Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Peynet Savoir Faire

With the introduction of her new perfume “Success Fou” in 1953 Elsa Schiaparelli departed from the use of her usual illustrator Marcel Vertes to use instead Raymond Peynet. This was a risky move as the illustrations of Vertes and Schiaparelli perfumes were synomonous with each other, so to use a new artist could have been marketing suicide.

An Artist and a poet Peynet was born in 1908 and during the war in 1942 while stationed in the south of France he began drawing a set of characters that would bring him fame. A little violinist with long hair playing alone in front of the bandstand of Valence and a girl listening to him and so were born the lovers of Peynet who were to become “le amoureax de Peynet”

Peynet had practically become the latest sensation of Paris and thus the only and perfect choice to illustrate the advertisements for Schiaparelli’s new perfume ‘Success Fou’ literally translated as raging success.

They were simply drawn and usually accompanied by small birds and other animals. They symbolized the fresh start that France was undertaking at the end of World War II. However underneath the sweetness and the innocence there were small subtle undertones of erotica. The little poet with a bowler hat was always immaculately dressed accompanied by his lady friend sometimes showing the hint of a stocking, panties or bosom.

Surrealism also abounded such as in the illustration below, with the couple exchanging hearts.

The lovers grew in popularity and appeared everywhere, featuring regularly in newspapers, in magazines such as Elle and Paris Match and on posters advertising Air France, Galeries Lafayette, Nicolas Wines and various film studios, as well as on record covers, postcards, wine and champagne labels, silk scarves, postage stamps and jewellery. The prestigious German porcelain manufacturers Rosenthal worked with Peynet and created a series of his designs on porcelain and glass.

Also a poet several books were produced with poems accompanied by his drawings. Considered "too sweet” for the American market, he never really gained success in the world except for Europe and Japan.

Over the past few years there has been a renewal of interest in the work of Peynet and it has become collectable world-wide. During his career the lovers become one of the icons of modern France, held in huge affection.


  1. David, really wonderful background and Peynet's art is so fresh and delightful!

    Art by Karena

  2. Another charming post David!
    I'm adding you my blog links~
    luv u!!


  3. I was not familiar with Peynet. Thank you for this.

  4. Peynet's art is delightful, and has a simplicity that recalls the illustrations of vintage children’s picture books. Today when most perfume ads are photographs, these artist's renderings seem so much more human and have such sensitivity.

    When one compares these images with those of recent sexual imagery in perfume ads, such as BANG or the Tom Ford perfumes, one would have to say that we've lost a certain innocence, charm, elegance, and sophistication.

    Personally, I much prefer these old ads that were painted or drawn rather than photographed.

    I particularly admire the Air France/ Switzerland travel poster...whimsy, graphic boldness, clear colour...it makes me want to go there.

  5. Thank you for this beautiful post and reminding us all of a time when you could sell a fragrance without a crotch or a celebrity involved.
    As an illustrator, I am biased and perhaps a tad bitter but nobody can deny the charm and allure of these ads.
    X David, NYC

  6. ooohhh these pictures are amazing i wish i was in LOVE :)

    thanks for your comment x

  7. Karena, yes it is so fresh and delightful.

    Lenore, thanks so much! Your comments are always so appreciated.

    Jill, I am glad that you are learning something LOL.

    MR. SWF, yes I too sometimes prefer the drawn ad. So much more stylish and conveying so much.

    David M, I thought you might appreciate this.

    Sam, Your time will come!


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