The world’s leading luxury beauty brand Lancome started with one man, Armand Petitjean, but grew to over a thousand boutiques around France, in collaboration with knowledgeable ambassadresses.
Lancôme was founded in 1935 by Guillaume d’Ornano and his fifty-year-old partner, visionary perfumer Armand Petitjean. Petitjean wanted to create a beauty brand that encapsulated French elegance with the vision to make women happier by making them beautiful. The name “Lancôme”, chosen by Guillaume’s wife Elisabeth, was inspired by Lancosme forest in Indre valley, France and the roses in this beautiful region inspired the company’s logo of the single golden rose.
Following the debut of its first fragrances in 1935 — Tendre Nuit, Bocages, Conquete, Kypre and Tropique — Lancôme entered the luxury skincare market the following year with all-purpose repair cream Nutrix and then a line of make-up, cosmetics and skincare. Years later, when Petitjean was asked why he created Lancôme, he quipped, “Because I had seen that two American brands had taken control of the beauty industry. A French brand should be up alongside them.” Lancôme was acquired by L’Oréal in 1964.
Despite Petijean’s belief that Lancôme would never advertise, it is now one of the top advertisers in the luxury beauty business, with its advertisements shot by leading photographers Peter Lindbergh, Mario Testino, Mario Sorrenti, Nick Knight, Steven Meisel, Brigitte Lacombe, Patrick Demarchelier and Dusan Reljin. In 2012 Lancôme premiered a television commercial with Betty Boop and supermodel Daria Werbowy. The advertisement, when uploaded to YouTube, crossed 100,000 views. The brand is represented by actresses, supermodels, make-up artists and perfumers. Carol Alt was the youngest model to be the face of Lancôme and some of Hollywood’s icons that have been featured in its campaigns include Isabella Rosselini, Kate Winslet and Penelope Cruz. Clive Owen was the first male spokesperson for Lancôme’s men’s skincare and fragrance Hypnôse Homme and Bae Suzy is Asia Pacific Brand Ambassador and Lancome’s Global Muse. Actress Zendaya is Lancôme’s newest global brand ambassador. She joins Julia Roberts, Taylor Hill and Lupita Nyong’o.
Always in sync with evolving consumer needs, Lancôme collaborated with software developer Perfect Corp. to create a mobile app that allowed customers to try on make-up and make direct purchases on the app. It was a hit! Taking it a step further post-Covid, Lancôme and YSL Beauty — both part of the portfolio of L’Oréal — launched pioneering beauty technology at Hamad International Airport, Doha in collaboration with Qatar Duty Free. Here, Lancôme ‘Shade Finder’ allows women to find the right shade of foundation with minimal contact, using a device powered by artificial intelligence.
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I worked with Condenast India as Digital Editor and launched Vogue India’s portal. Four years later, I turned entrepreneur and launched my luxury portal www.explosivefashion.in. Perhaps it’s my vision and exclusive content that’s placed Explosive Fashion at the forefront of luxury: reporting from fashion weeks, collaborating with luxury brands, presenting royal families’ vision, championing talent, reviewing hotels and restaurants, writing on travel, heritage. My editorial is of a storyteller, the story of the person behind the brand.