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Bienaimé 1935’s revival highlights French savoir-faire

Katie Nichol

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Bienaimé 1935’s revival highlights French savoir-faire

Benjamin Vigliotta

Refillable products celebrating the art of French craftsmanship are at the heart of cosmetics brand Bienaimé 1935, which has been revived under the impetus of new owner Cécilia Mergui. Its fragrance flacons are made using semi-automatic production, while the cylindrical secondary packs are designed for reuse.

French niche player Bienaimé 1935 launched last November with a range of fragrances, soaps and a body balm. Cécilia Mergui, an entrepreneur who purchased the brand in 2019, is reviving the creations of French perfumer Robert Bienaimé, whose eponymous brand founded in 1935 had been dormant since the sixties following his death.

“I’ve always been fascinated by fragrance and the emotional power of scent,” says Mergui, who has a background in fashion. “I thought it more noble to revive an existing brand than create a new one - there are enough fragrance brands on the market today,” she tells Luxe Packaging Insight.

For Mergui, creating refillable products that celebrate French craftsmanship, all in the continuity of Robert Bienaimé’s legacy were the driving forces in the brand’s revival.

The bespoke flacon (Waltersperger), inspired by Robert Bienaimé’s archives, is the result of semi-automatic glassmaking. The brand name is engraved in the mold, and a screenprinted label adorns the facing. A golden-colored cap in the shape of a shell – a motif often seen in Art Deco – crowns the bottle. The flacon can be refilled by unscrewing the pump – Aptar Beauty + Home’s La Petite model.

For the secondary packaging, cylindrical paperboard boxes sheathed in paper are printed in pink and red. A removable, paperboard insert means the boxes can be repurposed; to hold jewelry or pens, for example.

The liquid soaps come in glass bottles with round, white plastic caps – the pumps are delivered alongside. “Often refillable products are not pretty, so aesthetics were paramount here,” affirms Mergui, who highlights the importance of paying tribute to the Art Deco movement. “In the 1930s, objects were decorative as well as functional,” she adds. Aluminum refills are used for both the liquid soaps and fragrances. 

Bienaimé 1935 launched with three EdP inspired by the brand’s archives, updated for the modern era by perfumers at Maelstrom. Patrice Revillard composed Vermeil, while Marie Schnirer created Jours Heureux and La Vie en Fleurs. The scents are also available as liquid and solid soaps and a body balm. The brand’s lip glosses are unscented.

The fragrances retail at €145 for 75ml, while a 100ml refill costs €95. The liquid soap is €36 for 200ml and a 250ml refill costs €28.

Bienaimé 1935 is sold online, at fashion brand Sézane and will soon be stocked at Parisian department store Le Bon Marché. As for future plans, a candle is set to launch, as well as a hand cream.

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BottleWaltersperger

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PumpAptar Beauty + Home

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PerfumersMarie Schnirer, Patrice Revillard (Maelstrom)

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