Monday, 29 April 2013

Brand Masterclass - Lancome

Founded in 1935 by Armand Petitjean in France, Lancôme celebrated its 75th anniversary in 2010. Petitjean’s motive was simple: to create a beauty brand that would deliver French elegance around the world. The name “Lancôme” was inspired by the ruins of a castle, Le Château de Lancosme, while the roses in the area inspired the company’s symbol of the single golden rose.

Armand Petitjean
Armand Petitjean was already 50 years old when he start Lancome, and originally was an importer of goods from around Europe, but he has also work in the French foreign office and, more notably, for Francois Coty, a skilled perfumer. However, Petitjean did not approve of the path Coty was taking his brand, rather than focusing on quality he was going towards the mass market line.

Pettijean decided he wanted to be prestige market or not all, with that he gathered several like minded colleagues including d’Ornano brothers, the chemist Pierre Velon, and Georges Delhomme, Coty’s former design director. While they created he put together Lancome, “Why did I create Lancome?” he said one day, “Because I had seen that two American brands had taken control of the beauty industry. A French brand should be up alongside them.”

They launched with five fragrances - Tropiques, Conquete, Kypre, Tendres Nuits, and Bocages, as well as their bottles ornamented with gold, orchids, green forests, or moldings of cargo ropes, were a snub to the ascetically geometric Art Deco of the moment.

After the building success from critics, he turned to Dr. Medynski, a veteran professor whose recent discovery of stabilising horse serum in skin care, and the industrial chemist Pierre Velon. Together they created the Nutirx range, a regenerating night cream, and a range that still sells in high numbers to this day.

In 1938 saw the start of Lancome make-up with Rose de France, a pale pink rose scented lipstick that soft and creamy, truly against the lipsticks of the time that were indelible and dry. It was an instant best seller.

1953 Tresor Magazine Advert

Lancome was the forefront of beauty of many years,  rapidly established itself with three branches of cosmetic activity, each with its own emblem: a rose for perfumery, a cherub for makeup, and a lotus flower for skin-care products. Behind the scenes things were not so calm, Petijean's son decided that he did want to enter the business, and he was given no choice but to start looking at alternatives.

Many companies started to woo Lancome - Revlon, Yardley, Payot, but all had one thing in common, they were not french. Until L'Oreal approached them in 1967 with already great influence in the international market and a large money backing, they were the choice. 3 years later Petitjean passed away at the age of 84.

Lancome in the modern era still hold the original ideals that the founding father created. French cultural values and the French perception of elegance and beauty as a whole.

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