Lubin is one of the oldest perfume houses in the world. Its early history is linked to the high society of the Napoleonic era, and its products became the imprimatur of haute couture and indicators of fashion and social hierarchy.
Pierre François Lubin founded the company in 1798, when he began supplying fragrance ribbons, rice powder balls and masks to "Les Merveilleuses", socially upscale women who frequented the salons of Napoleonic France, and to the "Incroyables", members of the subculture that blended fashion and propaganda and emerged after the Reign of Terror that was the immediate aftermath of the French Revolution of 1789.
The fragrance conquered the imperial court and was worn by personalities such as Joséphine and Pauline Bonaparte. When the Bourbons were restored, Lubin dedicated his fragrances to Queen Marie-Amelie. Eventually, Lubin's perfumes were worn by all the crowned heads of Europe and imported to America in 1830.
As late as the 1960s, Lubin was still a major perfumery, under the management of Paul Prot Jr, whose great-grandfather Felix had taken over the house from its founder Pierre-François Lubin in 1844. The Prot family then decided to sell the business in 1969. In the 1970s, it became the property of the French perfume house Roger&Gallet, before being acquired in 1984 by Mülhens, one of the oldest German perfume houses, founded in Cologne in 1792. Lubin perfume production was then moved to the Mülhens perfume factory in Bickendorf near Cologne. In 1994, Mülhens was taken over by the German hair care company Wella, which separated from Lubin at the end of the 20th century.
The House of Lubin was taken over in the early 2000s by Gilles Thevenin, a former head of creation at Guerlain. He won the support of Laurent Prot, the son of Paul Jr, the last family head of the house. Production was moved back to France in 2004. Lubin perfumes are now produced in small quantities in the Loire Valley and distributed through a network of several hundred high-end retailers in some 30 countries. Still privately owned, the House of Lubin has a subsidiary in the US, Lubin Northamerica, in NYC, and one in the UK, Lubin limited, in London. Its boutique in Paris, located in Saint Germain des Prés, offers more than 30 different perfumes. His products and antique documents are on display at the Musée international de la Parfumerie in Grasse, France.