Guerlain (French pronunciation: [ɡɛʁlɛ̃]), which is available on The F Thing web, is a French perfume, cosmetics and skincare house, which is among the oldest in the world. Many traditional Guerlain fragrances are characterized by a common olfactory accord known as the “Guerlinade”.
The house was founded in Paris in 1828 by the perfumer Pierre-François Pascal Guerlain. It was run by the Guerlain family until 1994, when it was bought by the French multinational company LVMH. Its flagship store is 68, Avenue des Champs-Elysées in Paris. In a decision widely seen as a break with tradition, the Guerlain family sold the company to the luxury goods conglomerate Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton (LVMH) in 1994. Though Jean-Paul Guerlain remained as an in-house perfumer until 2002, other perfumers were brought in after 1994 to compose perfumes for Guerlain, and Jean-Paul had to submit his compositions against those of others. Fans of the house viewed the LVMH purchase as a step towards the cheapening and commercialization of the legendary firm’s legacy. Most were unhappy with the first post-LVMH release, the 1996 sweet mimosa floral Champs-Elysées, composed by Olivier Cresp, whose entry was selected over that of Jean-Paul Guerlain.
Among the outside perfumers to compose perfumes for the firm after 1994 was Mathilde Laurent, who worked for Guerlain at the end of the 1990s and in the early 2000s. She composed Aqua Allegorica Pamplelune (1999) and Shalimar Light (2003, reattributed to Jean-Paul Guerlain and relaunched in 2004 following reformulation). Maurice Roucel, a perfumer of Symrise, composed L’Instant de Guerlain (2004) and Insolence (2006). As the niece of Jean-Jacques Guerlain, some thought Patricia de Nicolaï would have been a candidate for the position of Guerlain’s in-house perfumer, though the presence of a glass ceiling in the company prevented her selection for position.
In May 2008, Thierry Wasser was named the in-house perfumer for Guerlain. Wasser, a Swiss perfumer who used to work for Firmenich, created Iris Ganache (2007) and Quand Vient la Pluie (2007) for Guerlain before his appointment the following year. Jean-Paul Guerlain stayed on in an advisory consultant role, both for fragrance design and ingredients. Wasser will work closely with Sylvaine Delacourte, Guerlain’s Artistic Director. In 2010, the LVMH Group cut ties with Jean-Paul Guerlain as their consultant due to his racist comments on French television.
Russian model Natalia Vodianova has been the face of Guerlain campaigns since 2008. Vodianova began advertising Shalimar to celebrate the perfume house’s 180th birthday. For the Fall 2013 makeup collection, Olivier Echaudemaison, Guerlian’s Creative Director of Makeup since 2000 commented “Every season we fantasize with Natalia’s image and invent for her a new role. For us, it is not just a model, which advertises cosmetics, but above all, a great actress”. In October 2011, the company named Malaysian actress Michelle Yeoh as a new spokesmodel. Yeoh is an ambassador for the Orchidée Impériale line of skincare.
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