Partager l'article




The success of alternative perfumery has encouraged the return to the market of old brands from the Roaring Twenties. What are these forgotten houses, revived by entrepreneurs who focus on the artisanal and singular approach of the niche?  

In the early 2000s, a few sleeping beauties woke up. Most of them were born under the Ancien Régime or during the golden age of modern perfumery. They then disappeared in the wake of the economic crisis of 1929 and the Second World War. 

This revival is based on a coherence between the discourse and the olfactory. Like Santa Maria Novella, where the design and fragrances perfectly match the DNA of this sumptuous Florentine house, which recently celebrated its 800th anniversary. 

A pioneer in this movement, the Lubin house is one of the most recognized today. Its creator, Pierre-François Lubin, became Perfumer to the French Royal Court in 1815 and remained prosperous until the post-war period. Gilles Thévenin bought a dying company in 2003, which has since greatly expanded its range and opened its store in the Saint-Germain des Prés district. 

Another icon of the genre, Houbigant, a famous house that lived through the French Revolution, gradually declined from the post-war period to the 1980s. It was reborn in 2000, to establish itself in several prestigious addresses, collaborating with great perfumers, such as Jean-Claude Ellena. 

Relaunched by three young graduates of the École Supérieure du Parfum, with the help of perfumer Nathalie Lorson, since 2018, the house of Violet has been offering reworked reissues with a current palette of ingredients and new products launched through crowdfunding. Cherigan, the darling of the Roaring Twenties, revived in 2021, also mixes reformulations of past successes with new products inspired by the brand’s universe.  

Another example is Bienaimé, launched by Robert Bienaimé in 1935, after directing the creation at Houbigant, resurrected in 2019 by the Art-deco collector Cécilia Mergui. With a desire to create an eco-friendly brand, she called on the Maelstrom studio to rewrite three fragrances with a “vintage” vibe, based on the brand’s archives. 

Maison d’Orsay, Le Galion, Le Jardin Retrouvé, and Isabey are also among the historic brands that have come back to life in the last decade after a long sleep. A success that draws on the craze for retro and vintage, very much in vogue today. But also on a need for anchoring and legitimacy that feeds the history of a house, while conveying an image of quality or “old-fashioned” know-how.

Sophie Normand