When it was founded in Paris in 1877, Cosmydor specialized in the manufacture of premium soaps and eau de toilette, and was hugely successful for nearly a century thanks to the quality of its products, the originality of its fragrances and packaging, and the beauty of the illustrations used in its advertisements—including the iconic woman painted in 1891 by Jules Chére. The brand won prizes at the universal exhibitions in Paris in 1889 and 1900, but then disappeared in 1968 when the owner passed away. Like many family businesses in succession crisis, the brand died.
In 2015, Xavier Quattrocchi-Oubradous, a French entrepreneur fascinated by heritage brands, together with botanist Michel Pobeda, rediscovered Cosmydor and were struck by its incredible Art Nouveau aesthetic and original personality. They decided to bring it back to life by creating an exceptionally high-quality line of cosmetics, committed to doing things “the right way.” In the context of a cosmetics brand, this simply means creating products that are as good as possible for the skin, and for the environment.
While it is becoming ever more difficult for a brand to distinguish itself in the competitive world of cosmetics, Cosmydor takes up this challenge with flying colors. The team spent one full year researching best-in-class artisanal manufacturing processes, while applying a minimalistic philosophy to their formulation. With minimalism firmly entrenched as a cornerstone of the brand, Pobeda and the team were then able to pare back their product formulations to the true essence of skincare: combining a minimal number of ingredients, brought together to smell nice, and treat, protect, and feel pleasant on the skin, all at the same time.
Using 100% organic and natural ingredients, new formulations are created, tested, and perfected by Pobeda in his laboratory, which resembles a Michelin-star kitchen far more than an industrial lab, using the traditional apothecary methods of yesteryear—from botany, to biology, to chemistry—altering their natural state as little as possible for a maximum concentration of active, natural components.
On top of second-to-none product quality, the team has also developed beautiful packaging designs to make Cosmydor products even more attractive and give the brand a distinctive beautiful graphic identity with a “zero packaging” policy. Philippe Guillermic, the artistic director, has designed pots, flasks, and tubes with clean lines in environmentally friendly materials.
An early decision was to avoid all plastic jars and bottles and use glass and aluminum instead, though the search still continues to find alternatives to using certain plastic elements such as pumps and caps. Unfortunately, says the brand, there is still no solution for these non-polluting, non-plastic packaging parts largely because those with the financial firepower to force innovation remain unwilling. Small brands simply cannot afford to change a whole supply chain. Ultimately, it is down to the consumer to affect this change by choosing to no longer buy products packaged in plastic.
Cosmydor now offers a full range of products of the highest quality for all skin types, and is distributed globally in concept stores. Says Quattrocchi-Oubradous, “Creating our creams takes time and attention… the same way Cosmydor worked 125 years ago.” He is currently evaluating the potential relaunch of other French, Spanish, and Italian “sleeping beauties.”
Photo: via Cosmydor