Photographs courtesy Neiman Marcus
“It all began with just a basket of flowers,” says the House of Houbigant.
The company dates from 1775, when Jean-François Houbigant first advertised flowers above his small shop in Paris. And the rest is history.
At the time – the age of revolution – fragrance sales were skyrocketing, an effort to mask the stench of French streets, along with questionable hygiene. Houbigant’s business would quickly evolve from flowers to perfumes, attracting a clientele that included the unfortunate Queen Marie Antoinette – who carried three vials of the perfume with her in a corsage on her way to the guillotine to give her strength – Napoleon and Queen Victoria. During the 1800s, the house unveiled two fragrances – Quelques Fleurs for women and Fougere Royale for men – that were so popular they remain in stores today.
The Houbigant and the Perris families crossed paths in 1973, when Michele Perris met the last member of the Houbigant line. A close friendship was formed, so close that the pair worked together until the owner sold his company, due to illness. The Perris family fought for years to win control of the Houbigant name and in 2005, they succeeded.
Today, the Perrises remain the powerhouse behind Houbigant and the founder of their own line, Perris Monte Carlo Perfume.
At Neiman Marcus Westchester, the classic Quelques Fleurs Royale joins two new Houbigant fragrances – Orangers en Fleurs and Iris des Champs. What they share is a medley of florals, musk and woodiness, leaving a trace of musk and vanilla.
QUELQUES FLEURS ROYALE
Advertised as a “spellbinding elixir,” this fragrance was inspired by perfumes produced for Princess Louise Marie Adélaïde Eugénie d’Orléans, one of the twin daughters of Louis Philippe II d’Orléans during the early 1800s.
The top notes are blackcurrant and grapefruit, with middle notes of jasmine, rose, tuberose and beeswax absolute as well as violet, with the bottom notes leaving traces of sandalwood, cedar, vanilla and musk.
ORANGERS EN FLEURS
This scent celebrates the orange tree, the symbol of fertility, wealth, virtue and love, according to Houbigant. Quite the romantic blend, the fragrance uses traces from the orange peel, along with flowers, leaves and branches of the tree.
The top note is a mixture of orange blossom, rose and Egyptian absolute, with a middle of tuberose, eau de brouts, ylang comores and nutmeg, with the bottom leaving hints of cedar and musk.
IRIS DES CHAMPS
As Houbigant’s newest addition, this scent is nonetheless a blast from the past, combining flowers, woodiness and musk – Houbigant’s signature scents.
The top note is that of bergamot, pink pepper, rose and lily-of-the-valley, followed by iris, jasmine and ylang-ylang, with the bottom of sandalwood, amber, woodiness, vanilla and musk.
POUDRE PARFUMÉE POUR LE CORPS
For those who prefer powder to perfume, Houbigant has an alternative. As part of the Quelques Fleurs l’Original collection, this silk-like powder kept in a frosted glass container cradles the fragrances of its mother perfume, Quelques Fleurs.
Houbigant’s Limited Edition 2014 features bottles hand-painted, numbered and signed by creative director Elisabetta Perris, using 18-karat gold. Only a few bottles are created annually. The perfume is accompanied by a funnel to transfer the delicate fragrances into their porcelain vessels.