The 19th century, a century of exciting cultural and intellectual developments, a century of technological innovation, a century that saw the birth of a great perfumer and a House dedicated to beauty: Guerlain.
Chemist, soap maker and perfumer in one, Pierre-François-Pascal Guerlain knew how to take inspiration from his age, while offering a thoroughly new, reinvented vision of society with a revived sense of wonder. A bold move that would win over Paris high society and attract the attention of the greatest courts in Europe.
- age-1828-2526618281862THE YOUNG HOUSE OF GUERLAIN WINS OVER ALL OF HIGH SOCIETY
- AND THE HOUSE OF GUERLAIN WAS CREATED…It all began with Pierre-François-Pascal Guerlain: chemist, explorer, incredible inventor and pioneer, the House’s founder was an all-round talent.
- AND THE HOUSE OF GUERLAIN WAS CREATED…His obsession for quality, his love of travel to far-off places, the discovery of raw ingredients and new scents, and his talents as an alchemist were all qualities that enabled him to make Guerlain a key name.
- AND THE HOUSE OF GUERLAIN WAS CREATED…In 1828, he opened a boutique at 42, rue de Rivoli, on the ground floor of the Hôtel Meurice, under the name Perfumeur-Vinaigrier (Perfumer and Vinegar maker).
Making quality and a calm working environment a priority, he had his soap factory built in an area known at the time for its tranquil, almost countryside feel: Place de l’Étoile!
Refusing to bend to the laws of distribution of the time, he introduced the idea of setting up Guerlain boutiques in Paris and ‘‘the boutique feel’’ that his heirs would strive to continue.
- AT THE CROSSROADS OF THE ARTSThese years witnessed a period of exciting cultural and intellectual developments.
It was the age of sumptuous horse-drawn carriages, crinoline dresses, and “Dandies’ svelte silhouettes”.
Tall, elegant and brimming with talent, Pierre-François-Pascal had the presence of the hero of a novel. He frequented the literary circles of his time.
A friend of the writer Honoré de Balzac, he would create a fragrance for him while the latter wrote César Birotteau (1838).
- AT THE CROSSROADS OF THE ARTSHe was one of the friends of the author of The Three Musketeers (1844), Alexandre Dumas, with whom he corresponded by letter, discussing perfume, its power on the mind and human behaviour.
- THE PERFUMER OF QUEENSThe rue de Rivoli boutique quickly became the place to be for Parisian high society.
Adored by the Parisian upper classes, Pierre-François-Pascal Guerlain’s creations also circulated in the most sumptuous courts in Europe.
Queen Victoria, Queen Isabella of Spain and Tsar Alexander III became his loyal customers.
- THE PERFUMER OF QUEENSFor the unforgettable Sissi, Empress of Austria, he created the delicious Crème à la fraise.
- PATENTED PERFUMER TO HER MAJESTYIn 1853, Pierre-François-Pascal Guerlain was at the height of his glory.
The Empress Eugenie supported the Luxury industry and awarded him the title of ‘‘Patented Perfumer to her Majesty’’ for ‘‘L’Eau de Cologne Impériale’’, which he had just composed for her.
- PATENTED PERFUMER TO HER MAJESTYTo mark the occasion, the perfumer ordered the iconic “Bee Bottle”, adorned with the imperial symbol, from the glassmakers Pochet & de Courval.
- PATENTED PERFUMER TO HER MAJESTYThe creation offered to the Empress Eugenie is an example of elegance, luxury and beauty.
The bottle quickly became a timeless icon of French Fine Perfumery - renowned and praised the world over for decades.
- GUERLAIN: CHEMIST, SOAP MAKER, COSMETOLOGISTIt was also a time when chemistry was developing and cosmetics being created.
Embracing this new craze, Pierre-François-Pascal Guerlain created Sapoceti soaps.
- GUERLAIN: CHEMIST, SOAP MAKER, COSMETOLOGISTHe also created Blanc de Perles (the first whitening skincare product, 1857), and Camphora (“Crème Camphréa”), created to camouflage blemishes caused by the war.
- GUERLAIN: CHEMIST, SOAP MAKER, COSMETOLOGISTOverflowing with new ideas, he also innovated in make-up with Poudre de Lys and La Pyrommée, but above all, “Ne m’oubliez pas”, the first bullet lipstick with a protective tube. It was also the first refillable lipstick in history.
Guerlain reigned over the world of beauty and perfume.
The House symbolised elegance and French refinement.
- age-1862-2526818621900INSPIRED BY PROGRESS AND THE DESIRE FOR ELSEWHEREA new century appeared on the horizon. Industrial and social progress heralded a blank page to be written. Anything seemed possible. Travel opened up to increasing numbers of people and exoticism inspired the imagination.
Aimé Guerlain grasped the contemporary mood and brought the House up to date. He understood that women were changing. He offered them a new unexpected charm, inspired by distant cultures.
- TRADITION & INNOVATIONIt was during the age of the industrialisation of France, Monet’s Saint-Lazare Station (1877), and the development of photography (André Adolphe Eugène Disdéri), that Aimé Guerlain took over the reins of the family business in 1862.
He continued the House’s tradition, creating bespoke scents for an evening, an important figure, a crowned head.
But above all, he revolutionised his time and his art with the invention of modern perfumery.
- GUERLAIN DREAMS OF THE ORIENTThe end of the century saw a change in attitudes and tastes. The Orient, Asia and Africa inspired artists’ imaginations.
The desire for elsewhere, with the development of steam ships, fostered an imaginative world focused on exoticism.
Aimé would position his creations firmly within this current of change: Violette d’Alger, United States Perfume, Moskowskaia.
- GUERLAIN: THE MODERN PERFUMERIn 1889, Aimé Guerlain created his ultimate masterpiece: Jicky, the first modern perfume in History.
- GUERLAIN: THE MODERN PERFUMERTaking his inspiration from the Impressionists, Aimé abandoned the figurative and dared to embrace the abstract. He combined a synthetic note with natural ingredients for the first time.
Jicky aroused emotion. The result was exhilarating, intoxicating, surprising. And historic.
- age-1900-2527019001955PROFUSION AND A WEALTH OF CREATIVITYHistory accelerated. The twenties were roaring and Art daring.
Jacques Guerlain, undoubtedly one of the greatest noses of the 20th century and a great friend of artists, was at the heart of this creative whirlwind. The Impressionists, Diaghilev, Hemingway, and Saint-Exupéry would inspire him to modernise perfume and make-up.
It was the House’s most prolific period.
- JACQUES GUERLAIN, AN UNSTOPPABLE CREATORDuring this period, Jacques Guerlain would compose 400 creations, including internationally successful hundred-year-old fragrances (L’Heure Bleue, Shalimar, etc.), all imbued with the contemporary spirit.
- JACQUES GUERLAIN, AN UNSTOPPABLE CREATORThe 20th century was accompanied by the beginning of female emancipation. Marie Curie obtained the Nobel Prize in 1911 and Colette dared to cut her hair.
Jacques sensed these changes.
Very early on, he developed a style marked by rigour, harmony and sensuality, moving away from classic codes. Mouchoir de Monsieur, Voilette de Madame (1904) and Après l’Ondée (1906) would become its signature scents.
- JACQUES GUERLAIN, AN UNSTOPPABLE CREATORIt was also the beginning of a new era in beauty products: Crème Huvé de la Providence (1895), Crème Secret de Bonne Femme (1904).
In 1914, Jacques chose a prestigious address for Guerlain: he commissioned the architect Charles Mewès (Ritz hotel) to design the building at 68 Champs-Elysées and opened his sumptuous boutique, which remains just as legendary today.
- JACQUES GUERLAIN, FRIEND OF ARTISTSJacques Guerlain was passionate about art and collected it. A great enthusiast of Impressionist painting, he owned canvases by Degas, Monet and Caillebotte.
In 1912, he paid tribute to the Impressionists with the creation of L’Heure Bleue, a sandalwood caress softened with iris, heliotrope and vanilla.
- JACQUES GUERLAIN, FRIEND OF ARTISTSMoving from admiration to inspiration, Jacques Guerlain composed for his artist friends.
He created Coque d’Or for Diaghilev, and Sous le Vent for Josephine Baker.
- MAKE-UP REINVENTEDAt this time, Paris was the centre of the world, cosmopolitan, artistic and a major creative force. “Paris is a feast,” wrote Hemingway.
In humorous reference to this frenzied atmosphere, Guerlain gave a nod to its roots and offered its new creation, “La Poudre aux Ballons”.
Jacques’ prolific creativity extended to make-up, which was moving out of actresses’ dressing rooms and into bourgeois apartments.
In 1924, Guerlain created Rouge d’Enfer.
- MAKE-UP REINVENTEDOne success led to another. In 1925, Guerlain created La Poudre C’est Moi.
The symbol of luxury, daring and sensuality.
- MAKE-UP REINVENTEDThen came the famous Rouge Automatique (1936).
Presented in a refillable case featuring a “slide” that revealed the stick, it is considered to be the first modern lipstick.
- FRAGRANCE AS AN INVITATION TO TRAVELInspired by this desire for elsewhere, in 1921 Jacques Guerlain composed “Shalimar”, which would meet with worldwide success in 1925.
An aggressively gentle perfume, verging on the forbidden, the first oriental fragrance, which is still as relevant today.
- FRAGRANCE AS AN INVITATION TO TRAVELIt was the age of the development of planes, trains (The Orient Express) and automobiles.
The airline Air France was born in 1933. Jacques Guerlain, who had always been alive to human adventure, composed Vol de Nuit. This fragrance bears the name of the famous novel by Saint-Exupéry, a life-long friend.
- 100 CANDLESIn 1928, for its 100th anniversary, Guerlain met with international success. Subsidiaries, created from 1926 onwards in Berlin and New York, promised good years to come.
Twenty years later, on the liberation of Paris, the GIs rushed to 68, Champs-Elysées. If you could only bring back one souvenir from France, it had to be a Guerlain creation.
- 100 CANDLESIn 1939, Guerlain opened the very first spa in the world. Skincare took off.
After 15 years of spa expertise and research, Emulsion d‘Ambroisie was born in 1951, viewed as the first serum, with its revolutionary fine formula applied under skin cream.
The House would also be a pioneer in highlighting different skin types and would create skincare products tailored to each of them.
- JEAN-PAUL, THE HEIRJacques Guerlain took care of his grandson, Jean-Paul, and initiated him into the mysteries of creation. In 1955, together they composed Ode, an Impressionist floral in the Guerlain style.
This olfactory poem would be Jacques’ last composition.
The young Jean-Paul, barely out of his teens, was entrusted with the coveted role of exclusive creator.
- age-1956-252721956XXIème SIECLETHE HOUSE EXCELSIt was a time of affirming one’s uniqueness. Barriers were falling down in many areas. Women were finally able to express every dimension of their personality.
Guerlain echoed this mood: fragrance beautifully enhanced women and make-up combined pleasure and innovation in a luxurious object.
Guerlain research also made unceasing progress in terms of skin ageing.
- THE HOUSE'S NEW WAVEJean-Paul, a lover of women and an experienced rider, the “Marco Polo of essences”, took over the reins in the sixties.
It was the New Wave. Everything had to be “terrific” or “great”. The world was looking for and trying to find unexplored paths.
- THE HOUSE'S NEW WAVEJean-Paul’s first revolution would be a fragrance dedicated to Men, Vetiver (1959). A masterstroke. Then in 1969, he created Habit Rouge, inspired by riders’ famous attire.
Femininity also took flight. Beauty was sexy.
Guerlain invented its own make-up codes. With Golden Cilpen, the House created a mascara with a wonderful formula and a refillable tube. The must-have accessory for swinging London’s star models.
- FOR A FREE & INDEPENDENT WOMANTo escape the anguish of the seventies, which arrived with their stream of crises, (unemployment, oil), the women of this age were fighters.
They affirmed loud and clear, “Where there’s a will, there’s a way”.
- FOR A FREE & INDEPENDENT WOMANIn 1965, Sagan wrote La Chamade. The novel would influence a whole generation of girls who wanted to live differently.
Four years later, Jean-Paul Guerlain took it as his inspiration for the creation of Chamade.
- GUERLAIN, THE POWDER GENIUSFor Guerlain, the eighties were also a time of boldness when it came to make-up.
Guerlain was a pioneer, launching the first bronzing powder: Terracotta created a healthy glow in a flash! From the moment it was released, the brand was swept up in a crazy whirlwind.
It was not just a success, but a commercial landslide. Number one in the United States and Europe, the Terracotta line won over and inspired many other brands.
- GUERLAIN, THE POWDER GENIUSIn 1987, Guerlain decomposed light with Les Météorites.
Each powder pearl is a colour in the prism. These colours recreate perfect light when blended over the skin. The face then acquires that photogenic appearance so beloved of photographers or directors.
Les Météorites were an incredible technical feat. They were manufactured under extreme secrecy, and controlled and packaged by hand.
- FOR A FREE & INDEPENDENT WOMANIn 1979, Nahema suggested the idea of a free and independent woman. Catherine Deneuve was its muse.
In 1983, Jean-Paul Guerlain also offered Jardins de Bagatelle, a musical fantasy contained in a beautiful bottle draped in pleats evoking the shoulder of a nymph.
And in 1989, Jean-Paul would compose Samsara, a real declaration of love to his wife.
- ANTI-AGEING PIONEEREstablished in 1973, the new factory in Chartres was dedicated to skincare and make-up. Guerlain was at the forefront of anti-ageing at the time.
Cosmetics not only had a beautifying, but also a therapeutic and repairing action.
In 1980, the Issima line brilliantly combined science, luxury and emotion, while in 1987 Aqua-Serum paired hydration and anti-ageing for the first time to become the House’s star skincare product.
Since then, Guerlain skincare has seen an uninterrupted succession of discoveries about the skin’s structure. Major progress has been made and the number of specialist skincare products has multiplied: Substantific, Success Laser, Happylogy, etc.
In the nineties, Guerlain also revived whitening skincare: Issima Perfect White met with great success in Asia.
- JEAN-PAUL, THE NATURE LOVERHigh-quality raw ingredients have always been at the heart of Guerlain creations.
However, Jean-Paul Guerlain’s love of Nature has particularly left its mark on the House. He was not nicknamed the Marco Polo of essences for nothing. He not only went looking for scents around the globe, but set up his own plantations in Mayotte and Tunisia.
Nature was a source of emotions in which he foraged. With the creation of the Aqua Allegoria collection, he celebrated gardens from all around the world. He was inspired by those of Marrakech and the Alhambra and looked to reproduce all of their sensations.
- L'ART DU MAQUILLAGELe maquillage Guerlain connaît aussi un essor flamboyant sous l’impulsion d’Olivier Echaudemaison, nommé Creative Director en 2000. Maquilleur de génie, esthète, fantaisiste, Olivier aime révéler la beauté naturelle des femmes et dirige avec talent le design et l’Image de la Maison.
- SUCCESSFULLY PASSING ON THE BATONIn 2008, Thierry Wasser became Guerlain’s new nose.
As Jean-Paul Guerlain’s spiritual son, he would receive from his hands the top secret formula book, passed down from generation to generation in the family. A sensitive, refined, elegant and charming man, Thierry very quickly created compositions that were an instant success.
Talent is thicker than blood and it was thanks to theirs that Thierry and Olivier were chosen as the guardians of Guerlain’s heritage.
The baton has been successfully passed on.
EAU DE COLOGNE IMPÉRIALE
VOL DE NUIT
A skilfully mastered fragrance
A skilfully mastered fragrance