Over 250 unique pieces make up the exhibition entitled Roger & Gallet: the art of perfume from 1862 to the present-day. The collection not only tells the story of this mythical name from the world of perfume, but provides a look at the history of scent – and of Europe itself – from the nineteenth century to modern times. The starting date of the story is 1862, the year in which Armand Roger and Charles Gallet took over the brand that had been established in 1806 by Jean Marie Farina, a descendent of the original inventor of Eau de Cologne.
The story of Roger & Gallet has been directly linked to the history of Europe, and the name has been endorsed by the great royal houses of Europe, who made it their official supplier of perfumes. This is clearly demonstrated by some of the exhibits, such as the exclusive Eau de Cologne bottle, created by Jean Marie Farina for Napoleon, so that it could be slipped inside his boot, the 1897 Violette soaps, designed to celebrate Queen Victoria's diamond jubilee, and the Bouquet du Roi, a tribute to the young Spanish King Alfonso XIII.
The house of Roger & Gallet, bought by l'Oreal in 2008, collaborated with the greatest designers and artists of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, some of whose work is on displau in the exhibition. Louis Chalon, Rene Lalique and Baccarat all designed perfume bottles, Alfons Mucha's unmistakeable style is apparent in the advertising – and in the exhibition poster itself – while, in recent decades, the designer Martin Szekely has worked with the perfumers.
Also on display are some of the objects that have marked the history of perfume, including the first bottle with drip dispenser – complete with its patented cork and pipette system – created in 1869, the first round scented soap launched by the brand in 1879, and the slider mechanism for lipstick, dating from 1884.
Madrid Costume Museum; Tel: +34 91 550 47 00