Happy 150th birthday, Bourjois!
Beauty Bible's Amy heads to Paris - and steps back in time... Sometimes we have to pinch ourselves that whizzing off to Paris to look at beautiful things is really part of our job. (Note; only a very small part, most days are spent at our desk with eyes glued to the screen for hours on end!) But when we were invited by Bourjois to visit an exclusive exhibition celebrating their 150th anniversary, we were more than excited. At Beauty Bible we’ve always held a soft spot for the French brand and the opportunity to see their wonderful archives was really something special. So let us take you on a little history tour…
Bourjois was brought to life in 1863 by the actor, Joseph-Albert Ponsin, for the actresses in the theatre district in Paris. His first creations were thick, waxy stage-paint sticks that were named after famous theatre characters of the time, Amoureux (Lover) and Roméo being some rather glorious examples.
In 1868, Alexandre-Napoléon Bourjois took over and really pushed the brand forward. The Java Rice Powder, a bestselling product designed to lighten the complexion, sold a staggering million boxes per year and brought Bourjois international and mass market success. A little Bourjois birdie told us some very exciting news while we were in Paris: they are recreating the Original Poudre de Riz de Java and it will be launching into stores this July, in the original packaging design. We can't wait.
First created in 1868, the compact powder blusher has won many hearts through the decades and in 1914, it became the Little Round Pots of blusher that we all know and love. The packaging was made to match the shade hidden inside and the blushers have barely changed through their journey to the present day. The the first shade developed - Cendre de Roses Brune - is still a top seller today.
What's more, the classic, beautiful rose fragrance that wafts with every use is in the works to become embodied in a limited edition candle to celebrate the anniversary this year - and we promise to bring you more news of this when we have it! There is also a hugely exciting new cream blusher launching in May - a first for the company. We’ve had a little play with this and think it's going to be a huge hit. So hurry up, May...
There were so many things that literally took our breath away at this little exhibition - the ideas in packaging and design were so clever and innovative. Just look at this exquisite liquid tint for lips and cheeks - waaaay ahead of its time. (We were told that this dates from approximately 1924.)
And how sweet are these mini vials (below right)? Inside are individual 'splashes' of the Evening in Paris fragrance (or 'Soir de Paris'), that was - and is - still today hugely popular for Bourjois, it was the first affordable but luxurious perfume.
Created by Ernest Beaux (who also even more famously created Chanel No. 5), it's a scent that for many is like time travelling, back to their mothers and grandmothers, cocooned in its warm and spicy rose, vetiver, and sandalwood notes. You can still find the scent at John Bell & Croyden in London.
And look at THE most beautiful packaging from the 1930's, below. Oh, how we wish that we could still find things like this today! And Beauty Spots!
As well as our private tour around this extraordinary exhibit, we paid a visit to the new Bourjois Boutique, its first stand-alone store since the 1930s when the shop on Place Vendôme closed its doors. Tucked away in the heart of Paris, in the Passage du Havre Mall, it's like a candy shop but filled with delicious beauty treats instead. As well as products that look good enough to eat, it's the perfect opportunity to spoil yourself with a manicure, make up lesson, false eyelash application or eyebrow threading (done with Bourjois Pink thread, of course!). The entire Bourjois range is here, as well as some surprises that are only available in France - such as their gorgeous shower gels, which are so pretty that we suggest a trip just to pick up some of these!
So: lots to look forward to this anniversary year. And a big, beautiful 150th Happy Birthday to Bourjois. Here's to another 150...