Bettina’s Take: Douglas Hannant Fragrance Launch

Most perfumes come and go, but some stay with you forever. Fracas is one of those outstanding scents.

I can remember the first time I came into contact with it as a child, on my beloved aunt who still wears it.

So imagine my excitement when I heard that Douglas Hannant was launching his own perfume with the house of Robert Piguet, the great turn-of-the (19th-to-20th) -century French designer who launched Fracas in the 1940s.

I knew Douglas and his partner, Frederick Anderson, loved the original scent, as we'd talked about it in the past.

Douglas Hannant de Robert Piguet is indeed a delicious scent, and I believe it is destined to become a classic. The launch party, hosted by Geoffrey Bradfield at the Payne Whitney mansion, had everybody buzzing about this amazing new perfume.

"This is a fresher, younger Fracas," said Anderson. "We stayed with the same floral base and added pear to cut the sweetness at the top."

Bradfield had filled the beautiful space, chosen because it is the French Cultural Center, with loads of white orchids. The staircase was lined with a host of attractive tuxedo-clad men offering a spritz on a card or a wrist. I wonder if anyone dared to ask for a shot anywhere else—those guys were pretty hot.

Actress Rachelle Rak, star of the upcoming Broadway play Catch Me If You Can, may have had that in mind when she lay down across the stairs. "I wanted them to spray me, but it created a scandal so they kicked me off," she said with a laugh.

Meanwhile, Alexandra Lebenthal, Muffie Potter Aston, Veronica Trenk (managing director of Bulgari USA), Jay Johnson, Tom Cashin, and Valesca Guerrand-Hermès caught up, braced themselves for Fashion Week, and enjoyed a spray or two.

"I love the history behind the creation of the perfume," said an admiring Dayssi Kanavos. "Douglas told me it took them 18 months to get it right."

"I think he nailed it," added Alex Lind. "It's the most delicate, tasteful, feminine smell. It's sublime; I will definitely wear it."

Photos: Top, Douglas Hannant with Kimberly Guilfoyle; bottom, the stair spritzers.