Helena Rubinstein: the brand after World War 2

By the end of the Second World War, Paris was devastated. Helena Rubinstein hadn't been back for seven years and, in 1945, she returned to a terrible shock – everything was in ruins. Her factory in Saint Cloud had been destroyed and her apartment on the Quai de Béthune had been ransacked. Despite this, the 72 year-old Madame Rubinstein, who had lost none of the youthful energy she'd displayed in Melbourne, vowed to rebuild everything.

Overflowing with energy

Paris may have been battered and bruised but Helena Rubinstein, now the Princess Gourielli, was happy nevertheless. The French capital made her happier than she had ever been in New York. Every morning she would go and work in her Faubourg Saint-Honoré boutique without electricity. Everything had to be rebuilt, and it was with her famous energy that Helena decided to go back to producing the creams women so desired.

N°1 business in Europe

It took some time for Paris to recover from the Second World War. Raw materials were to remain rationed for several years, so Madame went out in search of perfume and lanolin to produce her skincare, put it in jars and sell. Because the cold weather was causing frostbite among Parisians, she bought liters of sweet almond oil, costing her more than 800 francs a liter.

Helena Rubinstein, five years after the War

Parisian women responded enthusiastically to each product launch by Helena Rubinstein. The company even became number 1 in Europe! The boutique on Rue Saint-Honoré reclaimed its prosperity and Madame started looking to open another in London. Even if success meant that she was no longer creating the creams herself, each product was developed according to her observations: she made every decision concerning the brand, all of which were ahead of their time and would lead to considerable growth.

The first deep cleanser, the first cream enriched with vitamins, and the first firming and lifting face cream were among some of Helena Rubinstein's innovations. Towards the end of the fifties, more than ten years after the war, the brand had picked itself up again: represented by 14 factories around the world and roughly 40,000 employees.

tag : Pioneer
Related Articles