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French Fifi Awards Turns 25

The association held its prize-giving ceremony on Thursday night at Paris’ Cirque d’Hiver Bouglione.

PARIS — It was like the Who’s Who of the perfume industry turned out Thursday night to fete the 25th anniversary of the French Fifi Awards here.

The ceremony, which took place at the Cirque d’Hiver Bouglione in the city’s 11th arrondissement, was preceded by a cocktail party in the theater’s great hall. It was there that the Fragrance Foundation France set up a walk down memory lane — both literally and olfactively.

For each year of the 25 the association has been hosting the Fifi Awards, it constructed a stand with a panel listing some notable world and cultural events that had taken place, which women’s and men’s scents won the Fifi prizes in France, scented cloches to try them out and descriptions of the award-winning fragrances’ notes.

For 1992, for instance, it was listed that Thierry Mugler launched his first couture collection, Grunge music became the rage and “Basic Instinct” was France’s number-one box office hit. That year also, the French Fifi Award Winners were Minotaure from Paloma Picasso and L’Eau d’Issey Miyake.

In 1999, Stanley Kubrick died, the euro replaced the French franc and Burberry’s changed its name to Burberry. On the perfume front, Allure from Chanel and J’Adore from Christian Dior won the French Fifi Awards.

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In the main hall, too, were the perfumes launched in 2016 that were in the running for awards this session.

Drinks were followed by a sit-down dinner for a few hundred, who then proceeded into the circular theater space where they were regaled with live performances, including one featuring a magician and his two accomplices, a hula-hoop extravaganza and an act using scintillating green lasers. These punctuated the prize-granting.

Winning the top awards of the night among the fragrances launched last year, selected by a panel of professionals, were Galop d’Hermès for women and Mr. Burberry for men.

The same two fragrances were chosen for the Fifi d’Or award, created to recompense scents for all of its qualities, including advertising, fragrance and bottle design, chosen by a small jury comprised of people from the artistic and cultural worlds that this year was presided over by chef Anne-Sophie Pic.

The other awards chosen by the industry professionals went to:

  • Galop d’Hermès for best women’s bottle design;
  • Le Male Essence de Parfum from Jean Paul Gaultier for best men’s bottle design;
  • Kenzo World for best advertising campaign for a women’s scent;
  • Terre d’Hermès for best advertising campaign for a men’s scent;
  • Chanel No. 5 L’Eau for best women’s perfume offshoot of an existing line, and
  • Hermès’ Eau de Rhubarbe Ecarlate for best men’s scent offshoot of an existing line.

Other winners were selected by thousands of people from the public who voted online. These included:

  • Mon Paris by Yves Saint Laurent for best women’s fragrance in selective distribution;
  • Azzaro’s Wanted for best men’s scent in selective distribution;
  • La Petite Robe Noire Intense from Guerlain for best women’s perfume offshoot of an existing line in selective distribution;
  • 1 Million Privé from Paco Rabanne for best men’s scent offshoot from an existing line in selective distribution;
  • Jardin à New York by Gloria Vanderbilt for best women’s fragrance in mass-market distribution;
  • Scorpio Collection Night for best men’s scent in mass-market distribution;
  • Sun Eau Délicieuse Parfumante from Nuxe for best women’s fragrance in a brand’s own stores and pharmacies, and
  • Cuir Vétiver from Yves Rocher for best men’s scent in a brand’s own stores and pharmacies.

A jury comprised of journalists specializing in perfumes and evaluators blind-tested niche fragrances and recognized:

  • Vert des Bois from Private Blend Tom Ford for best fragrance from a large brand’s collection;
  • Black Pepper from Comme des Garçons for the best fragrance for a brand affiliated with a group, and
  • Mentha Religiosa from Dear Rose for the best fragrance from an independent niche brand.

People present at the Fifi Awards voted during the event for their pick of the best women’s and men’s fragrance dating from over the past 25 years. The winners for that category were Narciso Rodriguez for Her, from 2005, for women, and Terre d’Hermès, from 2007, for men.