In his first year in business French chemist Robert Bienarme released the fragrances Éveil, Fleurs d’Été, La Vie en Fleurs and Vermeil. Inspired by Master Parfumer Paul Parquet of Houbigant House, he also launched Quelques Fleurs, the first authentic multi-floral bouquet perfume.
Following Parquet’s death in 1916, Bienaime took over the perfumery and became President of the Syndicat National de la Parfumerie, founding his own house in 1935. When he died in 1960, the Bienaimé brand was moth-balled until recently revived by Paris-based entrepreneur and brand revivalist Cécilia Mergui. “I’ve always been fascinated by fragrance and the emotional power of scent,” says Mergui, I thought it nobler to revive an existing brand than create a new one – there are enough fragrance brands on the market today,”
Mergui founded Salvador Conseil and worked as a buyer for Sezane and purchase planning and allocation director for Comptoir des Cotonniers. “Bienaime was one of the most gifted noses of his generation,” she continues.” The new fragrances combine a refined aesthetic with a limited impact on the planet. The boxes and jars are reusable and designed to be beautiful and useful everyday objects. “We place caring at the heart of our values and love and generosity guide our every action. We support the Josephine Association which helps women with difficulty using beauty and well-being treatments as upliftment.” Mergui was educated at Lycee Lous Le Grand, the ESSEC Business School, and the University of Chicago School of Business.
Refillable products celebrating the art of French craftsmanship are at the heart of the relaunched brand. The bespoke flacon (Waltersperger), inspired by Robert Bienaimé’s archives, is the result of semi-automatic glassmaking. A golden-colored cap in the shape of a shell – a motif often seen in Art Deco – crowns the bottle. “The idea is to perpetuate the wonder that these treasures with timeless charm provide and create a sensory experience that arouses emotion, that of a sweet nostalgia.” The bottles are made in Normandy by a “living heritage company”. Bienaime1935 also makes solid and liquid soaps and balm.
Bienaime135 is indebted to Art Deco. “Often refillable products are not pretty, so aesthetics were paramount here,” continues Mergui. “In the 1930s, objects were decorative as well as functional,” she adds. 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. Other Bienaime fragrances are waiting to be rediscovered and re-created – Sur Les Aimes (1935), Cuir de Russie (1935), Caravan (1936) Fleurs de Provence (1937), Les Carnations (1943), Dentelle (1948) and Enfin Jeuls (1949)