NEARLY TWO HUNDRED YEARS OF HISTORY
Since 1828, the history of the House of Guerlain has been distinguished by major creations whose contemporary and innovative spirit have marked and traversed the ages. Some of these creations remain references in contemporary beauty to this day.
1828, THE FOUNDING ACT
Pierre-François-Pascal Guerlain made the opening of his first boutique on rue de Rivoli in Paris in 1828 his founding act. It quickly became an elegant meeting place, where the Parisian beau monde and rich English travellers flocked to acquire creams, makeup and fragrances.
1853, BESPOKE AND THE BEE BOTTLE
Pierre-François-Pascal Guerlain dedicated the Eau de Cologne Impériale to Empress Eugenie, the wife of Napoleon III, thus earning him the title “Official Perfumer to His Majesty”. He entrusted the Pochet du Courval glassworks with the manufacture of a bottle adorned with the Empire's bees, painted in fine gold, and a festoon motif, inspired by the Vendôme column. The Bee Bottle was born.
Aimé Guerlain created the revolutionary “Ne m'oubliez pas”, the very first lipstick in a tube, and in a refillable case. It was equipped with an innovative push-button mechanism, inspired by candlestick holders. A new gesture that has since become part of beauty habits the world over.
While Eiffel was building his tower, Aimé Guerlain created the audacious Jicky. The first fragrance to combine synthetic and natural notes, Jicky is a revolutionary fougère fragrance and opens the way to a new abstract perfumery with marked scents. Jicky is also a story of gender fluidity. Its singular signature confounded the female public and was adopted by men... and today by everyone.
Jacques Guerlain created L'Heure Bleue for his wife Lili. A spray of roses softened with iris, violet and vanilla that evokes the moment when “the night has not yet found its star”, the moment that inspired the Impressionist painters whose works he collected. Its “inverted-heart” bottle is topped with a heart-shaped stopper, a virtuosic technical feat by the Baccarat crystal works.
At 68 Avenue des Champs-Élysées, the Guerlain family built their hôtel particulier in 1914, a magnificent building registered in the Inventaire Supplémentaire des Monuments Historiques (the French Supplementary Historic Monument List). This boutique marked the beginning of the House's expansion, from Paris to, today, the four corners of the world.
1919, MYSTERIOUS MITSOUKO
Created by Jacques Guerlain, this fragrance echoes its epoch, when Europe was fascinated by the Land of the Rising Sun. Mitsouko is a chypre whose name means mystery. Jean-Paul Guerlain said that it “has the dreamy scent of a woman's skin”.
Jacques Guerlain's greatest success. “Temple of love” in Sanskrit, it pays tribute to the love story of Emperor Shah Jahan and Mumtaz Mahal, sheltered in the gardens of Shalimar. Between bergamot and vanilla, it revolutionised olfactory codes and founded the family of amber fragrances. Its bottle, a technical master stroke designed by Raymond Guerlain, is the first fragrance bottle with a foot and represents a typical Mughal garden basin.
The Guerlain Beauty Institute opened on the first floor of 68, Avenue des Champs-Élysées in 1939. Among the first in the world, it conceived of skincare in an avant-garde way and pioneered the ultimate science of wellness: a pleasure for the senses, combined with sophisticated technique and an art of gesture for maximum effectiveness over time.
The Frank-Giacometti-Bérard trio designed the aesthetics of this exceptional place.
1950, Guerlain created the first serum with an overdose of active ingredients: Émulsion d'Ambroisie, a pioneer of its kind. A new light and fluid texture, simply divine, marketed for nearly 50 years, until 1997.
In love with women, to whom he dedicated his most beautiful creations, Jean-Paul Guerlain set out to offer the Guerlain language to men. Habit Rouge was created in 1965: the first amber fragrance for men inspired by the equestrian theme that the Guerlains were so fond of.
In 1984, Guerlain invented its legendary Terracotta powder, inspired by a trip to the heart of the desert. It reveals an instant healthy glow and a bespoke, sun-kissed tan year-round. A simplicity that ran counter to the trend of the 1980s. Terracotta remains one of the House's greatest beauty secrets, handed down from mother to daughter for nearly forty years.
“Guerlain's signature refinement” according to advertising in the 1990s. This revolutionary mastered loose powder is presented in a box inspired by a Catherine de Medici powder case. These coloured pearls with the comforting smell of violet correct, illuminate and make the complexion glow. Behind the scenes, a savoir-faire exclusive to the House, passed on from artisan to artisan through long and meticulous training.
The House shares a long history with France’s Cosmetic Valley. Founded by Jean-Paul Guerlain, it is now home to its two industrial sites. These sites are pioneers in sustainability-oriented industrial strategy and the references for High Perfumery and High Cosmetics, know-how and innovation.
Alphabella is the House's first skincare product in a double-reservoir bottle - “the first renovating cocktail, freshly squeezed and mixed for your skincare needs”. It combines AHAs (alpha-hydroxy acids) with a soothing hydro-calming cream.
The House of Guerlain is the first to offer a bespoke service, the pinnacle of its “Very High Perfumery”. A true magical creation, it enables the Perfumer to offer clients their olfactory portrait, combining absolute exclusivity, incomparable know-how and unlimited creativity. The result? An exceptional, unique fragrance with an eternally personal scent, forever inscribed in the Guerlain Book of Formulas.
2006, THE POWERS OF THE ORCHID
In 2006, the world discovered Orchidée Impériale, an exceptional complete skincare range. Through its study of the orchid, known for the longevity of its flowering and its tenacity, Guerlain Research revealed its secrets in a cosmetic treatment. It took seven years to demonstrate that the combination of molecules from four orchids has exceptional anti-ageing properties for the skin.
2009, ROUGE G, THE JEWEL CASE
Invented in 1954, the “indelible” Rouge G has been given a makeover by Place Vendôme jeweller Lorenz Bäumer, a friend of the House. Its jewel case is now an accessory with an integrated mirror. In 2018, it became a customisable companion: the House offers multiple covers according to the seasons and reinterpretations of its motifs.
2010, SCIENCE AND THE BEE
With Abeille Royale, a myth is born from science and the bee. Guerlain Research unveils the parallels between healing and the skin's repair mechanisms after twelve years of research. Guerlain has created a blend of exceptional honeys and royal jelly for a collection of expert anti-ageing treatments: its BlackBee Repair technology stimulates the skin's repair process and continuously corrects wrinkles and tissue firmness loss.
2017 was a turning point for the House's commitment to sustainability: Orchidée Impériale cream was reinvented with 60% less glass and a carbon footprint reduced by 58%. Since, reduction has been one of the watchwords for all new product designs and even beyond: in 2021, Guerlain reinvented its Art of Gifting with minimalist, but equally luxurious, cases.
May 20 is World Bee Day, a UN initiative dedicated to the protection of bees, which Guerlain has actively celebrated since 2021. The House donated one million euros in 2021 to accelerate the actions of its “Guerlain for Bees” programme. World Bee Day shows the House’s commitment, supported by one of its friends, Angelina Jolie. Her tribute to Richard Avedon's photo for the first edition has been seen more than three billion times.
A pioneer in the field of High Perfumery fragrances, the House has relaunched L’Art & La Matière, an emblematic collection that echoes the House's passionate love for Beauty, and elevates fragrance to the level of Art. For this occasion, the 1870 square bottle has been redesigned to house a contemporary and refillable vision. The ultimate luxury, the collection offers unprecedented personalisation: each object is a unique and personal life companion.
The Aqua Allegoria collection has been reinvented to reflect the House’s commitment to sustainability, supported by an exceptional communication campaign directed by Yann Arthus-Bertrand. A major accomplishment for the perfumers, its variations are rewritten with a minimum of 90% ingredients of natural origin and an organically grown alcohol. Its bottle, now eco-designed, can be refilled ad infinitum.
2024, ORCHIDÉE IMPÉRIALE GOLD NOBILE
After 20 years' research, Guerlain has created Orchidée Impériale Gold Nobile, revealing a new cosmetic rejuvenation pathway for skin.
Guerlain Research has concentrated the powers of an extraordinary orchid, the Gold Nobile orchid, capable of acting on an incredibly small scale to help to restore¹ biophoton emission to a level approaching that of a young cell.
The Orchidée Impériale Gold Nobile skincare line amplifies 10 signs of youth and revives 6 factors of light².