HOUBIGANT PERFUMES AND COLOGNES
Operating since 1775, the House of Houbigant is the only fragrance house that has existed through four centuries of history. Through these centuries, the perfumers of the House of Houbigant have made groundbreaking discoveries in the formulation of perfumes that have revolutionized forever the way perfumes are constructed. It is not an exaggeration to say that, without the House of Houbigant, modern perfumery as we know it today would not exist.
It all began with just a basket of flowers. One day in Paris in 1775, a young man, Jean-Francois Houbigant, hung a hand painted sign of a basket of flowers over his little shop in rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré. From the start his fragrances found favour with royalty and the nobility. Houbigant taught the titled women at the Court of Versailles how to perfume their fans so that just a fragrant flutter would send out a romantic message. When in 1793 Marie-Antoinette was executed by guillotine, she carried 3 vials of Houbigant perfume in her corsage to give her strength.
Over the centuries, the House of Houbigant became perfumer to the royal courts of Europe. Josephine, the future Empress of France, belonged to a group of stylish young men and women called “The Muscadins” because of their craze for musk which was Josephine’s favourite essence. Houbigant fragrances travelled in Napoleon’s campaign chest during the years when he was conquering Europe.
In 1829, Houbigant was appointed perfumer to Her Royal Highness, the Princess Adelaide d’Orleans, mother of King Louis-Philippe. In 1838, the French house was awarded the license of “Perfumer to Her Majesty, Queen Victoria of England”. Czar Alexander III named Houbigant perfumer to the Imperial Court of Russia in 1890. Houbigant created a perfume, “The Czarina’s Bouquet”, in honor of the Empress, Maria Fyodorovna. When her son ascended the throne as Czar Nicolas II in 1894, Houbigant continued as royal perfumer. Hand-written ledgers record the purchases of the Dowager Empress from 1900 until the eve of the Russian Revolution in 1917. Her sister, Queen Alexandra, wife of Kind Edward VII, began her purchases in 1902. The account books reveal that the two queens did their Christmas shopping together at Houbigant. Other royalty luminaries include La Comtesse de Saxe, first cousin of Louis XVI; the King and Queen of Holland; the Queen of Italy; Princess Mathilde, sister of Napoleon, Prince de Battenberg; Le Duc de Moucy; Tolstoy; the Russian Ambassador; Guy de Maupassant; the Rothschilds and more.
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