Of all the old Patou perfumes, the one that many people seem to love the best is Vacances. Some smellers even claim it as their ideal scent, the one they’d pick if the perfume world suddenly turned small and ungenerous, and they had only one measly choice.
Vacances is a sunny perfume, and meant for daytime. There’s nothing remotely vampish or glamorous or hard in the bottle. Released in 1936, the year paid vacations were inaugurated in France, it coincided with the bicycle craze of the thirties. Everyone who was anyone, on that first nationally mandated vacation, climbed on a bike: “At Patou, culottes worn with a little blouse are designed to meet its requirements. Plus fours are only seen in the little season and shorts with short stockings and a little bag attached to the waist come in.”*
M. Kerleo’s career was spent behind a curtain, choreographing some of the finest prestidigitation of French perfumery. He was the man in the booth at Jean Patou for some thirty two years and in that time he not only kept Joy at its ebullient best, but also created the enigmatic 1000, the satiny Sublime, and what many consider among the best masculines ever created, Patou Pour Homme.