Saturday, October 4, 2008

New Guerlain Collector's Editions

Guerlain has been challenging us to show just how serious of a perfume nut we are for some time now: it feels that if we don't mortgage our house or sell our first born's kidneys to the black market we're not quite up there in strategic placement in the galaxy of collectors.
The 180th anniversary of Guerlain has brought its own slurge of limited edition collector's items from Les Quatre Saisons coffret to these new and much more "frugal" (enter sarcasm) commodities.

According to serious (and sane) Guerlain collector's reportage Monsieur Guerlain: "A leather case with 18 of the house's emblematic perfumes, created from 1828 to nowadays: Eau de Cologne Impériale, Jicky, L’Heure Bleue, Mitsouko, Shalimar, Vetiver, Habit Rouge, Nahema, Samsara, L’Instant de Guerlain, L’Instant de Guerlain pour Homme, Cologne du 68, Rose Barbare, Cuir Beluga, Angélique Noire, Bois d’Arménie, Iris Ganache and Insolence". Price is 2500€ (the equivalent of 3,531$ or so) which begs the question: since all of these are readily available in much lower prices, why not make one's own coffret (there are lovely leather cases in antique shops which would give a retro feel to the whole thing)? This is something I'd like to see explained in a rational way.

Also there is the second re-edition of Jacques Guerlain's Parfum des Champs-Élysées, after its brief 1995 re-issue: a leathery floral chypre originally launched in 1904 and then in a "turtle bottle" in 1914 as a celebration of the opening of Guerlain's new boutique at Avenue des Champs-Élysées and completely unrelated to the mid-90s Champs-Élysées in its mimosa-laden floralcy. This specific re-issue comes in the original Baccarat crystal "turtle bottle"(conceived by architect Charles Mewes to denote the "slowness" of works but also to suggest that one could "climb on its back and be transported to paradise"), gold label and silk cord seal encased in a red and gold box adding to the luxury stakes. Only 24 bottles will circulate from October 15th for the modest amount of 10.000€ (or 13,807) each. I'm taking two as we speak!!

News brought to my attention thanks to Elysium. Pic courtesy of athinorama.


  1. Guerlain is really going towards a range not many people can reach!

  2. Dear Helg,

    Blogspot is a real pain right now so please excuse me for not commenting more than I should.

    But anyhow here are my thoughts. First you are dead on about this being no more than a marketing hype. Not only are most of them readily available to many Guerlain customers (Mitsouko is dead anyway), many fragrances in this "collection" are not really "emblematic" fragrances (at least they are not in the market long enough to be officially called so--5 years in the minimum benchmark I think).

    So this only points to one thing:

    Brand execs trying to differenciate themselves by rolling out products with features that nodoby really cares about in actuality.

    Which is also the same reason why Chanel Les Exclusifs are sold only in 200 mL editions (and 400 mL for its cologne). Essentially aimed at people with too much money and not enough buying savvy--luxury brands' dream customers. Says a lot about these people more than anything else if you ask me.


  3. Wow it practically demands that you dip into that retirement plan! I admit I am getting sick of this sort of pricing ridiculosity.

  4. I can't imagine forking over that kind of cash (especially right now) for such an extravagance... are they crazy? Am interested to see how well it does...

  5. L,

    say that again! I think the thinking is it drives the sales of the "lower" products. ;-)

  6. A,

    "emblematic" probably means -to them- that they're "representative", which indeed indicates that it would drive sales of the solitary products themselves (the customer who hears about the coffret consoles themslves with a bottle of Insolence instead knowing all the while they buy from an ultra-luxe house!)

  7. J,

    who can blame you? You're correct in calling it that.

  8. DC,

    like I said above to other commentators, those who are truly interested in buying are only a handful of hard-core collectors. But the gain in prestige is considered too big for them to go through all this... ;-)

  9. You know Helg - I now think Guerlain want to bankrupt the business! Yes I do.

    I shall be shoplifting 4 of those Champs Elysee's while you order 2!

  10. I shall be shoplifting four of those Champs Elysees... - Lady Jicky

    I will distract the two security guards while you run like crazy.

    And if you are apprehended I promise to wear Parfum des Champs-Élysées while visiting you in the slammer. After all, what are friends for?

  11. Well - there was time when perfume was something exclusive and available for the riches. Millionairs Fair teaches us that there is a tendency to buy things because they are exclusive and not for the content. I really hope, that the new marketing twist of Guerlain is not an attempt to cover the lack of creativity... I really hope that they also keep efforts to create masterpieces...

  12. LOL, dear M!!
    It's getting to the point when we're laughing, isn't it?

  13. V,

    you're truly a friend in need!!
    I will be watching from the corner of my eye to see what you will come up with to distract the security guys: will it concern vetiver? will it have to do with the Stones? will it entail Ronnie trademarked merchandise? Whatever it would be, success is guaranteed! :-))

  14. M,

    how true and wise. Indeed it is so.
    Limited editions and collector's items are all very well (and I like to keep abreast) but I just wish they'd concentrate on their main line more: streamlining the current batches, controlling the image and advertising to be in tune to the fragrance, re-issuing the body products and all concentrations that sort of thing.

  15. You know even I did have enough money to buy all these extra special, gold plated type editions I'm not sure I wouldn't rather just have more bottles of perfume that I could use. I would feel I could never use these and I would just look at them. Now with some things that's fine but with perfume I want to wear it and smell it.

  16. Great point Rose: collecting has the bad influence of making us hesitate to use up the juice. I know that happens to me with my rare and discontinued stuff :-(


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