The Ultimate French Dream Team: Lancôme And The Louvre Collaborate On A Capsule Collection

Every day, thousands of people from all over the world come to the Louvre and wait in line for hours to get in. “You start asking yourself, what makes the Louvre a place you cannot miss when you come to Paris?” says Françoise Lehmann, Lancôme Global Brand President. “And probably because the Louvre offers so much more than just looking at the works of art, it’s somehow being confronted to your own humanity.”

Anyone who has ever walked through its hallowed halls knows the magic and history inside the revered museum. That includes Lehmann, who was captivated by the Louvre from the very first time he visited as a child, particularly by the Victory of Samothrace. “When I was just a kid, Victory of Samothrace stood out for me, placed high on the Daru staircases,” he recalls. “This statue is a messenger of the win and symbol of achievement. In her story, there is a lot of humanity and focus on changing perception of what victory stands for. Victory of Samothrace is the one who hovers over the heads of victorious people. She has her wings barely spread and floating in the air, just as a goddess resting on the victorious ship after finishing her fight. This gesture is very important, telling us a story that it’s never just about the human stories about victories, but also being able to acknowledge victory yourself and praising yourself for your achievements.”

Now several famous sculptures in the Louvre can soon be found adorning Lancôme products. Launching on September 1, the Louvre x Lancôme limited-edition collection comprises seven products (including Absolue Soft Cream exclusively available in Asia). The collection was two years in the making.

“The initial step was getting immersed into each other’s universes and values,” Lehmann says. “When Lancôme’s team started this quest with the Louvre, their eyes feasted upon the artistry it held, while the Louvre’s experts traversed our beauty haven in Grasse, nestled in the heart of southern France. We had plenty of meetings and ongoing dialogues filled with expertise and wisdom. Together with the experts of the Louvre, we meticulously selected these exquisite masterpieces that now breathe life into our extraordinary collaboration. Our teams carefully crafted the campaign to bring to life a story that not only celebrates beauty, but does so in a way that is very relevant to both institutions, in a way that we are both proud of.”

Choosing which pieces to feature from the Louvre was one of the greatest challenges, as the museum is home to more than 33,000 masterpieces. “I wanted that every woman shall possess a fragment of the Louvre with her,” Lehmann says. “Each product, selected among the brand’s icons, pays homage to a specific focus of each statue, unveiling the essence of her existence. Within the collection lie the secrets of Corine, the Greek poetess, through the makeup palette; the allure of Hygie, the goddess of health and science, guiding us on our quest for flawless skin. The epitome of this beauty statement unfolds in the Absolue Rouge lipsticks, where four archetypes of femininity stand proud, diverse and timeless.”

The collection includes the Lancôme x Louvre Richelieu Wing Palette, a face palette celebrating the sculpture of Corine, a Greek poet from fifth century BC. The five shades were created by makeup artist Lisa Eldridge that was inspired by the beautiful light in the Richelieu wing of the Louvre, where the sculpture lives. The Lancôme x Louvre Advanced Génifique Serum’s packaging fittingly features the goddess Hygie, who represent health and well-being, which the serum enables by bringing radiance to the skin. Finally, each of the four Lancôme x Louvre L’Absolu Rouge Drama Matte Lipsticks represent a different muse in their packaging: French Drama 200 is inspired by Sleeping Hermaphrodite, French Tea 274 is inspired by Diane de Gabies, Celestial Rose represents Nymph Echo and French Touch is inspired by Nymph with a scorpion.

“As we embarked on this journey of artwork selection, we had conversations about which medium we were going to choose,” Lehmann says. “Our gaze fell upon the statues, for they possess a mesmerizing three-dimensionality that reverberates across the ages, igniting a dialogue between past and present. Each work of art is uniquely interpreted in eyes of the beholder and teaches us something new about our own history and humanity. To us, beauty goes beyond aesthetics: it is expressed in what each person has that is most singular, in its commitment, emotions, values, choices and in their will. These particularities shape a character and a life energy in which beauty is rooted. What appeals to us is how a person is engaged in its own life rather than an aesthetic abstraction. Just like with beauty, we had the same vision when selecting masterpieces for the campaign; we wanted masterpieces to tell their story and their lives.”

To narrow down which sculptures they would feature, they chose ones with a common theme: Women who are never ashamed of who they are. “We see the first signs of feminism, combining success and womanhood, so these works of art are very contemporary,” Lehmann says. “We looked for real women, whether they are goddesses or myth, they were engaged and committed to the story in their life and fighting for having a voice. We chose each one of them for their fighting spirit, uniqueness, audacity and individual achievements.” He cites Venus de Milo, a symbol of beauty and confidence, as an example, since she is known for her magnetism and confidence.

When it came to choosing Lancôme products, it was important to the brand to include both skincare and makeup. “Skincare lies at the very heart of Lancôme’s essence, an undeniable force that required homage in this extraordinary collaboration: skincare is the universal language of beauty, the starting point from which radiance is born, because beauty starts from our skin,” Lehmann says. “Behold the statues, their magnificence emanating from their stone skin, a witness to their unparalleled singularity. As for makeup, it weaves a tale of luminescence and color, capturing the very essence of the Louvre. It adds yet another layer to our grand narrative, reflecting the splendor that illuminates the Richelieu Wing, where light dances upon every masterpiece.”

For Lehmann, the most rewarding aspect of this partnership lies in the story they have crafted. “It transcends the mere celebration of beauty; it resonates with profound relevance for both institutions, touching souls around the world,” he says. “Both Lancôme and the Louvre are woven from the very fabric of French culture, their roots entwined in the threads of heritage. A shared vision binds us, pulsating with the relentless pursuit of creativity, echoing our belief, ‘beauty is a living art.’ Through time, we embrace modernity, steadfastly uniting the realms of beauty and art. But there is more: Inclusivity unites our inquiring spirits, enabling beauty and art to transcend boundaries and reach deep within each individual, resonating with every generation and embracing all who dare to express themselves.”

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