Fabergé (cosmetics)

Fabergé (cosmetics)


In 1842 Gustav Faberge opened his own retail jewellery business [1] under the name Fabergé. The addition of the accent may have been an attempt to give the name a more explicitly French character, appealing to the Russian nobility's francophilia. French was the language of the Russian Court and the urban nobility, and closely associated with luxury goods. While the business was successful, it really began to flourish when Gustav's son Carl joined the company in 1872. Thirteen years later the House of Fabergé was bestowed with the coveted title, 'Goldsmith By Special Appointment to the Imperial Crown' when the Tsar commissioned his first Easter Egg from the company. The House of Fabergé completed 50 Imperial Easter Eggs of which 42 have survived. Crafted from different colours of gold, embellished with precious and semi-precious stones, pearls and vibrant rich enamels, or perhaps expertly carved from rock crystal, agate, nephrite and then exquisitely decorated with precious metals and stones, each one is a masterpiece in its own right. Indeed, they are also probably the last of the great series of objets d’art to have been commissioned. It is no wonder that the Dowager Empress remarked to Carl Fabergé: "You are an incomparable genius".

Post Revolution

The House of Fabergé was nationalised by the Bolsheviks in 1918. The Fabergé all left the country, though Carl's son Agathon was not able to make his escape until 1927. Carl Fabergé died in Lausaane on September 24th 1920. He never recovered from the shock of the tragedy that had befallen his beloved country, its Imperial Family and of course the House of Fabergé. In exile, the words always on his lips were, ‘This life is not worth living’. The Fabergé Family did not unite following the Revolution, but scattered. Carl's sons Eugène and Alexander settled in Paris and in 1924 established Fabergé & Cie, which traded in and restored objects made by the House of Fabergé as well as general jewellery.


The American oil billionaire Armand Hammer collected many Fabergé pieces during his business ventures in communist Russia in the 1920s. In 1937, Armand Hammer’s friend Samuel Rubin, owner of the Spanish Trading Corporation which imported soap and olive oil, closed down his company because of the Spanish Civil War and established a new enterprise to manufacture perfumes and toiletries. He registered it, at Hammer’s suggestion, as Fabergé, Inc. The Faberge family did not learn about this until after World War II ended. Unable to afford protracted and expensive litigation, they settled out of court for US$25,000 in 1951 for the Fabergé name to be used in connection with perfume. Soon, Rubin added cosmetics and toiletries under the Faberge banner, usually sold in upscale department stores. Faberge had a high, prestige status, similar to rivals Coty, Guerlain and Elizabeth Arden. However, by 1964, Rubin sold Fabergé Inc. for $26 million to George Barrie and the cosmetics company Rayette. In 1964, Rayette changed its name to "Rayette-Fabergé Inc.", and, in 1971, the company name was changed back to Fabergé Inc.

The Fabergé cosmetics brand

From 1964 to 1984 under the direction of George Barrie, Fabergé launched many successful cosmetics products and hired celebrities to endorse them. In addition a media division made feature movies.

Mr. Barrie supervised Fabergé's introduction of the popular Brut toiletry line for Fabergé which was promoted by the football players Joe Namath, Paul Gascoigne and Kevin Keegan, as well as the boxers Mohamed Ali [http://freespace.virgin.net/peter.millington1/Modern/introduction.htm] and Henry Cooper, and the actress Kelly Le Brock [http://www.highbeam.com/doc/1G1:12276363/Unilever+restages+Brut+for+the+new+man.html?refid=ency_botnm] among others. Brut became the best selling cologne in the world at the time. It is still available in stores worldwide today.

In 1967 movie star Cary Grant had been appointed a "creative consultant" to Rayette-Faberge. He spent a year attending sales conventions and visited Faberge plants around the world. In May 1968, Grant was elected a member of Faberge's board of directors. He received a salary of $15,000 a year, a rent-paid luxury apartment in New York City (where Faberge's HQ was located), unlimited travel expenses and the use of the company's private fleet of helicopters and planes. By 1970, Grant divided his time between Los Angeles and New York. He never endorsed specific products or appeared in commercials.

In 1977 Barrie launched the Farrah Fawcett hair product and fragrance lines and he signed the actress and star of "Charlie's Angels" to a promotional contract with Fabergé. A famous Fabergé TV ad featured Joe Namath being shaven by Farrah Fawcett.

James Bond actor Roger Moore became another celebrity board member in 1970. George Barrie established Fabergé's filmmaking division, Brut Productions, in 1970 and produced the Academy Award-winning movie, "A Touch of Class" in 1973 and other feature movies.

Barrie launched the "Babe" fragrance in 1976 which, in its first year, became Fabergé's largest-selling women's fragrance worldwide.

The granddaughter of writer Ernest Hemingway, model and actress Margaux Hemingway, received a $1 million contract to promote the perfume Babe by Fabergé in a very popular advertising campaign. Her famous Babe campaign was remembered again by millions after her mysterious death in 1996. Babe received two awards from the Fragrance Foundation for its launch, Most Successful Introduction of a Women's Fragrance in Popular Distribution and Best Advertising Campaign for Women's Fragrance.

By 1984, the company had expanded its personal care products to Aphrodisia, Aqua Net Hair Spray, Babe, Cavale, Brut, Ceramic Nail glaze, Flambeau, Great Skin, Grande Finale, Just Wonderful, Macho, Kiku, Partage, Tip Top Accessories, Tigress, Woodhue, Xandu, Zizanie de Fragonard, Caryl Richards, Farrah Fawcett and Fabergé Organics.

In 1984, McGregor acquired Fabergé and discontinued many Faberge products. The company launched Mcgregor by Fabergé cologne the same year. New product lines were introduced including men's, women's, and children's apparel under the trademarks Billy the Kid, Scoreboard, and Wonderknit.

In 1986, Mark Goldston, a specialist in evaluating areas of untapped sales and profit, was named President of Fabergé. He was principally responsible for targeting and acquiring Elizabeth Arden from Eli Lilly.

Fabergé Inc was acquired by Unilever in 1989 for US$1.55 billion. In 2001 Lever Fabergé was formed through the merger of Lever Brothers and Elida Fabergé, two long-established Unilver companies. Lever Fabergé today owns hundreds of cosmetics, household, and other brands including Dove, Impulse, Sure, Axe, Organics, Timotei, Signal, Persil, Comfort, Domestos, Surf, Sun, and Cif.

However, in January 2007 Unilever sold its entire global portfolio of trademarks, licences and associated rights relating to the Fabergé brand. The new owner is Cayman Islands-based Fabergé Limited, which is advised by Pallinghurst Resources LLP, an investment advisory firm based in London. Unilever will remove the Fabergé name from all its products and packaging by the end of 2007.

Future of Faberge

The new owners have two aims for Fabergé. The first is to restore Fabergé as an exclusive luxury goods brand dedicated to Fabergé’s heritage by focussing on the highest standards of design and craftsmanship. The second is to create a supplier of individually branded Fabergé gemstones which guarantees exact provenance and ethical sourcing of the stones.

Fabergé Limited is in the process of recruiting a specialist team from the luxury goods sector in order to achieve these objectives and hopes to announce the appointment of a CEO before the end of 2007.

Fabergé TV Commercials

* Farrah Fawcett Shampoo by Fabergé (1978) [http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C1NKEdHLbBk&mode=related&search=]
* Farrah Fawcett Shampoo by Fabergé (1978) [http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NPJT52Dqh0c&mode=related&search=]
* Babe Shampoo [http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VZBCcLSwYik]
* Adiction by Fabergé (Lisa Snowdon) [http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z0tT8E0N9pQ]
* Brut by Fabergé [http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v_5rW1mY-nw]
* Brut by Fabergé, 1992 Featuring Kelly LeBrock [http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rc8btmfx57g&mode=related&search=]


* The cologne Brut 33 by Fabergé had a product placement in the 1974 James Bond movie "The Man with the Golden Gun". In the fight in the dancer's dressing-room, Roger Moore sprays one of the villains in the face with an aerosol can of what is clearly Brut-33, a nod to the Fabergé company with which Moore was associated. [http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0071807/trivia]

* Limited licences to endorse products with the name Fabergé were given to Barbie, Limoges, Franklin Mint and others.

* Tatiana Fabergé and Theo Fabergé are among the surviving descendants of Gustav Fabergé. They both promote jewellery product lines, but neither of them owns the rights to the famous family name.
* Theo Fabergé died on August 20 2007 aged 84. He is survived by his daughter Sarah Fabergé.

External links

* Must see! Faberge commercial. [http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VZBCcLSwYik]
* [http://www.ucmds.com/leverfaberge.htm Lever Fabergé]
* [http://www.undueinfluence.com/ips.htm Samuel Rubin profile at undueinfluence.com]
* [http://collectibles.about.com/cs/miscellaneous/a/aaeggfabr0403.htm Fabergé history from About.com]
* [http://www.faberge-family.com/stpetercollection/ Site of Theo Fabergé and the St Petersburg Collection]
* [http://www.secinfo.com/dSkfj.an.htm Richard Barrie, Fabergé Inc.]
* [http://www.sammleraktien-online.de/html/2/artId/__2314/gid/__usa90usar90/article.html Rayette-Fabergé]

* Margaux Hemingway, Babe perfume advertising [http://images.google.com/imgres?imgurl=http://lumen.georgetown.edu/projects/PosterTool/data/users/Margaux_Hemingway_ad.gif&imgrefurl=http://lumen.georgetown.edu/projects/PosterTool/index.cfm%3Ffuseaction%3Dposter.display%26posterID%3D1769&h=228&w=168&sz=33&hl=en&start=1&tbnid=j9ciaMQdP3hV2M:&tbnh=108&tbnw=80&prev=/images%3Fq%3Dbabe,%2Bhemingway%26svnum%3D10%26hl%3Den%26lr%3D%26newwindow%3D1%26safe%3Doff%26sa%3DN]

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