What’s the story?
This is the tale of a real family business: five generations of Guerlains have led the company over the years. The brand dates back to 1828, when it started life as a small perfume business in Paris under Pierre-François Pascal Guerlain. Guerlain was a master perfumer, creating fragrances for the rich and famous – Napoléon III and Queen Victoria to name but two.
Pierre-François Pascal passed his skills on to his son Aimé, who in turn taught his nephew Jacques (the latter being responsible for Guerlain’s signature Shalimar scent). Years later, Jacques handed down the family secrets to his grandson Jean-Paul, which is where the buck stopped. In 1994, Jean-Paul sold the company to the multinational LMVH.
In the 184 years since its inception, Guerlain has created more than 325 different fragrances and still holds its own in the luxury perfume market.
So it’s just perfume?
Au contraire! Pierre-François Pascal Guerlain created all sorts of lotions and potions, including a lip balm (Baume de la Ferté) that is still available today. Their makeup range has a five-star feel to it – lots of gold, reassuringly weighty and sleekly designed palettes, bottles and bullets (I may have mentioned previously that I’m a sucker for a bit of shiny packaging). I particularly like the Rouge G lipsticks (£29.50, available from the Guardian Fashion Store) as the bullet actually has its own flip-out mirror. How very clever!
Probably most well-known (and bestselling) of the Guerlain makeup is their Terracotta range – a collection of summery bits and bobs with new launches every year. This year’s offering is called Sun In The City and includes two new shades of the existing Terracotta Light sheer bronzing powder (£33.50, debenhams.com), made with darker skin in mind. It’s a splendid all-rounder with a super-light texture and pinky or coral hues, meaning it can be used either as a blush on cheeks or a full-on bronzer for the parts of your face that the sun naturally hits. Also, it’s scented which is rather nice.
If that’s a bit out of your price range then try NYC Color Wheel Face Mosaic in Rose Glow (£3.99, superdrug.com). Not quite as light, and not perfumed, but a tenth of the price and you can’t argue with that.
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