Guerlain’s Les Militantes: An Art Exhibition Dedicated To Women’s Activism

Nel-Olivia Waga
October 25, 2022
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Being one of the world’s first perfume houses, you might not know that Guerlain is strongly engaged in sustainable activities such as the preservation of bees, supporting art and empowering women. In celebration of the Guerlain Paris+ Art Basel partnership, the maison has curated an extraordinary and meaningful show together with the international art fair that took place in Paris for the first time this fall. The show; LES MILITANTES, brings together 21 established and emerging contemporary artists who share strong messages for a fairer world through their works.

Dedicated to the commitment of women, Guerlain opened the doors of its Maison on the Champs-Élysées to 21 international female artists. Established to emerging, pioneers to recent graduates – all wishing to embody a movement, progress ideas and transform perceptions. The show takes place from 19 October – 14 November 2022.

"Thu Van Tran Trail Dust #2, 2021 Graphite on canson paper 105x152cm", Courtesy of the artist and Almine Rech © GUERLAIN AND PIERRE MOUTON

To celebrate the occasion Guerlain hosted several events including an intimate dinner together with Art Basel, which I attended amongst other friends of the brand. The exclusive food pairing menu with Krug Champagne emphasized the natural ingredients of which Guerlain’s scents are made of.

Maison Guerlain considers contemporary art to be defined by the fact that it reflects the society in which it is created, it becomes a mirror and thus confronts the viewer with a reality that is often full of injustice, fear and danger. It is at this point that the perspective of the artist becomes essential, because what she shows us corresponds to her own sensibility.

All of these unique artists couldn’t be more different from one another, yet their diversity unites them and makes this exhibition so special. Together their voices are even more powerful by raising concerns about current political, environmental, social and ethical issues.

"Jeanne Susplugas La Maison malade, 1999-2022 Vue: Musée Fabre, 2020", Courtesy of the artist © Brice Pelleschi

By supporting each other, these 21 women send a strong message to be heard by the world, by governments, by society and by each viewer: „Listen to us. We want to see change in the world, in you. Stop the empty words, take action towards a better, healthier and more inclusive future.”

Dalila Dalléas Bouzar Ma demeure #8, 2019 Huile sur toile 60 X 50 cm, Courtesy de l'artiste et de la Galerie Cécile Fakhoury, Abidjan, Dakar, Paris © GUERLAIN AND PIERRE MOUTON

Among the challenging struggles these activists mention, the ones that Maison Guerlain carries with the most determination are the defence of nature and sustainable development.

Elea Jeanne Schmitter Fasten, 2020, 200 cmx140cm, Impression sur toile, Edition unique dans cette taille", Courtesy of the artist © GUERLAIN AND PIERRE MOUTON

„We source our raw materials from all over the world, in what are often fragile ecosystems. We have revolutionised our ways of doing things, our processes and our human resources management, everywhere. Our ‘Bee Respect’ programme and transparency programme has put us at the forefront of our industry. The second major battle is the battle for women. For example, women are now central to the management of the of the company. But above all, we have launched in 2021 the “Women for Bees” programme, with UNESCO, to support women’s entrepreneurship in beekeeping throughout the world. For 5 years, we will finance the training of 50 women, who will be able to start their own business and in turn share their knowledge.“ says Véronique Courtois, President of Guerlain.

"Kiki Smith Woman with Dog, 2003 Porcelaine, exmplaire 2/13 31 x 32 x 12,5 cm 6 kg", Courtesy of Kiki Smith and Galerie Lelong & Co © GUERLAIN AND PIERRE MOUTON


#ConsciousLuxury is the theme of HER/etiquette. We combine luxury lifestyle with consciousness. Each story we share, is underlined with values. The purpose and innovation of the brands we collaborate with, are as important to us, as their initiatives towards ethical craftsmanship, sustainability, holistic health and social responsibility.

This is our first step in contributing to the global movement of creating a more positive impact in the world – and in you.



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