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Arlette Gutsatz

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The Woman Who Made The Garden Grow

Arlette, the lifelong love of her husband Master Perfumer Yuri Gutsatz not only raised three sons and imported fabrics from India but also co-founded Le Jardin Retrouvé. It was Arlette who had the idea, revolutionary at the time, to expand her husband’s fragrance line just about anywhere that made sense to her. From perfumed bath oil to an oatmeal scrub, from scented soaps to fragrant candles, Arlette had her finger on the pulse of customer appetite and was an invaluable asset to the family business.

As well as raising three sons with Yuri and taking care of the marketing, networking and design of Le Jardin Retrouvé, Arlette was also in demand as a consultant, stylist and designer. Pictured is her design for the Dorothée Bis luggage and accessories division. She also worked with Cacharel, Ted Lapidus, Le Printemps, Chantal Thomas and more. She never allowed this side of her career to interfere with the creation of the world’s first niche perfume house. It was Arlette who ensured that Le Jardin Retrouvé reached the shores of Great Britain, the USA, Canada, Japan and countless European countries, to an audience thirsty for French haute perfumery.

A Woman Ahead of Her Time

In the 70s, Arlette orchestrated a collaboration with Agnès B and Le Jardin Retrouvé, a practice that is commonplace today, but was rare in the late 1970s. She attended trade fairs on her own (leaving Yuri in the lab, having driven her there) and was an irrepressible force of nature, organizing textile imports from India whilst being the quintessential heart of family life at the Gutsatz home in Paris. She had a surprisingly modern eye for upcycling, storing reams of Indian fabrics so they could be re-used (and they are, in our fabric pochons) and also acting as archivist, filing and dating every press mention carefully, so that we can refer to them today.

A Meeting of Hearts and Minds

Yuri and Arlette married within a year of meeting and remained devoted to each other until death parted them. Yuri passed away in 2005, leaving Arlette widowed. Their marriage was a meeting of hearts as well as minds, with Yuri still sending her romantic postcards and writing her poems well into his 80s.

Her favourite perfume? A Yuri Gutsatz creation, of course!

Arlette loved the scent of roses so it was little wonder then, that her chosen Le Jardin Retrouvé fragrance was Rose Thé, or Rose Trocadéro as it is known today. With notes of rose, white musk, clove and blackcurrant bud, the eau de parfum so beloved of Arlette smells the same today as it did then, and in keeping with her innovative spirit, we have a matching body scrub, body milk and a fragranced candle.

Arlette passed away on December 12th, 2012, 37 years to the day from when Le Jardin Retrouvé was established. To this day she inspires those who knew her and those who didn’t, and her influence lives on through the pioneering maison de parfum that she and Yuri created in their family home, back in 1975.

Underneath Yuri Gutsatz’s matinee-idol good looks there beat the heart of a poet and a true romantic.

Yuri married his beloved Arlette in 1945, and wrote poems and love letters to her that she kept until her death in 2012, seven years after Yuri himself passed away. Theirs was a match made in Heaven, raising three sons (can you identify Michel on the above picture?) and supporting each other throughout their artistic careers. It’s especially impressive to think that Yuri wrote poetry in French, when it was his second language, and one of four that he spoke.

We think he and Arlette would love our new Paris space devoted to their life’s work and their shared love of nature and family. Come and see our “heritage wall” and follow their story for yourself at our Experience Store.

Arlette Gutsatz lived a few years with her husband Yuri and her 3 children in India and fell in love with Indian textiles. Back to France in 1963, she went into importing to her country the beautiful fabrics that she loved. At that time, small cutting-edge fashion brands were emerging, some of them still existing, such as: Dorothée Bis, Chantal Thomass, Renoma, Hémisphère… Arlette began to work for them a long time before Le Jardin Retrouvé even existed. After she passed away in 2012, Clara and Michel, found an entire wall of textile samples in her home. Instead of throwing them away, Clara made a template and Michel gave the samples to sew with this instruction: “Put a different fabric on each side of the pouch”. That is why the pouches are unique!