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Fragrance by Jacques Polge
Released 1990
Label Chanel
Flanker(s) Platinum Égoïste
Website Égoïste at chanel.com

Égoïste is a men's perfume produced by French fashion house Chanel.[1][2] It was created by perfumer Jacques Polge.[3] The perfume was released in 1990.[4] The word is French for "egoist", which means selfish or self-centered.

Commercials for the perfume have been directed by Jean-Paul Goude.

Product history[edit]

Based on Bois des Îles, Égoïste is the first male perfume with sandalwood oil as its main note. Another of its components is ambrette seed. The fragrance's name when it was introduced domestically in the 1980s was Bois Noir, French for "Black Wood", a name that was originally used in the working stage. Prior to its 1990 international launch, the product was rebranded because Chanel's marketing department did not like the Bois Noir name. The company had to purchase the rights to use the Égoïste name from photography magazine publisher Nicole Wisniak.[5]

"Montre toi, Égoïste!"[edit]

The centerpiece of Chanel's advertising campaign to launch Égoïste first in Europe in April 1990 and in the United States one year later was a 30-second commercial with no subtitles that was directed by Jean-Paul Goude and cost more than $1 million US to make.[6][7] It was filmed in a desert outside of Rio de Janeiro. A stucco facade inspired by that of the InterContinental Carlton Cannes Hotel was constructed by 300 workers in just less than four weeks. Its primary feature was 36 balconies situated four high and nine wide, each with shuttered doors.

With Dance of the Knights from Sergei Prokofiev's Romeo and Juliet as its background music, the spot opens in black and white with hysterical women screaming lines based on those that open Act 1, Scene 4 of Pierre Corneille's Le Cid, in particular, "Ô rage! Ô désespoir! Ô viellesse ennemie! N'ai-je donc tant vécu que pour cette infamie? ("O anger! O despair! O age my enemy! Have I lived simply to know this infamy?").[8][9]

"Égoïste. Où es-tu? Montre-toi misérable! Prends garde à mon courroux! Je serai implacable! Ô rage! Ô désespoir! Ô mon amour trahi! N'ai-je donc tant vécu que pour cette infamie? Montre toi, Égoïste!" ("Egoist. Where are you? Show yourself, miserable one! Beware of my wrath! I will be relentless! O anger! O despair! O my betrayed love! Have I lived so long for this infamy? Show yourself, Egoist!")

The product is revealed when a door on the balcony second from the top and fourth from the left opens, and a man's bare right arm places an Égoïste bottle atop the railing. Once the door closes, the remainder of the commercial morphs from black and white to color, and the ball-gown-clad women on each of the other 35 balconies scream out the perfume's name between opening and closing the doors, all synchronized to act like a cuckoo clock. Three shrieking models are shown individually in succession, followed by three surrounding the closed doors of the man's balcony, then eight, fifteen, thirty-one and finally the entire facade.

Égoïste's sales exceeded initial projections by 35 to 40 percent fifteen months after the international launch.[10]


  1. ^ Jenny Barchfield (11 November 2011). "Paris retrospective celebrates ad man Goude". BusinessWeek. Bloomberg L.P. Archived from the original on 25 October 2013. Retrieved 25 October 2013. 
  2. ^ "Égoïste - Chanel Fragrance". chanel.com. Chanel. Retrieved 25 October 2013. 
  3. ^ Burgos, Rowena (18 June 2004). "Master of redolence: Jacques Polge is the nose of Chanel, responsible for the brand's hit scents". Philippine Daily Inquirer. Philippine Daily Inquirer Inc. Retrieved 25 October 2013. 
  4. ^ Ramírez, Claudia (30 January 2007). "Mademoiselle Chanel rompió esquemas". El Universal (in Spanish). Retrieved 25 October 2013. 
  5. ^ Gaboué, Stéphane. "Q&A with Legendary Chanel Perfumer Jacques Polge," Hint (web fashion magazine), Thursday, September 2, 2010. Retrieved December 2, 2017
  6. ^ Kanner, Bernice. "Scents of Accomplishment: Society and Égoïste," New York (magazine), March 18, 1991. Retrieved December 4, 2017
  7. ^ Foltz, Kim. "New Chanel Men's Scent Gets Provocative Campaign," The New York Times, Tuesday, March 5, 1991. Retrieved December 4, 2017
  8. ^ Le Cid de Pierre Corneille – In Libro Veritas. Retrieved December 4, 2017
  9. ^ Le Cid by Pierre Corneille – Poetry in Translation. Retrieved December 4, 2017
  10. ^ Lazarus, George (26 June 1991). "Chanel`s Egoiste Doubles Its Appeal". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 12 December 2017.