More than a flower, lily-of-the-valley is a symbol. A celebration of spring at its most poetic. And above all, the indispensable lucky charm gifted to loved ones on the First of May.
For the House of Guerlain, MUGUET is an annual rendezvous with the very best of French creators for a precious artistic edition of the exceptional fragrance of a flower that can only be picked in May.
For the 2021 edition, the young Parisian textile and paper designer Lucie Touré was chosen by Guerlain to craft the springtime rebirth of its iconic Bee Bottle.
A flower of a thousand tales, lily-of-the-valley owes its French name, MUGUET, derived from musc or muscade (“nutmeg”), a sweetly scented spice, to its delicate, penetrating fragrance.
Evocative of springtime, the season of love, MUGUET gave its name in the 16th century to young swains who spent their time flirting… As for the custom of offering it on May 1st, it was born in 1561, when King Charles IX of France was offered a sprig during a visit to the Dauphiné. He was so charmed that each year, on the same day, he offered lily-of-the-valley to all the ladies of his court.
Perfumers strove to capture the scent of the fleeting flower. Among the hundreds of tributes inspired by the white bell over the century, one was authored by a young perfumer called Jacques Guerlain. In 1908, he composed the House’s first MUGUET, inaugurating a fragrant tradition that has gone on, from spring to spring, for over 110 years! Indeed, just as it is the custom in France to offer a sprig of lily-of-the-valley to loved ones on May 1st, at Guerlain too, the lovely scent of MUGUET is an annual rendezvous…
Celebrating the artistic heritage of the House with a sumptuous yet tender fragrance. The annual rebirth of MUGUET also marks the celebration of a very Parisian tradition, born in the capital of Guerlain… An exceptional moment. The annual return of a very exclusive perfume that only blooms in May, like the flower that inspires it.
Each spring, lily-of-the-valley unfolds its tiny bell-shaped blooms. But unlike rose or jasmine, the flower is as stubbornly mute as it is lovely. In the late 19th century, perfumers started unraveling its mystery to recompose its characteristic fragrance.
Jacques Guerlain was among the most brilliant of these trailblazers: in 1908, he created the House’s first MUGUET, a slightly powdery fragrance, with an iris note. Jean-Paul Guerlain authored his own version in 1998. Since 2016, it is Thierry Wasser’s MUGUET that flowers each year. As exhilarating as a breeze in May, as tender as happiness, this Eau de Toilette is therefore the third rendition of the flower launched by the House. “I was extremely happy to formulate a MUGUET after Jacques Guerlain and Jean-Paul Guerlain, to celebrate the First of May and to offer my own, modern interpretation”, Thierry Wasser confides. Recreating the fragrance of the flower known as “mute” because it doesn’t yield its essence is always a challenge for a perfumer. Leaning in to breathe in the scent of the fleeting bloom during its short season, understanding all its nuances in order to deliver a fresh new interpretation… Through a subtle blend of precious ingredients drawn from his palette, Thierry Wasser has conjured a strikingly naturalistic olfactory illusion.
Greener and fresher than ever, his MUGUET is enhanced by subtle vegetal notes. It is the flower, but also the forest where you discover it, peeking out from the undergrowth, during a springtime walk; its pearly corolla sparkling with dew drops, so fresh when you stroke the flower with your fingertip… A pure moment of happiness. To magnify its facets, Thierry Wasser has enriched his composition with rose and jasmine, drawn fromharvests especially selected by the perfumer for the lushness and purity of their essences. Exalted by these noble materials, Guerlain’s MUGUET conjures the complex, unique perfume of the tiny lucky-charm flower. A trail as fresh and sweet as spring, made more precious still because it only blooms once a year…
An annual rendezvous since 2006, the flowering of MUGUET also expresses Guerlain’s commitment to French craftsmanship.
Lucie Touré, a young paper and textile designer who won the 2019 Eiffel Tower Design Prize, brings a breath of fresh air to the House’s poetic tradition. “To reinterpret MUGUET, I created a delicate adornment in a fresh, Haute Couture spirit”, she explains. After studying embroidery and textile design, Lucie Touré trained for six years in Parisian embroidery and textile printing studios, collaborating with the most prestigious ready-to-wear and Haute Couture houses. She founded her own studio in 2018, with an initial two-year residency in the Ateliers de Paris. By associating paper with finishing techniques drawn from textile and jewelry, she glorifies the ephemeral material by cutting, weaving, or embroidering it. For this edition, she has imagined a modern, customized 3-D adornment, entirely hand-made in Paris: a stylized representation of sprigs of lily-of-the-valley in full blossom unfurling gracefully onto the dome of the Bee Bottle.
To create the delicate sprigs, Lucie Touré has used techniques drawn from various luxury crafts. The first step of her creation was to draw the flowers, assisted by specialized software. Then, the tiny blooms transitioned from the virtual to the real world, as she cut them out from precious paper, either white or gilded with aluminum leaf. Then, in a moment of pure magic, the artist matched high precision with extreme delicacy to shape each tiny bell, before placing a gleaming white pearl at the heart of each flower. The slender, light-as-air leaves are fashioned from panels of organza. The ethereal Haute Couture fabric is entirely hand-dyed by Lucie Touré in the tenderest of greens, mirroring the color of the fragrance. Once dried, the organza is cut with a custom-made die-cutter, a technique drawn from luxury leatherwork. In the last stage of this springtime adornment, the artist assembles flowers and leaves in a single piece with a needle and thread, a virtuosic gesture borrowed from hand embroidery. The precious flowers are finally ready to adorn the neck and graceful curves of the Bee Bottle.
This numbered edition is limited to 4500 pieces. Each 125 ml bottle is presented with a 30 ml travel spray inspired by the Bee Bottle, so that you can carry your fragrance with you wherever you go.