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Creed

Where the Creed Story Began

Creed LogoThe House of Creed is an authentic, luxury perfume house dedicated to the creation of highly original, artisan fragrances for men and women, made from the finest perfume ingredients the world has to offer.

This unique story began in 1760 when a pair of scented leather gloves were delivered to King George III by a new London tailoring company. Founded by James Henry Creed in the same year as the young King’s accession, the House of Creed started its journey as an exquisite tailor based in Mayfair, London. Since then, the House of Creed has gone on to create some of the finest garments and fragrances for the discerning and the discriminating for over 260 years, shifting from its tailoring heritage into one of the world’s leading niche perfume houses.

A Royal History

Relocating from London to Paris in 1854, at the request of Napoleon III and his Empress, Eugénie, who appointed Creed as an official supplier to the royal household, the House of Creed embellished its reputation from impeccable tailoring and for the exclusively rare and limited house fragrances. The tact and discretion with which a royal, aristocratic and socially prominent clientele were handled rapidly became part of the Creed legend.

In their newly found Paris headquarters, Creed continued to create a legacy of unrivalled scents for men and women, treasured by perfume connoisseurs and admirers of quality, style and panache. Over the centuries, the Creed family has produced over 200 perfumes, all testifying to a unique creative spirit that has been passed, together with a keen inherited nose, from father to son through seven generations.

Modern Perfume Celebrating Rich Heritage

Olivier Creed

Today, seventh generation descendant of founding James Henry Creed and master perfumer, Olivier Creed, continues this great tradition. Accompanied by his son, Erwin, Olivier travels extensively to source, research, inspect and commission the finest materials from around the globe. Rose from Bulgaria, Turkey and Morocco, Florentine Iris, Calabrian bergamot, Haitian vetiver, Bourbon vanilla, Italian jasmine and the finest ambergris are just a few of the signature ingredients found in Creed fragrances.

Luxurious Artisan Perfume Of The Future

Upholding traditional perfumer methods, including the age-old infusion technique now abandoned by most modern perfume houses for its costly processes, the House of Creed proudly create timeless niche perfumes of unrivalled “Millesime” quality from their family-run factory in Fontainebleau on the outskirts of Paris. Each Creed fragrance is still today filtered, bottled and labelled by hand for a truly artisan perfume experience. The process is labour intensive but Creed is driven by artistry and perfection – a timeless, yet modern take on history, bottled.

Tailors To Perfumers: The House of Creed

The House of Creed

The House of Creed has a notable history that is traceable for over 250 years. With seven generations that have shaped the fragrance house, the history of the brand is more than just tales passed from one’s grandfather, they are a matter of public record.

In order to delve into the legacy of the Creed name, The House of Creed looked to a professional archivist who notably has worked uncovering the hidden archive of the family. Upon her discoveries, we found that the Creed family did not always start out in the fragrance business. Further unearthing uncovered a history of makers to tailors to today’s master perfumers, enforcing the historical fact that the Creed family are indeed a master of all trades.

Discover the rich history that the brand has to offer by heading down to our flagship Mayfair Boutique and collect a copy of our Creed Magazine. Inside you will unearth the rich history of the brand and learn the story of when James Creed came to London, a talented ambitious man who was practically penniless when he first left Leicester in 1710. After delving further into the history, the archivist found marriage certificates for James Creed, who frequented between Wokingham and Marylebone and whose son, Henry Creed, proved his will. It was this Henry who we learnt took the tailoring business to Paris and this is where The House of Creed get their British and French ethos from.

After delving into the archives of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, our archivist found a mention that the first London tailors to open in Paris at 25 Rue de La Paix was Henry Creed, and to honour this we have named one of our upcoming Christmas trunks after our first Parisian atelier.

With many references to royalty in our history, it was important to find direct links to our royal connections and in the year 1860, in an article of the Army and Navy Gazette, it was noted that the Henry Creed of Creed and Cumberland was awarded a by special appointment to Queen Victoria and Principal Courts in Europe. However, this was not the first time that Henry had been aquatinted with Royalty. He began working in D’Antin Paris, for the tailors Messrs Harris &Co which is where he would have created garments for European Royalty. In 1885 Henry was granted a Royal Warrant which was signed by Mistress of the Robes, Annie Roxburgh and to this day you can find this warrant hung in our Serbie Store in Paris. We know that Henry created a riding habit for Queen Victoria in 1885, which you can find in the Kyoto Museum, and it is this riding habit that inspired our campaign for our best-selling female fragrance Aventus for Her.

After Henry passed away, his sons Henry and James (Olivier’s father) took over the business. Couture and tailoring would still be prominent in the family business, with one of Henry’s sons, Charles, undertaking an apprenticeship at Linton Tweeds. The House of Creed are delighted to partner with Linton Tweed in their upcoming campaign for Green Irish Tweed, to honour their couture heritage and to pay homage to Charles’ time there.

Charles would also go on to become a founding member of the British Fashion Institute and, as photographed in the V&A book The Golden Age of Couture, you will see Charles seated alongside the other founding members. He finally joined the family business in 1935 after working as a floor walker at Bergdorf Goodman. While Charles was running the business in Paris, his brother embarked upon a journey across the seas around the Far East and The House of Creed are delighted to tell this tale in the next edition of their magazine. Here, James explored Japan which would have been an extraordinary expedition for the young Man.

Whilst James was in Japan, Henry and Charles were at the forefront of the Couture world, with it being written in a 1935 article from Luggage and Goods that Charles Creed of Henry Creed and Co showing their Spring Collection of sports and evening wear at the Gotham Hotel. This was radicalising the way the buyers saw the Paris Collections as they often found them too late for their schedules. The year 1939 saw record sales in the US and the New York Times reported that only Creed and Lanvin remained open despite the war and under Charles’ watchful gaze.

When Henry senior died in 1949, James and a young Olivier Creed continued The House of Creed legacy ‘From Father to Son’ which you can see on many of our Boutiques to this day. Olivier, who created the blockbuster fragrance Aventus is credited for transforming the business from 1000 bottles to what it is today. In book one, Olivier muses ‘My grandmother helped me a lot and even gave me a mould to make the bottles, and my father told me if my passion was for fragrances, then I should go for it’.

Today Olivier, accompanied by his son Erwin, create artisanal fragrances in our factory in Fontainebleau

At Home With Olivier Creed

Once named ‘the world’s most elegant perfumier’, this sixth-generation Creed has brought his curiosity, passion for art and family into the business of creating fragrances, as Michael Peake finds out.

Born in the Italian-occupied city of Nice during the Second World War, it seems that from an early age, Olivier Creed has always had an insatiable curiosity that was going to either get him into or keep him out of trouble. Beyond the perimeter of his playpen lay opportunity and adventure – and the life that followed was destined to be rich with both. ‘My father always encouraged me not only to study but also to experiment,’ Olivier explains. ‘Perfumes, fabrics, paint – and it all still interests me today. I’m not someone who can stay in his lab, not going anywhere. I like to see people from different generations, different countries, and it all helps to give me ideas. It’s not good to be trapped inside four walls.’

But perhaps we’re getting ahead of ourselves. There’s the little matter of being born into the Creed family – the House Of Creed, no less – to attend to first. The Creed story is, by now, well known. The brand started life as bespoke tailors in the mid-18th century in London’s affluent area of Mayfair and almost immediately attracted royal patronage. Supplying the court of King George III, founder James Henry Creed was a pioneer among businessmen, the brains behind a novel idea that would go on to elevate his brand above his competitors. As a special treat for discerning clients, he would sometimes add a dab of homemade fragrance to the items they bought.

A book could be written about the successes that followed – ‘The Queen Victoria Years’, ‘The Hapsburg Connection’ and ‘A Scent for Mr Churchill’ would likely be nestled among other intriguingly titled chapters – however, if we’re to focus exclusively on the man behind Creed as the world knows it today, then our story really begins around 1962. With the brand at the time quietly occupied with creating bespoke scents and fine garments for a very selective client base, the hour had come for the sixth-generation Creed to take up the reins of the business. A single-minded young man with a thirst for creativity and adventure, Olivier was about to steer the company in a bold new direction. ‘I started to make fragrances when I was about 18,’ he explains. ‘My grandmother helped me a lot and even gave me a mould to make the bottles, and my father told me that if my passion was for fragrances, then I should go for it.’ By ‘go for it’, young Olivier was effectively being given the green light to focus on the fragrance side of the business – and, ultimately, push the family brand almost exclusively in that direction. ‘Although,’ he adds, eyes sparkling, ‘even if my father hadn’t have been behind the idea, I would still have done it.'

Creed had the heritage – underpinned by a dizzying collection of royal warrants – and Olivier had the vision. He also had boundless enthusiasm when it came to creating things, something he had developed while studying art and painting at the famous École des Beaux-Arts in Paris. ‘I’ve always been passionate about painting and drawing,’ says Olivier, who still paints today. ‘A client of my father’s sold paintings, and we came to an agreement where he paid me every month to paint, and if he sold that piece then we would continue for another month. He sold my work in Montparnasse, where I had a flat, and it worked well, but then my father said to me, “You’re my only son, and I need you in the family business.”’ Art was much more than a fleeting passion for Olivier. While he owns few of the canvasses he painted as a young man, he does have some wonderful memories – such as the occasions when he painted with Georges Braque, a renowned French artist whose paintings have sold at auction for more than $15 million. ‘He was a neighbour of ours,’ Olivier explains.

The similarities between creating art and fragrances are readily evident – to be blunt, you start with an idea and materials, and then finish, God willing, with something that people will cherish. And just like the tirelessly tenacious painter who has a canvas and brush within reach for that moment when the muse might strike, Olivier has a small lab near his bedroom in his main residence in Brussels (he also has properties in Lausanne and Paris) for when inspiration calls in the small hours. Indeed, he once pointed out that, unlike a finished painting, an already flawless fragrance can theoretically be adjusted and improved on forever.

For Olivier, one of the greatest attractions of creating new fragrances is that it offers him the chance to travel the world in search of exciting new ingredients. Dedicated to only using natural products in his fragrances, he has eagerly toured distant shores time and again to hunt down the rare flowers, delicate spices and lovingly farmed fruits that make his creations so special. ‘When I started to pursue the perfume side of the business, it took time, because I wanted to create fragrances I really liked,’ he says. ‘And, back then, very few of the ingredients I wanted to include were readily available.’ Since then, there have been journeys to Florence to find the finest irises, to Calabria for zesty bergamot, and to Mysore in India for rare sandalwood. The world’s most fragrant lemons, Olivier will tell you, are to be found in Sicily.

The raw ingredients are only half of the story, of course – the actual creation of Creed’s scents is equally as meticulous and takes place in a lab at Ury near Fontainebleau, just south of Paris. The French capital has been home to the company since 1854, and you would discover – if you were lucky enough to take a peek behind the curtains – that the approach taken at Creed’s lab is markedly different to that of a more run-of-the-mill fragrance house. Everything is done in a diligent fashion and on an intimate scale – something not lost on the legions of fragrance journalists who have waxed lyrical about master perfumer Olivier’s creative process over the years. Describing the hand-pressing of Creed’s ingredients that have been immersed in oils for months, one wrote: ‘If you think of peasant girls dancing on grapes to make wine, but with fingers instead of feet, you’re not too far off.’

Olivier is assisted by a team of 50 in this unhurried hive of olfactory activity. This team includes his son Erwin, Creed’s brand director. It was always the dream, says Olivier, for his family to be part of the business. ‘I enjoy having them around me,’ he says, ‘and they are really good at what they do. If they weren’t,’ he adds, smiling mischievously, ‘they wouldn’t work for me.'

The similarities between creating art and fragrances are readily evident – to be blunt, you start with an idea and materials, and then finish, God willing, with something that people will cherish. And just like the tirelessly tenacious painter who has a canvas and brush within reach for that moment when the muse might strike, Olivier has a small lab near his bedroom in his main residence in Brussels (he also has properties in Lausanne and Paris) for when inspiration calls in the small hours. Indeed, he once pointed out that, unlike a finished painting, an already flawless fragrance can theoretically be adjusted and improved on forever.

For Olivier, one of the greatest attractions of creating new fragrances is that it offers him the chance to travel the world in search of exciting new ingredients. Dedicated to only using natural products in his fragrances, he has eagerly toured distant shores time and again to hunt down the rare flowers, delicate spices and lovingly farmed fruits that make his creations so special. ‘When I started to pursue the perfume side of the business, it took time, because I wanted to create fragrances I really liked,’ he says. ‘And, back then, very few of the ingredients I wanted to include were readily available.’ Since then, there have been journeys to Florence to find the finest irises, to Calabria for zesty bergamot, and to Mysore in India for rare sandalwood. The world’s most fragrant lemons, Olivier will tell you, are to be found in Sicily.

The raw ingredients are only half of the story, of course – the actual creation of Creed’s scents is equally as meticulous and takes place in a lab at Ury near Fontainebleau, just south of Paris. The French capital has been home to the company since 1854, and you would discover – if you were lucky enough to take a peek behind the curtains – that the approach taken at Creed’s lab is markedly different to that of a more run-of-the-mill fragrance house. Everything is done in a diligent fashion and on an intimate scale – something not lost on the legions of fragrance journalists who have waxed lyrical about master perfumer Olivier’s creative process over the years. Describing the hand-pressing of Creed’s ingredients that have been immersed in oils for months, one wrote: ‘If you think of peasant girls dancing on grapes to make wine, but with fingers instead of feet, you’re not too far off.’

Olivier is assisted by a team of 50 in this unhurried hive of olfactory activity. This team includes his son Erwin, Creed’s brand director. It was always the dream, says Olivier, for his family to be part of the business. ‘I enjoy having them around me,’ he says, ‘and they are really good at what they do. If they weren’t,’ he adds, smiling mischievously, ‘they wouldn’t work for me.'