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Houbigant Parfum (pronounced: [ubiɡɑ̃]) is a perfume manufacturer founded in Paris, France in 1775 by Jean-François Houbigant of Grasse (1752–1807). The brand originally sold gloves, perfumes, and bridal bouquets. The original shop, called "A la Corbeille de Fleurs", was in the rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré. Over the centuries, the House of Houbigant became perfumer to the royal courts of Europe including Napoleon, Napoleon III, Alexander III of Russia, and Queen Victoria.
Besides being the perfumer of royalties, the House of Houbigant has been a precursor in the creation of fragrances. In 1882, the House launched Fougère Royale, a fragrance that completely revolutionized the world of perfumes and established modern perfumery as it exists today. Fougère Royale was the first “fougère” (or fern-like) perfume ever created, establishing a completely new fragrance family which still remains today the most popular family in men’s fragrances.
During this period, Houbigant stretched out its commercial arms around the world. Under the direction of the Paris office, offices were established in the United States, England, Belgium, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Italy, Spain, Poland, Romania. Connections were made in Havana, Buenos Aires, Rio de Janeiro, Australia, Japan, and China. The New York office had its own manufacturing facility distribute Houbigant goods to "all parts of the country."
Houbigant was also the first perfume house to discover how to isolate particular molecules from natural raw materials and more specifically the coumarin, which is isolated from tonka bean. In 1912, the House presented Quelques Fleurs, the first true multi-floral bouquet ever created. Up to that time, floral fragrances had been mostly single flowers or were blended with herbs and other essences. The Genealogy of Perfumes cites Quelques Fleurs as a landmark innovation that established a totally new fragrance classification and influenced other compositions for years afterwards including many of today’s important fragrances.
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 favorite essence. Houbigant fragrances traveled in Napoleon’s campaign chest during the years when he was conquering Europe.. It was also the perfume of Oscar Wilde.
An Houbigant legend, not verified, has it that when Marie Antoinette was fleeing to Varennes to escape the French revolution she was recognized as royalty because of her Houbigant perfume, which only royalty could afford.
The Houbigant fragrances are now being manufactured under the original specifications by LOFT Fashion and Beauty Diffusion of Monaco and marketed in the United States by Exclusive Fragrances and Cosmetics.
- 1775: Perfumer Jean-François Houbigant opens “A la Corbeille de Fleurs”, Rue Faubourg St Honoré
- 1807: Perfumer Armand-Gustave Houbigant, the son of Jean-François, joins the house
- 1807: Houbigant was appointed personal perfumer to Napoleon and created a special perfume for Empress Josephine
- In the beginning of the nineteenth century, 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”.
- In 1880 perfumer Paul Parquet became joint owner.
- In 1882, Paul Parquet creates Fougère Royale.
- In 1890 Tsar Alexander III named Houbigant perfumer to the Imperial Court of Russia
- In 1912 Perfumer Bienaimé joined Houbigant and created fragrances for the house until he founded his own in 1935.
- In 1912 perfumer Bienaimé introduced Quelques Fleurs.
- pre-1950 perfumers Paul Schving and Marcel Billot created perfumes for Houbigant
- In 1990, Houbigant relaunched Lutece from prestige department store brand to domestic brand.
- In the 1980s Houbigant relaunched Quelques Fleurs.
- In 1985 Houbigant launched Duc de Vervins.
- In 1998 Houbigant launched Quelques Fleurs Royale.
- In 2010 Houbigant relaunched Fougère Royale.
- In 2012 Houbigant launched Orangers en Fleurs.