an advertisement in a magazine about the comeback of the House of Coty and Emeraude "with its refined fragrance of jasmine and orange." Aunt Kat, I hope you are listening - maybe they finally figured it out.


misskelley said...

grandmama sarah's choice is chloe powder, and she was bound and determined that her granddaughters be every bit the lady as she has always been. so andrea, jessica, and received a box of chloe dusting powder every christmas and birthday from birth (it seems)... until my father informed her that we had boxes of it stacked in our bedrooms, some still in wrapping paper.

misskelley said...

postscript: i have to say, i was kind of sad (and annoyed with him) when daddy told her!

(and i love the blog, btw!)

AC said...

Somethings Daddys just shouldn't say! Funny thing - and I never thought about it until now - she never gave me powder as a gift.
Wonder why not?

Thanks so much for reading.