Carmen de Tommasso, born in 1909, founded the company Carven in 1945. She set up shop near Champs Elysées in Paris in France. She focused on fragrances, accessories and fashion and couture for petite women. Her elegant fashion creations that were inspired by travel and artistic motives featured lace and embroidery and were very feminine. By the end of the 1960s Carven also sold men's wear and a jewellery collection. From then it took a few years only until the brand had gathered a solid fan base. Her designs were particularly popular in Japan where women have always been rather petite. Japanese women appreciated that de Tommasso designed beautiful collections that would perfectly suit their shorter and slim body shapes.
The first fragrance under the brand name of Carven, Ma Griffe, was launched in 1946. The green chypre with floral notes has been a favorite for more than 60 years. The composition centers around aldehydes, gardenia, green notes, asafoetida, clary sage and citruses, orris, orange blossom, orris root, jasmine, ylang-ylang, lily-of-the-valley and rose, labdanum, sandalwood, cinnamon, musk, benzoin, oakmoss, vetiver and styrax.
The following year saw the launch of the company's second women's fragrance. Robe d'un Soir features notes that are reminiscent of many classic floral-aldehyde compositions: aldehydes, bergamot, mandarin, neroli, peach, carnation, jasmine, lily, orris root, may rose, ylang-ylang, amber, benzoin, cedar, sandalwood, vanilla and vetiver.
Carven's first fragrance for men, Vetiver for men, was launched in 1957. The original composition is a woody-chypre one with dominant notes of lavender, mandarin orange, clary sage, petit grain, lemon, carnation, sandalwood, orris root, jasmine, vetiver, cedar, bergamot, amber, musk, oakmoss and myrrh.
To the delight of many women Carven presented a new fragrance for women in 1966. Eau Vive, the original from the 1960s has been relaunched in the 1990s. The reformulated floral-green fragrance is based on bergamot, mandarin, juniper berries, coriander, lavender, orange, lily of the valley, mimosa, apple, vetiver, rosewood, green leaves, rhubarb, vanilla and musk.
After more than a decade a new fragrance was presented. Monsieur Carven, a floral chypre for men, was launched in 1978. This scent's counterpart, Madame de Carven, was presented in the following year. Either edition has been discontinued but Madame de Carven and Monsieur Carven are still greatly appreciated among vintage perfume lovers.
In 1982 Carven presented a ladies' fragrance that was composed by Robertet perfumers. This perfume, Guirlandes, features prominent white floral notes and accords of aldehydes, sandalwood and clove. The women's fragrance Intrigue was launched in 1986. The powerful floral chypre perfume became an instant hit with the customers.
Several other fragrances have been launched since.