Only French houses honored at French fragrance awards

The French fragrance foundation awarded its annual prizes exclusively to local brands last week.

Its main awards for best fragrance of the year went to Yves Saint Laurent's update of Opium, Belle d'Opium, in women's perfumes and Bleu de Chanel in the men's category. All other winning brands, including Lancôme, Hermès, or Biotherm, also hail from France.

The choices don't correspond with the recent prizes bestowed by Marie Claire magazine, which used to be the partner of the official French fragrance awards: its editors' favorites were Balenciaga Paris and Thierry Mugler's Womanity.

France's fragrance awards are a lot more democratic than their American counterpart -- scheduled for May 25 -- with seven of ten prizes being voted on by the public. Here is the full list of winners:

Best Women's Perfume
YSL Belle D'Opium

Best Men's Perfume
Bleu de Chanel

Best Packaging (Women's)
Balenciaga Paris

Best Packaging (Men's)
Voyage D'Hermes

Best Publicity Campaign (Women's)
Lancome Tresor in Love

Best Publicity Campaign (Men's)
Biotherm Homme Force

Best Perfume Distributed Under Its Own Name
L'Occitane en Provence Pivoine

Specialist's Prize
Etat Libre D'Orange Like This, Tilda Swinton

Perfumer's Prize
Thierry Mugler Womanity

Special Prize of The Fragrance Foundation France Board
Romano Ricci of Juliette Has a Gun