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GUERLAIN FINALLY BREAKS THE GLASS CEILING


At Guerlain, being a master perfumer is a man's job. Historically, passing important positions only to sons, never to daughters or sons-in-law, was a common way of preventing family firms from being dissolved. Although Guerlain hasn't been a family firm for almost a quarter of a century, it never abandoned its preference for men. Until now, perhaps.

The best-known female figure at Guerlain was the former artistic director, Sylvaine Delacourte, but the brand has had at least three important female in-house perfumers (shown above): Anne-Marie Saget from 1975 to 1989, Mathilde Laurent from 1994 to 2005, and now Delphine Jelk. While Guerlain's PR never mentioned Saget and Laurent, Jelk is the first female perfumer to appear in the brand's press releases. The term "master perfumer" has been abandoned, and Delphine Jelk and Thierry Wasser are now referred to simply as "Guerlain's perfumers". The fragrance Lui is even credited to Jelk alone.

Guerlain has named 2017 the Year of the Woman, with Mon Guerlain and Lui marketed as tributes to the feminist movement and "a generation that liberates itself from gender stereotypes". It seems that the company wants to walk the talk.
(November 2017)


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