Charles of the Ritz

If one can actually drink this stuff, that explains A LOT.

So, the topic of Jean Naté came up the other day in conversation (something that occurs with surprising regularity) and it got me wondering about the origins of this so-called friction pour le bain. So, to the Google!

In 1916, hairdresser Charles Jundt took over the beauty salon in the Ritz Hotel in NYC and, ten years later, began selling beauty products under the “Charles of the Ritz” brand. And, he was apparently a good old fashioned snob:

In the early 1950s, he was said to have mocked Estée Lauder and her practice of free samples and gifts with purchase, saying “You will never go anywhere in this industry.”

Oh snap! Also, I guess she showed him..

Anyhoo, the Charles of the Ritz brand no longer exists, having eventually been purchased by Revlon, with the remaining popular fragrances (such as Jean Naté, obviously) sold under the Revlon brand today.

Perhaps the most fascinating bit from Google was the list of various fragrances marketed at one time or another by Mr. Of the Ritz. And here is my imaginary take on some of them.

  • A (1927)
    B (1927)
    C (1927)  – I liked these names at first; minimal and modern. Then I realized he was just trying to ride on six-year-old Chanel No 5’s coattails.
  • Jean Naté (1935) – Let’s you take charge of your life. As true today as it was then.
  • Spur (1937) – Tobacco, oxidized metal, musk and a top-note of manure.
  • Tingle (1938) – Where exactly does one apply this..?
  • Summertime (1939) – Rotting garbage, armpit and freon.
  • Wintertime (1940) – Cooked cabbage, musty apartment and radiator steam.
  • Love Potion (1941) – Dream on, sister.
  • Jester (1944) – Like a well-worn oversized novelty clown shoe.
  • Sea Shell (1944) – Day-old clam, seagull and kelp.
  • An English Garden (1945) – Like the Queen’s knickers
  • Damask (1945) – Dirty pillows and soiled table linens
  • Ritual (1945) – Frankincense, chicken bones and the blood of an infant.
  • French Provincial (1949) – Do you really aspire to be provincial?
  • Ritz (Classic) (1972) – More like Ritz (Boring)
  • Charles of the Ritz (1977) – By 1977, Ritz not sounding so ritzy (meanwhile Estée Lauder is laughing all the way to the bank)
  • Enjoli (1978) – Bacon and frying pan grease, obviously.
  • Forever Krystle (1984) – Hairspray, water lilies and shoulder pads.
  • Carrington (1984) – Currency, Brylcreem and petroleum, with a hint of adult diapers.

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