Lancôme was founded by Armand Petitjean in 1935 as a cosmetics and fragrance house. Petitjean, casting around for a French-sounding name that could be easily pronounced anywhere, took a variation of Lancosme, a chateau in the center of France.
Petitjean had formerly worked for François Coty, and he began his line with five fragrances: Tendres Nuits, Bocages, Conquête, Kypre and Tropiques. Cosmetics were added soon thereafter, and today, cosmetics and skincare constitute the bulk of Lancôme's business (in the mid-2000s, fragrance made up less than 25%).
Special collections from Lancôme
In 2005, Lancôme began to reissue some of their classic fragrances under the line La Collection Lancôme. The initial set included Magie, Climat (1967), Sagamore (1985) and Sikkim (1971). In 2006, they added Mille et Une Roses, a reissue of 1999's 2000 et Une Rose. In 2007, Cuir de Lancôme was released, followed by Peut-Être in 2008. In 2011, Lancôme was selling a trio (in some markets) that included Mille et Une Roses, Peut-Être and Balafre (a 1967 fragrance for men). Some of these fragrances are no longer sold on the US website, but can still be found in Paris.
Recent fragrances from Lancôme
2005: So Magic, Hypnôse
2012: La Vie Est Belle
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Note: images via Parfum de Pub.