Chartres, 6 February 2015 – Manuel Valls, the French Prime Minister, Bernard Arnault, President and CEO of the LVMH group, and Laurent Boillot, President and CEO of Guerlain, opened Guerlain’s new skincare and make-up production facility, “La Ruche”, in Chartres. Following the inauguration of LVMH’s Fragrance and Cosmetics Research Centre in November 2013, which employs over 250 researchers in Orléans, it was Guerlain’s turn to open a new production facility at the heart of Cosmetic Valley. This facility, exclusively dedicated to skincare and make-up, incorporates state-of-the-art technology and once again demonstrates that LVMH Fragrance and Cosmetics production and research are firmly rooted in France. La Ruche employs 350 people.
Bernard Arnault, President and CEO of the LVMH group, said: “This inauguration is an important event for Guerlain and for our Fragrance & Cosmetics business group. This ultra-high-technology facility is in line with the Group’s strategy, which is to consistently promote in France, its expertise in fragrance and cosmetics and its development capacity for the best products whilst complying with the highest quality standards required.”
The ideal combination of industrial imperatives, quality standards, environmental requirements and occupational well-being of our staff, La Ruche provides Guerlain with a production facility in line with its ambition for development. The success of La Petite Robe Noire fragrance and the transformation of the iconic Boutique at 68 Champs-Elysées in Paris are perfect examples of this acceleration over the past few years. The facility is responsible for the global production of Guerlain skincare and make-up, 75% of which is destined for export.
“Since the creation of its first production facility 187 years ago, Guerlain has always exclusively manufactured its products in France,” emphasises Laurent Boillot, the House’s President and CEO. “La Ruche showcases the pairing of high technology with the unique know-how of our 350 staff members; it will assist us in meeting the challenges over the coming years.”
La Ruche is a flagship facility in terms of industrial performance, innovation and quality. It is one of the pioneering facilities in the application of ISO8 pharmaceutical standards in cosmetics: 50 clean rooms with positive pressure, filtered air ventilation and laminar flow cabinets.
Located at the heart of Cosmetic Valley, which Guerlain helped to found in 1994, La Ruche reinforces the Maison’s French industrial heritage and the creation of numerous partnerships with local stakeholders, especially the town of Chartres.
The La Ruche facility obtained a HEQ (High Environmental Quality) certification to Excellent level, thanks to an ambitious plan: 21,000 m2 of bioclimatic design (solar panels, living green roof, etc.), eco-management of the building (rainwater recovery, etc.), the arrangement of the green spaces and protection of biodiversity.
Last but not least, from the project design stage, the facility has ensured that the well-being and quality of life for its 350 staff members is catered for with natural light, ergonomic workstations and other positive initiatives.
Perpetuating the exceptional
For 180 years, Guerlain has cherished the creators and craftsmen who have explored, invented, dared and fashioned. And contributed to its excellence. A wealth of expertise that the House is proud to maintain.
Allowing Guerlain always to remain Guerlain.
As well as preserving these invaluable professions and expert techniques that are kept alive thanks to Guerlain.
The slightest detail of a Guerlain perfume contains hours of work in a wide variety of disciplines.
Olfactory creation, of course, headed by Thierry Wasser. Along with producing the concentrates in-house, to filling the bottles and adding their finishing touch -barbichage, baudruchage, wax seal and Guerlain stamp - an art of bottling that the Dames de table craftswomen pass down from generation to generation, just like guildsmen.
ARTISANS OF EXCELLENCE
To create and offer the exceptional, Guerlain has always turned to unique forms of expertise: artistic glass blowers, engravers, illuminators, fine gold gilders, jewellers and jewellery craftsmen, embroiderers, candlers, ceramicists, sculptors on paper.
Among these virtuosos, several illustrious Houses have left a particular mark on Guerlain's History: Baccarat, Pochet, and Gripoix and Lesage today.
A SUPPORTED APPROACH
In his time, Jacques Guerlain was already working to found the Comité Colbert. This institution preserves the treasures of French know-how and today gathers together the top luxury Houses. Nowadays, the Ministry of Industry has given Guerlain the distinguished Living Heritage Company label for its contribution to promoting French excellence.
The art of bottling
Fairies exist at Guerlain. They are nicknamed the Dames de table. Magicians of bottling who, for several generations, have artfully and precisely tied and combed the silk threads to add the finishing touches to the most beautiful bottles. They give them that luxurious dimension that makes them so unique, so precious, so unforgettable. So Guerlain.
Filling by hand, gilding with fine gold, baudruchage, barbichage, wax seals, the Guerlain stamp... No machine could replace the Dames de table. Shalimar is adorned with a sophisticated baudruchage seal and silk threads requiring no fewer than seven different knots before being meticulously combed. L'Heure Bleue's quadrilobe bottle features an extravagant barbichage. Brushing its silk threads demands over forty-five minutes' painstaking work on both sides.
A SENSE OF THE EXCEPTIONAL
This art of bottling is teeming with meticulous and unique techniques that the Dames de table pass on over time. These include baudruchage, a technique prized by Guerlain: the neck of each bottle is sealed with a fine membrane, the baudruche. A golden thread is then rolled around this baudruche and pulled tightly. The bottle thus remains leaktight and tamperproof. This work by hand cannot be rushed: only perfection counts.
A GUERLAIN EXCLUSIVE
Guerlain is also the only House to manufacture its labels for all of its creations itself. This precision work requires the sustained attention of six employees.
In line with the House's founding philosophy, Guerlain has continued to perfect each key creative stage internally for 180 years. All of the fragrances are therefore entirely "manufactured in-house".
A LONG PROCESS
Twenty months are required to create a perfume.
First comes the creator's formula, inspired by an emotion, a journey, a piece of music or a love story.
It is beautifully transposed into an olfactory concentrate, a strictly reproducible blend of raw ingredients.
Then the House buys the raw ingredients required for its production from around the world.
This transformation stage, checking the quality of the product, is paired with rigorous olfactory, analytical (toxicological, etc.) controls.
Then comes the maceration stage: 300,000 litres of perfume, encompassing Guerlain's 250 fragrances, lie dormant in the cellar. It is here that their fragrance improves over time before they are sent for bottling. Before ultimately unfolding at the four corners of the globe.
Every year the House produces one million litres of perfume, divided into 14 million bottles.
A UNIQUE PERFUMER
Guerlain is one of the very few perfumers to have a nose of its own and to "manufacture in-house". It is also the only one to place perfume at the very heart of its creation. All of these aspects make Guerlain - in the eyes of some - the only true Perfumer in the world.
Numerous exceptional pieces have illuminated the History of the House of Guerlain. Today still, Guerlain boldly undertakes the wildest creative projects. Precious objects that would never have seen the light of day without the at times age-old expertise of the most illustrious artistic craftsmen.
The Bee with Silver Wings, the bottle produced in a limited edition of 50 pieces worldwide and created to celebrate Eau de Cologne Impériale's 160th anniversary, was designed by Guerlain and Baccarat. The two houses have been working together since 1889.
Baccarat was responsible for transforming Guerlain's iconic bee into a distinguished, streamlined and luxurious crystal object. The quintessence of luxury craftsmanship.
When L’Heure Bleue celebrated its one hundredth birthday, it was Baccarat - the designer of its very first quadrilobe bottle one hundred years before - who was invited to give it a magnetic deep blue colour. The House of Gripoix, the renowned Parisian couture jeweller, would decorate it with a bouquet of violets chiselled in fine 24-carat gold, like a host of stars appearing at dusk.
37 vintage Baccarat bottles carefully kept in the House's archives are welcoming La Petite Robe Noire for a limited-edition period.
The artists Kuntzel & Deygas have adorned the three faces of the "upside-down heart" bottle with her graceful silhouette.
All of the Ateliers Baccarat's expertise has brought these black enamel pigments to life on the crystal. A glossy and glazed effect created entirely by hand to give a rare collector's item.