· Cosmetic · · T. Filomena Abreu · P. Rights Reserved


A story of pluck, vision and sophistication 

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When it opened in 1828 at 228, Rue de Rivoli, in Paris, it was considered «the new temple of beauty». Pierre-François-Pascal Guerlain had fought hard for that moment. He had spent the previous eleven years solidifying the foundations of his dream. Born in Abbeville, the curious and youngest son of the family announced to his parents that he wanted to emancipate himself and become a perfumer in Paris. So, at the age of 19, with the values he had learnt at home, exactitude, rigour and courage, he left his father’s spice shop, a «cradle of scents» that was always present in his creations. He became a travelling salesman and a merchant for the major perfume houses of the time. In 1818, he signed a contract with the Maison Briard. His job consisted of presenting and selling cosmetic products. From 1824, he continued his apprenticeship with the companies Dissey and Piver. Pierre-François-Pascal Guerlain undertook numerous journeys on foot, on horseback and sometimes by stagecoach. He travelled all over France and Europe, visiting confectioners (to whom he sold vanilla), hairdressers, perfumers, grocers, paper merchants, fashion saleswomen (to whom he offered essences, soaps, pomades, oils and combs). 

«For five generations, woman has been a muse for Guerlain»
But his goal had not been abandoned. After studying chemistry in England, he returned to Paris in 1828. In the same year, he opened the Guerlain perfumery, a shop on the ground floor of the renowned Hotel Meurice. It didn’t take long to forge a clientele from among the era’s celebrities and aristocracy. From the Marquise de Girardin to Lord Seymour. He became known for customising a fragrance to match a personality or atmosphere. Clients asked him to create new perfumes, and Honoré de Balzac commissioned an eau de toilette from him when he was about to write César Birotteau. He created fragrances, lipsticks and creams. He developed skin care products with protective and soothing properties. His Strawberry Cream was even used by Elisabeth of Austria, also known as Sissi. 
Prestigious clients flocked to the boutique. The Countess of Castiglione, the Princess of Metternich, the Duchess of Mouchy, the Prince of Wales, the Duchess of Berry, Czar Ferdinand of Bulgaria bought Parfum ImpérialBouquet de l'Impératrice or Bouquet de Napoléon. Empress Eugenie, wife of Emperor Napoleon III, played an important role in the development of fashion and luxury and made Guerlain famous. In 1853, a letter from the Empress’s household, coming from the Tuileries palace, announced that Guerlain had been appointed Her Majesty’s patented perfumer for Eau de Cologne, a fresh, citrus creation that he had dedicated to her. The bottle with its bees, crafted by glass manufacturer Pochet du Courval, was an innovation. A tribute to the Empire, which adopted the bee as its symbol. 
In addition to the fragrances, the development of pomades continued, such as iris or cucumber milks or almond paste with honey. 

«Guerlain had been appointed Her Majesty’s patented perfumer for Eau de Cologne, a fresh, citrus creation that he had dedicated to her»
When Pierre Guerlain died in 1864, his sons Gabriel and Aimé succeeded him. And the names that followed were able to make this house one of the most respected in the world. For five generations, woman has been a muse for Guerlain, through a series of olfactory correspondences, creating the very essence of seduction. That’s nearly two centuries of history of love and beauty and more than 850 perfumes created. The famous bottle is still on offer in the maison today, with bees in white or gilded with fine gold. The creams are authentic and scientifically proven fountains of youth. The make-up respects and treats the skin. Apart from being divine, the fragrances maintain a unique identity. And, as if that weren’t enough, the brand also takes care of the environment, committing itself for a long time to a bee preservation programme (Guerlain for Bees), essential to the balance of nature as we know it.  
Filomena Abreu
T. Filomena Abreu
P. Rights Reserved
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