In 1914, Guerlain launched Parfum des Champs-Elysées to celebrate the opening of the company's new boutique on the Champs-Elysées boulevard, at that time the most fashionable address of Paris. The perfume was presented in a Baccarat crystal bottle shaped like a tortoise. During the Art Nouveau design period, animal motifs were very much in vogue. Since Jacques Guerlain had already finished Parfum des Champs-Elysees ten years earlier, the tortoise shape reportedly was a comment on slowness of the construction work of the building site. The bottle came in an egg-shaped red box.
In 1995, Guerlain chose to reissue Parfum des Champs-Elysées and the tortoise bottle, so Baccarat was commissioned to replicate the bottle in its 60 ml size. The brand had just entered the luxury goods conglomerate LVMH the year before, and the influx of new funds was spent on invigorating the image of Guerlain as the epitome of French perfumery. Among the new projects was the reissue of some of Guerlain's long-forgotten vintage perfumes. The retail price for the reissued tortoise edition, presented in a square box, was 6,000 Francs, which today would equal 1,200 € (adjusted for inflation).
Twenty years later, in 2015, Guerlain once again reissues the Baccarat tortoise bottle. This time the bottle contains a new fragrance, described as a fruitier and more floral version of Parfum du 68 from 2013. The size, 60 ml, is the same as in 1995, but now the price is almost eight times higher, namely 9,500 €. The extravagant price reflects the fact that LVMH has succeeded in making Guerlain into one of the most esteemed brands among wealthy collectors around the world.
(October 2015, image of the new tortoise edition by Guerlain)
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