Comité Colbert was created in 1954 at the initiative of Jean-Jacques Guerlain and adopted the name of an important figure in French history.
Created in 1954 at the initiative of Jean-Jacques Guerlain, Comité Colbert (an association governed by the French law of 1901) chose Jean-Baptiste Colbert, King Louis XIV’s intendant of finance, as its namesake and guide. Colbert was responsible for the arts and manufacturing, founded the Comédie-Française, and was a major promoter of French talent beyond the country’s borders.
The idea was simple: rekindle the desire for French art de vivre after years of war and deprivation by bringing together, on an equal footing, the big names from various artistic métiers embodying French genius and ingenuity. This association was to be a forum for meeting peers, exchanging ideas, and reflecting on elements specific to the luxury industry.
Initially dedicated to fashion, tableware, perfume and cosmetics, the association then opened its doors to cultural institutions and prestigious art institutions in order to better promote France’s image worldwide.
From the fourteen Maisons that originally composed the association to the one hundred and five today, the oldest founded in the 9th century and the most recent in the 21st century, whether specialised in the areas of publishing, gastronomy, haute couture, orfevrerie, cosmetics, perfume or jewellery, all of our Maisons strive to fly the flag of French creation and savoir-faire.
The world has changed, but the Colbert spirit lives on.
In October 1954, Jean-Jacques Guerlain, Chairman of the Organising Committee of the Fragrance industry, and Lucien Lelong, Chairman of the Organising Committee of the Couture industry, along with a few friends from the luxury sector, decided to create Comité Colbert, a small restricted committee uniting the 15 companies pioneering the revival of French luxury in the post-war years: Baccarat, Cartier, Chaumet, Christian Dior, Christofle, Drouart, Guerlain, Hermès, Jansen, Hôtel Le Bristol, Lesur, Paul Portes, Pierre Balmain and Puiforcat.
« French art de vivre resides in the beauty of our creations, it is the heritage of our civilisation and comes from our innate savoir-faire: it is in our culture and is what inspires our designers. »
The Chairmen and women of Comité Colbert since its creation
1954 – 1988 Jean-Jacques Guerlain (Guerlain)
June 1988 – June 1991 Jean-Louis Dumas (Hermès)
June 1991 – June 1994 Alain Boucheron (Boucheron)
June 1994 – June 1998 Dominique Hériard Dubreuil (Rémy Martin)
June 1998 – June 2002 Rémi Krug (Champagne Krug)
June 2002 – June 2006 Olivier Mellerio (Mellerio dits Meller)
June 2006 – June 2012 Françoise Montenay (Chanel)
June 2012 – June 2016 Michel Bernardaud (Bernardaud)
June 2016 – Guillaume de Seynes (Hermès)