Pierre-François Lubin, one of the greatest perfume makers ever, was born in 1774. His life spanned one of the most turbulent times of French history. Lubin was initiated to perfumery by Tombarelli, a perfume master in Grasse. In 1790, he came to Paris to complete his training under Jean-Louis Fargeon, who was then still serving as the official perfumer to Queen Marie-Antoinette. Even during her imprisonment in the Tour du Temple, the French Queen would still receive regular supplies from her loyal perfumer. Every day she wore an eau de toilette containing citrus notes. Her favorite was the scent of roses, a fragrance Fargeon captured with great skill.
After the revolution, Lubin opened his boutique, in 1798. Its name, “Au Bouquet de Roses”, was a discrete tribute to the Queen, who had by then met with her tragic fate. The creations of the young perfumer were appreciated by the first dandies who emerged after the turmoil of the French Revolution. Known as Les Incroyables or the Incredibles, while their beautiful, extravagant companions were referred to as Les Merveilleuses or the Marvelous, they were the first trendsetters. Their extravagant way of life soon became the symbol of a new Parisian savoir-vivre.
Following this fashion, Empress Josephine, wife of Napoleon I, had the young perfumer supply her scent. And Napoleon’s sister, Pauline Bonaparte, later to become Princess Borghese, even lent her name to one of Lubin’s perfumes.
When the Bourbon dynasty returned to power in 1815, Lubin claimed his title as “the holder of the Beauty Secrets of the French Court”, the legacy left by Fargeon. The patronage of the Duke of Angoulême, son of King Charles X, and husband of Marie-Thérèse of France, the only child of Queen Marie-Antoinette to survive the revolution, prompted Lubin to rename his boutique “Aux Armes de France”, The Royal Coat of Arms.
Thanks to this illustrious patronage, Lubin was soon to become the favorite perfumer of 19th century European royal courts. In 1821, Lubin became the official supplier to George IV, King of England, as well as to Tsar Alexander I of Russia in 1823.
During the reign of the last Queen of France, Maria Amelia, whose husband Louis-Philippe came to the throne in 1830, the House of Lubin finally obtained its title as Official Perfumer of the French Royal Cou
In 1844, the House of Lubin came into the hands of Felix PROT, who had trained under Lubin and remained close to the founding father, as Lubin’s spiritual heir. He started the internationalization process of the House and also constructed Europe’s first modern perfume factory in Cannes, on the Côte d’Azur, which opened its doors in 1873. For the first time, steam machines were used to produce the perfumes, and in particular, to extract essential oils.
Paul Prot, his son and successor, took over Lubin in 1885. A true visionary and ahead of his time, he spoke fluent English and German through his studies abroad – a rare skill for a 19th century Frenchman. Paul had an illustrious career spanning more than 50 years. He traveled the world and built a worldwide network, which made the name Lubin famous and respected on all continents.
In 1900, Paul Prot also opened a modern production facility in Courbevoie, a suburb of Paris, which was the largest perfume factory in France at the time. His sons, Marcel and Pierre took over the running of the company during the 1920s.
The House’s greatest success, however, was in the United States. From the mid-19th century onwards, the USA represented a new Eldorado. Lubin’s expansion into the USA had begun in the late 1830’s when the company’s first American representative, Theo Studley, was appointed in New York. Lubin also set up local premises in New Orleans and St. Louis and became a favorite of local aristocratic families, particularly in the Old South. Theo Studley represented Lubin for more than sixty years before retiring in 1898, when a Lubin-owned subsidiary was finally created in New York.
The next thirty years were the Golden Age for Lubin in the US, until the Great Depression in 1929. The American subsidiary, which had been outselling its head office in France, had to close up shop in 1930, but the distribution in the US was secured by a new representative agent.
Despite the tough economic climate, Nuit de Longchamp launched in 1937. A timeless perfume evoking the nightly splendor of a white flowered garden, Nuit de Longchamp met an incredible success in the USA. Its opulent scent would enchant many parties in Hollywood or in the Hamptons.
Marcel’s and Pierre’s sons, Andre and Paul, took the helm of Lubin at the war’s end in 1945. The new team launched Gin Fizz in 1955, a creation of celebrated perfumer Henri Giboulet. It paid tribute to one of the most beautiful and elegant women of the 20th century, Grace Kelly. It met a tremendous success. Lubin, once again set its stamp on the world, despite growing competition from new perfumes entering the market from couturiers.
Paul and André Prot remained involved till the end of the 1960’s, launching L’Eau Neuve with great success in 1968. Lubin had meanwhile been sold to an industrial group and started a period of slow decline, despite several attempts from highly involved managers to save the historical house.
At the end of the 20th century, however, Gilles Thévenin, along with two of Paul Prot’s sons, decided to take over the brand’s destiny. Former Lubin perfumers of the 1950s and 60s joined in to help revive the House of Lubin’s unmatched olfactory style and provide the missing details to forgotten formulas. This allowed the company to renew and revive Nuit de Longchamp and Gin Fizz in 2009. The House of Lubin has now regained all the glory of former days and continues to uphold its founder’s ideals, creating perfumes of the highest creativity and quality that will enchant generations to come.