LVMH Silences Monsieur Guerlain

I was stunned to wake up this morning to news that LVMH, the parent company of Guerlain, has shut down the Monsieur Guerlain website, as well as his Facebook page, Twitter account, and YouTube account. The news was reported by the perfume blog, PerseFume, in a post on its Facebook page. It states that the action was taken without any notice or prior warning by LVMH to Monsieur Guerlain. The news of the shut-down has been confirmed elsewhere.

Monsieur Guerlain's old avatar image, dug up from old Vimeo files.

Monsieur Guerlain’s old avatar image, dug up from old Vimeo files.

I honestly don’t know where to begin. Monsieur Guerlain’s pages were nothing but a PR benefit. His unquestionable love for Guerlain fragrances and the brand as a whole was so intense that many incorrectly assumed that he was a paid shill for the company. He provided a community where fellow admirers could share their passion, he worked hard to celebrate the best of Guerlain and even loved most of its crappy modern stuff that, in my opinion, rarely merited such praise. He provided absolutely essential news on things like discontinuations, reformulations, name changes, and new releases.

And all of it was done with the sort of detailed, exhaustively thorough, expert knowledge that made his sites an invaluable resource. I didn’t share his unfiltered, unqualified love for modern Guerlain and I certainly didn’t share his admiration for most of their newest fragrances, but his writings made a difference nonetheless. HE made a difference. Even to a skeptic like me. For example, his posts on Thierry Wasser’s attempts to bring Mitsouko back to its old glory through new methodologies and alternatives to EU/IFRA restrictions on oakmoss made me think it might be worth trying one of the new, modern versions. His detailed knowledge on the finest nuances separating one flanker of Habit Rouge from another was useful not only to me when I was reviewing the new Habit Rouge Dress Code but also to thousands of others who loved the original. Plus, Monsieur Guerlain is a bloody decent fellow. Warm, humble, self-effacing, generous with his time, and kind.

I assume that LVMH claimed trademark and copyright infringement in the use of the “Guerlain” name. This isn’t my area of law, and certainly not any EU version of it, but I’m bewildered by the action nonetheless. How does the PR benefit (and the financial profits that undoubtedly ensued) from his site not outweigh his use of the name? And how does the PR flack and firestorm resulting from their wide-sweeping, eviscerating, brutally thorough action not outweigh any minor trademark issue? Every single one of his sites has disappeared, and who knows if the information is wiped out forever. All those posts, all those photos… gone. I barely managed to dig up an old avatar photo for Monsieur Guerlain. Everything else has been erased as if he never even existed. Is that not like using a jackhammer and military assault rifle to go after a butterfly? (Not a gnat or mosquito, but a beneficial butterfly that made your garden prettier.)

Bernard Arnault. Photo source: bornrich.com

Bernard Arnault via bornrich.com

LVMH is a behemoth that Forbes magazine calculates is worth $34 billion. Its chairman and owner, Bernard Arnault, is estimated to be worth $36.1 billion. Forbes ranked him as the 13th richest person in the world in March 2015.

Monsieur Guerlain worked on his fan page as a hobby on the side. It was a work of love. Again, he was not paid but even if he were (which he was not), it would be a pittance and certainly nothing as compared to how much time, energy, and money he spent on his passion. He once told me that even his parents didn’t understand why he invested so much time and energy into it but, I must repeat it again, it was love that drove him. A love that did nothing but benefit Guerlain and, by extension, LVMH and Bernard Arnault, the 13th richest man in the world.

If you have ever benefited from Monsieur Guerlain’s site or if you simply have issues with censorship and behemoths using their power to silence the little people, then I hope you will make your voice heard by speaking up on his behalf. Here are links to: Guerlain’s Facebook page, LVMH‘s Facebook page, Guerlain’s Twitter account, the GuerlainUS Twitter account, and the LVMH contact form. I highly doubt that anyone at Guerlain was behind the move or feels that the decision was a good idea, which is why I think they will share customer reaction or outrage with the specific LVMH individual or individuals who actually are responsible. To that end, I dug around Guerlain’s website and found a direct email address that seems to be for client service or PR contact:

Département Internet
125 avenue du Président Wilson –
92593 Levallois Perret cedex – France
email irousseau@guerlain.fr

To Monsieur Guerlain, I want you to know that you’re not alone and that many people support you. To LVMH, I say: I think you’re idiots. Stark, raving morons and imbeciles.

 

[2/9/2016 — An update on the LVMH & Monsieur Guerlain situation, some new information, and why I think the issue might be very different than what many of us originally thought.]

94 thoughts on “LVMH Silences Monsieur Guerlain

  1. Wish I had seen the posts before they were taken down. There was so much that could have been done to resolve any perceived problem without taking down sites. Overdone legalism at work again. Sigh! A simple call/email to the individual with the Monsieur Guerlain site could have resolved it all and I don’t think there was a problem in the first place. Why drown out good publicity?? Another example of the stupid “zero tolerance” policy in use by so many these days.

    • I truly don’t understand their cost/benefit calculations or why they thought such draconian measures were a good idea. I just don’t.

  2. Gosh! What a disgusting, underhanded thing to do! I wonder if the perfume companies are somehow banding together because they “feel” financially left out of a thriving perfume community fueled by blogs like yours, NST, the boutiques carrying more interesting niche/indie lines and the decant sites allowing mere mortals to sample previously unattainable perfumes? There’s a buzz going around that CHANEL issued a cease and desist order to the decant sites. In the past few weeks, STC, TPC, and just last week, The Posh Pheasant, have all put their entire Chanel inventory on deep discount and have stated that they will no longer offer Chanel. What the heck is going on???

    • Something is weird, that’s for sure. I wish I knew. I think it was Fragrantica on Twitter that stated they got a Cease & Desist letter from Dior (which is a LVMH company and in which Bernard Arnault has a huge personal investment). I don’t recall all the Fragrantica details, but I think it was over some post on Dior Poison or one of its flankers. They got the “Cease and Desist,” removed the post, but mentioned the situation in response to a question on Twitter. I don’t know more than that and never saw the original post, so I have no idea what was so objectionable about it in terms of specific legal reasons. LVMH is clearly cracking down for some reason that I cannot fathom, but I think they should stick to worrying about counterfeit Moet Chandon bottles (like in the Italian case last week) and stop squashing sites that are actually increasing their profits and sales.

      • I’d bet it was about Poison Girl – Fragrantica removed the original review page several weeks ago, before the fragrance was released. It was overwhelmingly negative comments about what a bad idea for a Poison flanker it was, how stupid the ad campaign looked (glamourising smoking), etc.

        • I appreciate the additional information and details, so thank you. 🙂 I’d heard that Dior was coming out with the “Girl” version of Poison (and I’ll spare you my thoughts on that) but was there really smoking in the ad campaign for something that is being marketed to the young/younger audience? Egads. That’s… er… unexpectedly tone-deaf and surprising, to put it mildly.

          • Yes, it was stupid – no other word for it. Youngish looking girl standing in front of a “No Smoking, No Poison” sign with a cigarette in her hand: http://www.fashiongonerogue.com/dior-poison-perfume-2016/dior-poison-girl-perfume-campaign02/

            It was supposed to be “For pop feminists who follow their dreams.” Hilariously awful. Their target market has grown up free of advertising that makes smoking seem cool, so that photo would have been considered outdated 20 years ago. I’d say 80% of the comments on the original Fragrantica page for Poison Girl were along the lines of how it seemed like an obvious cash-in on the Poison name on Dior’s part, it had nothing in common with the original Poison, it was lazy bandwagon-jumping along the lines of La Petite Robe Noire and La Vie est Belle, the ad was sleazy, etc.

            I have no proof that this was what Dior was reacting to if they sent Fragrantica an order to take something down – this is just my best guess – but I honestly wouldn’t be surprised if it was.

          • That smoking ad to which you linked is not something one sees in this day and age. Hmph.

            As for what Dior was reacting to, it will be difficult to silence critics once the perfume is fully released and people try it. LVMH can’t have the perfume’s actual entry page sanitized and purged of any negative comments about the actual scent itself. Not even Fragrantica would go along with that.

      • Fragrantica let them get away with that? They actually took down editorial content to appease Dior ? That makes the fact that the owner of Fragrantica is stomping around the discussion boards deleting posts about this event, posting snide captioned videos about it, and generally coming to LVMH’s defense somewhat less baffling. Evidently they’ve decided to crawl all the way up LVMH’s butt instead of holding their hill. Oh well. I suppose they think they’ll get something for being sycophantic, but that’s not how it actually works. It just means they’ll get treated like buttmonkeys. And the site will have even less credibility with respect to news and reviews and discussion than it does now, when it comes in probably somewhere around a 4/10. The database there is a great resource, but lord is the actual content and level of writing/discussion BAD.

        • I’m not completely sure that was the reason, but I wouldn’t be surprised, considering the level of vitriol in the comments about Poison Girl.

          Fragrantica…half the time their front-page articles read like straight-up ad copy. I don’t understand.

          • I find almost all their articles to be “advertorials.” But I think a lot of site are basically pimps and shills for the perfume houses and never provide a word of criticism, so they’re hardly different in their approach. Their goal is to make money, after all, and to retain advertisers. They’re a business, imo, pure and simple. Their database is excellent, though.

        • “The database there is a great resource, but lord is the actual content and level of writing/discussion BAD.”

          I completely agree.

          • Hear, hear! Fragrantica is a shill site, pure and simple, but then there are a lot of those. They might as well have a banner on the homepage saying “Please send us freebies and we swear to praise your products far above their merits.” I’m glad that there are some sites where scents are actually reviewed.

    • Pardon if I jump here for a small word.
      What hajusuuri just said reminded me that Gucci has once filed a lawsuit against Polish shoe manufacturer named “Gucio” – from Gucci’s perspective “Gucio” was just too similar sounding.
      Luckily judges had some oil in their heads and Gucci lost the case

    • I cant speak to what’s going on with the decant sites, but last year I was in The Perfume House in Portland – a *fantastic* perfumerie and noticed the lack of anything Chanel. Speaking to the SA, she told me that Chanel had brought in all sorts of new rules and regulations about selling – minimum inventory orders, price points etc – and so they decided that they couldn’t afford to do business with Chanel anymore!

    • What LVHM did to the Monsieur Guerlain is appalling. Surely there MUST be more something better their legal teams to focus on than a passionate and devoted fan. I’ve been out of the loop for a bit, so I didn’t know about the Chanel thing either. I mean, come on! The people buying decants must be ridiculously small compared their overall officlal sales.

  3. It’s a real shame. Monsieur G has provided valuable information during these last years with apparently the support of Guerain, but it seems LVMH doesn’t support free speech. What was it, giving news before you, stating reformulations and discontinuations, or saying what you guys didn’t want to be known? LVMH you are pathetic. Wasser said not so long ago something that went like LVMH were only interested in a quick buck and that he was appalled at that behavior. It seems that free speech is unknown to LVMH. I hope this gets resolved soon but either way Monsieur G has a lot of support from us.

    • Thierry Wasser did, indeed, say something like that. If I recall correctly, it concerned LVMH’s caring about marketing rather than the actual perfume composition and its quality. It made me gain huge respect for him. Huge respect. And I learnt all that from a piece posted by Monsieur Guerlain….

      • That makes 2 of us 🙂
        On a side note, I’ve been a bit absent from blogs in general, but I’ve been following your posts, even though my comments are zero. Hope to be back soon with renewed energy! xx

  4. good one for getting this out there, kafka! i know monsieur guerlain and he’s pretty shaken up and his perfume friends have been wondering how to show our disgust. you’ve articulated the core issues here and given good contacts for people to speak up. it’s much appreciated! it’s bad enough that the bean counters at lvmh has dictated that the legend of guerlain quality is inexorably sliding down the crapper to airports the world over, but this is just mean corporate bullying. nice one & respect x

    • Hello, Kafka,

      I wondered what had happened to the Mr Guerlain site. I just got a different computer, and figured I had done something wrong-never occurred to me that a person’s identity could be taken from them.
      I have had the great pleasure of having some questions answered by Mr. Guerlain. He is a fountain of knowledge. His work was beautiful-far better than the Guerlain site. I have never heard him say anything offensive about Guerlain at all. His site was a labour of love. I have no words to describe how awful this is-and to have not only his blog, but his Facebook, and twitter gone-how can a company do this to an individual?
      Tim, if you are talking to your friend please pass on best wishes to him. Please tell him to look after himself. This is such a nasty shock.

      Best regards,
      Carole

  5. Thanks for posting this. Horrible. Will email to complain!
    Imagine, those evil bloggers who through passion and love of a product alone provide reviews that inspire others to buy the product…

  6. I am so thoroughly shocked and disgusting. I simply can’t believe such a heavy-handed, fascistic reaction towards someone who always appeared so gentle and refined. As you say, Monsieur Guerlain’s site was about nothing but love and admiration for the brand. He provided an incredible source of information – and free PR. For heaven’s sake, when Monsieur Guerlain announced that Sous le Vent was being discontinued, I went out and bought TWO bottles of the stuff. When he announced the end of Nahema extrait, I rushed out like a madwoman to buy a bottle. And I too bought a bottle of the new reformulated Mitsouko, after reading his posts on Thierry Wasser’s work on it. I have spent a LOT of money on Guerlain thanks to information I got from Monsieur Guerlain’s site. As you say, he even praised a lot the sub-standard modern stuff.

    Thank you so much for bringing this to our attention.

    Guerlain classics are amongst my most beloved perfumes but I will boycott the company until Monsieur Guerlain’s sites are reinstated.

  7. This is horrible ! Now I understand why there was silence the last few days from him ! I’d been following him for YEARS ! I’m a lifelong, (over 50 years), totally addicted, Guerlain fanatic, and his kindness, insight and news was invaluable to me in many ways. He saved my sorry “you-know-what” many times when frags were either discontinuing or reformulating, so I could add to my collection (hoard). I can virtually guarantee Guerlain wouldn’t do this. My buyers here and abroad think he’s great PR for the house. I had no idea, and I’m completely devastated.

  8. What?!! I’m absolutely gobsmacked! Guerlain has been my favorite house for 40 years and Monsieur G has been an invaluable resource to me for as long as his site has been active. I cant believe Guerlain would have a hand in what amounts to censorship pure and simple. As you and others have said, the PR and undoubtedly extra business generated by Mr G could only have been of benefit not detriment. And can you imagine doing that after all of the money he has poured into their coffers with his fabulous collection?? I most certainly will bombard all of the contacts you have provided to show my disgust for their decision and support for one of the nicest, most sincere and humble men in the perfume blog world. I do hope that there is some way that he can see how upset we are and so know that he is being supported. Perhaps tymanksi2013tim above can pass on our good wishes?

    • I’ve written to Monsieur Guerlain and told him. It means a LOT to him. Thank you for your support here but especially for any messages that you send to either of the two companies. I have to believe that it will make them pause in their tracks.

  9. I’m another who sought out and purchased the reformulated Mitsouko based on Monsieur Guerlain’s insight and recommendation. I wouldn’t have done so were it not for his thorough treatment of Thierry Wasser’s efforts to recreate something more true to the original.
    It’s a terrible way to treat someone who is more than just a dedicated fan and a promoter, he must also be one of their most loyal customers. This actually sends a louder message about how much Guerlain care about those who buy their perfume than it does about any issue of copyright. Just shameful.
    If anyone on the blog is in contact with Monsieur Guerlain, please send our best wishes and support. I sincerely hope he was allowed to retain a copy of his content.

  10. LVMH is surely moving HQ to Taleban territory, God forbid that knowledge should be disseminated with love and respect. Don’t these readers know that in order for something to be worthwhile that one has to pay? I think I’ll head off to my white room with a bottle of Antipodean white wine and boycott European Luxury items henceforth.

  11. This is beyond the pale. Absolutely beyond. He was the house’s most ardent champion and greatest historian. LVMH just did Guerlain and the perfume community as a whole a tremendous disservice. Can someone please inquire as to whether the site was backed up?

    • Old news……my perfumer who sold me last summer L’Hbleue-vintage told me already about the last Parisian house going stray also……….

  12. I loved his site and bookmarked it. I wholeheartedly agree with all condemnations of this action! It is so incredibly stupid. Then again, while I think Guerlain was once the greatest perfume house, as far as I’m concerned it’s complete garbage now and has been for a while. I have no interest and haven’t sampled in years. Perfume bottles for thousands of dollars with swill inside? All show, no substance. No thank you.

    As an aside, two of my favorite sampling sites got rid of all their Chanel samples. Did Chanel force them to stop? If so, that’s also incredibly dumb. There are too many great perfumes and perfume companies for me to be forced to go out of my way and deal with a SA and beg for samples. No way.

  13. So wrong! I hope the same individuals who patrol the Internet looking for copyright infringement find all of the outrage, and respond as quickly.

  14. En matière de parfums, LVMH n’est plus qu’une vulgaire usine à sucre, dont l’unique but est d’accroître les dividendes (en engageant de grosses pétasses dans des publicités idiotes) bien davantage que de faire des parfums dignes de ce nom ; guerlain n’échappe pas à ces ravages et les dernières “créations” sont toutes plus ou moins merdiques

    For perfumes, LVMH is only a vulgar sugar factory now, whose sole purpose is to increase the financial dividends (by committing great sluts in silly commercials) much more than making perfumes worthy of the name. Guerlain is no exception to these ravages and the latest “creations” are all more or less crappy

  15. Hi guys!

    I think he got DMCA take-down request because he was using Guerlain trademark as a part of the domain name. I also think that LVMH has legal team that is routinely dealing with infringements like this and nobody even paid attention what’s going on on that blog. In 99.99% cases it is another generic spam blog or counterfeit store that is damaging Guerlain brand.

    Also Ulrik Thomsen just needs to register a new domain name something like MrGTrademarkThis.com and park his content on that domain and everything will be fine again. He also must not impersonate ‘Monsignor Guerlain’ or present blog like official Guerlain blog but he can have website back online in less then 5 minutes.

    We are talking here about trademark protection and intellectual property and I do not see anything LVMH is doing wrong.

    • You’re assuming that no-one at LVMH has any idea what “Monsieur Guerlain” is or that it is something so tiny, irrelevant, and minor as to be off their radar as opposed to an incredibly large, well-known site that has a close working relationship with the perfumers at Guerlain. They chose him as one of the handful of bloggers to come in and smell their specials, so it’s hardly as if no-one knows who he is or thinks that his posts are damaging their brand.

      Your final paragraph also acts as though they were asserting justified in trademark and copyright protection in order to protect their brand — implicitly implying therefore that it was justified due to damage that he was inflicting — and I could not disagree more. It is very clear from everything written on numerous sites, perfume groups, and even in the comments here that Monsieur Guerlain actively helped their financial bottom-line, their sales, and their prestige. He cannot be compared to some Chinese counterfeiter who is damaging their brand and against whom they need to bring the full force of the law.

      And they did not need to use the equivalent of a machete to chop him down. There was no advice warning, no polite request for him to change his name and to move his information over, nothing. Even if they were justified in wanting to assert trademark protection, such warning and notice was the very least that they could do after the years of benefit, the positive PR, and the financial sales they received as a result of his posts.

      The fact that you are defending LVMH so vehemently and minimizing their actions the way that you have is … beyond interesting to me.

      • “The fact that you are defending LVMH so vehemently and minimizing their actions the way that you have is … beyond interesting to me.”

        I was thinking the same thing.

        • Com’ on guys we are dealing with DMCA take down requests every single day. We also had to be very careful every time they send us letter to react adequately and avoid trouble. This is regular situation for us and we try not to drop ball. Good communication and knowledge of basic things about trademark and copyright laws is necessary. I wrote this comment to give realistic picture of what they are dealing with and I suggested registering new domain name without any trademark names in it and bringing website online.
          Rules are clear:
          Domain names no Trademarks.
          Social Profiles no trademarks in names and titles.
          Advertising no trademarks in visuals or text.

          If you are writing about somebody acknowledge trademarks, use your own pictures or public domain pictures and those materials under fair use for illustration of your article can stay online to and after Supreme Court ruling nobody can take it down.

      • Hey guys!

        I am telling you in companies with 4000+ people things are organized like in a small city. Let’s say you have theater and everybody knows opera singers by name who goes there but some janitor could have no clue about them.

        Come’ on if you ever deal with web spam like I do every single day I see crappy websites scrapping our content, registering websites using our domain name… it is like scavenging job going trough piles of crappy websites and when you see that there is a ground to press DMCA you do it. Somebody in LMVH or in their behalf some contractor was going trough infinite lists of websites and doing their job. I do not think that somebody high or close to company leadership or ‘artistic part’ of company was close to place where that decision was done.

        I am just telling that he should register a new name and do not use Guerlain in it and he can bring back his website in 5 minutes.

        We also deal daily with their and other company lawyers and fighting to keep website online. It is not true that ‘without warning’ websites went down. Every hosting service provider has due process and when receive DMCA it forwards it to the administrative contact at file. If contact do not respond in timely manner they take action and temporary suspend account. The owner of the material against which was pressed DMCA can claim counter statement and say that he is owner of materials and trademarks and that everything is legal. His service provider has to restore access. If the other party comes with lawsuit then hosting provider has to shut down website again to the end of legal process. That is all regulated. From the other side if you know that you are guilty and you use Guerlain trademark unlawfully what can you do?

        He can register what ever domain name he has and restore website and write his opinion about Guerlain as much as he wants. Everybody is entitled for opinion and in most Western Democracies nobody can touch him for writing about somebody else.

        • “It is not true that ‘without warning’ websites went down.”

          And you know this how? According to Monsiuer Guerlain himself on Basenotes: “… a few days ago, after I simply posted a link to some other site revealing some of the Guerlain news 2016, I was shut down. Like that. No warning, no message from either Guerlain or Facebook.”

          I sincerely doubt that he is not telling the truth, but am intrigued to know upon what you base the above claim.

          • I do not know what’s the process on Google Blogger but on all platforms I have ever worked we do get DMCA notices about various things, mostly brands are not happy if we brake the news that leaked trough their people to the Internet… but first your hosting provider contacts you about DMCA request. Once you get it you have 24 to 48 hours to react. Usually if they complain about some picture or page we remove it and we say something like ‘ops we had no idea we are sorry we have deleted it’ and whole thing ends on that. They never come back and our web server stay online without interruptions. Truth to be told we never had trademark issues. My good friend had Facebook page that was something like ‘Kindle Free Books’ and in urls also was something like fb.com/kindle.free.books and he started quiet good community there finding really good free kindle reads and one day he logs in and gets notification that his page was terminated for trademark violations. Things on 3rd party platforms like Twitter, Facebook etc are more complicated because for example Amazon/LVMH is holding Facebook liable for infringement so they terminate the page because it is their property (at the end of the day) no matter who operates it. With domains it is more complicated because domain name is property of registrant and companies are just providing service of hosting. They are not liable for your violations. They might be responsible for distribution and help in distribution once they become aware of violation. That is why they terminate service after some reasonable time to protect themselves. I am really sorry for what happened and in future if Ulrik needs help with hosting I can provide it for him for free but he has to get things in order.

  16. I am very sorry that this has been done. It’s truly unconscionable.
    Thank you, dear Kafka, for finding and providing us with the information we need to voice our objections. I will follow through.

  17. Thank you Kafka, the FB frag comm is in a lather, and I’ve posted this in 20 or so forums……..

    Help bring back the Monsieur Guerlain website/blog.

    Please email:

    irousseau@guerlain.fr

    Here is my letter to the PR Dept. of Guerlain…

    To whom it may concern….

    I have depended on Monsieur Guerlain and his endless knowledge of Guerlain perfumes and history. Guerlain has always been my favorite house for so many years, sadly my respect for them and the parent company just fell to rock bottom. Especially after all the $$$$ my friends and I just dropped at the Beverly Hills Sak’s Guerlain counter last weekend…..

    Really bad move, and horrible PR. Why silence the voice of someone who has done nothing but cherish,adore, and respect the Guerlain brand.

    I own close to 65 bottles of Guerlain, but won’t be buying anymore until the company makes this right.

    I can only imagine that this was a poor decision enacted by some MBA middle management pencil pusher, who really has no love for the many thousands of Guerlain perfume lovers!

    Shameful. This is an action that is the anthesis of the Guerlain quality and standard.

    What were you thinking….?

    Kind Regards,

    Robert B. Herrmann

    “I am thankful to all the people who said ‘no’. It is because of them that I went out and did it myself”

  18. ‘You’re assuming that no-one at LVMH has any idea what ‘Monsieur Guerlain’ is or that it is something so tiny, irrelevant, and minor…’

    That is probably EXACTLY what ‘Monsieur Guerlain’ is to LVMH Accounting Corp…

  19. Pingback: LVMH Silences Monsieur Guerlain – Serenity Now

  20. I actually smashed my five full bottles of Guerlains to smithereens in our condo complex dumpster out in the back! I was so angry. Guerlain and LMVH will never get one bloody red cent of my money ever again. And Kilian too, on sheer principal alone. Guerlain has done nothing but suck (apologies) since it has been owned by LMVH and this fails on so many levels. My main concern is for the emotional health of Monsieur Guerlain, he must be so devistated. I am just beyond discusted. Thank You for this post Kafkaesque. I wish I had something positive to say but I simply do not.

  21. Everyone who is dumpstering, flushing, smashing, and boycotting should be aware that the House of Guerlain didn’t do this, it’s their “parent” company, the “overlords” as it were. It’s the same as L’Oreal, who “owns” dozens of fragrance and cosmetic houses now, and controls the “rights” to these houses, some of which are nearing two hundred years old. They have been great contributors to what we love, long before LVMH and their ilk saw fit to tear apart Monsieur Guerlain and many other sites, blogs and people like you and me. Destroying the perfumer’s work doesn’t punish the “overlords”. They already have your money. It dishonors the people who give their lives and love creating what Monsieur Guerlain gave HIS love, life and passion to share with us.

    • Which is why I’m going to boycott all current perfume from all the houses owned by LVMH (Guerlain, Dior, Acqua di Parma, Kenzo, Loewe, Givenchy). I’ll stick to vintage for now since I don’t want any of my money to go to the parent company. And I’ll not be recommending or otherwise promoting any current perfumes from these houses either. But I’ll continue to enjoy vintage formulations and what current ones I already have.

    • Thank you! I absolutely agree! LVMH are the corperate soul-suckers who shut it all down! It’s one thing to vow to not buy a Guerlain (or Chanel, Dior, etc…) product until this matter is settled. But seriously…smashing all your bottles is reactionary without any forethought, pure and simple.

      How about selling off your Guerlain collection for ridiculously cheap prices (helping to de-value the company) and then using the money to buy some really great Indie perfumer’s bottles.

      And email Guerlain, and express your disappointment! Here’s what I sent.trust me when I say they are hearing fom people worldwide……

      Please email:

      irousseau@guerlain.fr

      Here is my letter to the PR Dept. of Guerlain…

      To whom it may concern….

      I have depended on Monsieur Guerlain and his endless knowledge of Guerlain perfumes and history. Guerlain has always been my favorite house for so many years, sadly my respect for them and the parent company just fell to rock bottom. Especially after all the $$$$ my friends and I just dropped at the Beverly Hills Sak’s Guerlain counter last weekend…..

      Really bad move, and horrible PR. Why silence the voice of someone who has done nothing but cherish,adore, and respect the Guerlain brand.

      I own close to 65 bottles of Guerlain, but won’t be buying anymore until the company makes this right.

      I can only imagine that this was a poor decision enacted by some MBA middle management pencil pusher, who really has no love for the many thousands of Guerlain perfume lovers!

      Shameful. This is an action that is the anthesis of the Guerlain quality and standard.

      What were you thinking….?

      Kind Regards,

      Robert B. Herrmann

  22. I was convinced Guerlain either pays him or at least indirectly supports him. And just like you, I also felt Monsieur Guerlain was light on the company, even praising products that had been dismissed by true Guerlain connoisseurs!

    • I don’t know if one specific post was the direct catalyst for the action to happen now, which one it may have been if there was one, or if it was a general situational thing. Monsieur Guerlain doesn’t seem to know either.

      It seems nothing was communicated to him beforehand which is one of my major problems with this situation. No private warning or C&D (cease & desist) legal notice that would permit him to take remedial action and to change his name, thereby giving him the chance to also save his writings, posts, and photos and to move them to a newly named/differently named site. In America, the C&D letter is a typical part of a procedure that is intended to give the offending party an opportunity to fix things through remedial action in order to save the courts time and expense rather than going straight for the jugular with stronger, more hardcore action (taking down a whole site). I don’t know why LVMH didn’t speak privately to him first or give him some sort of warning and leeway, but the lack of courtesy under the circumstances and given all he’s done for Guerlain is appalling to me.

      • In taking down an entire site, someone has freaked out. Why? Sublime to ridiculous in 60 seconds and permanent damage too, by the look of it. Something rotten?

      • Kafka: With your multitude of ways to try to communicate to LVMH, I used the lowly “form letter” and wrote this: It is heartbreaking that the Monsieur Guerlain blog, Facebook and Twitter accounts were taken down abruptly by LVMH. The blog was a love story of all things Guerlain and you are blindly acting out the role of the monstrous corporate robots. At least, a request for him to change the name, in all civility, would have accomplished much with good feelings on all sides. When you buy items for LOVE, you don’t need them, you want them. A company can change that feeling in a moment, across many continents, for millions of perfumistas. You can still remedy this in a more humane way.

    • This business about actual components makes sense to me. Guerlain is hyper-sensitive about component issues – presumably because LVMH lawyers are excitable on it. I was told by somebody (mum’s the word) that there was some kind of component issue with L’Homme Ideal which prevented it from being exported to America in the beginning. When queried about this, the folks at Guerlain treated the whole question like some sort of spy satellite secret – they would confirm or deny nothing – just boilerplate response. Even AFTER the release in America, all I got was the Baghdad Bob treatment.

      Typical global corporatism, in my opinion. There was probably some kind of “issue” that escaped to Monsieur Guerlain from a Guerlain insider, and – O.M.G. – an LVMH lawyer found out and all hell breaks loose. Shut the boy down, and make it look like the regular copyright stuff.

      Sick of how these people work, with their real motives and their cover motives. There is a LOT of that going around.

      • Thanks for the inside info, I feel better about my theories now. Yes, make it look like regular copyright stuff but I suspect that someone inside Guerlain has already lost a job

  23. Kinda surprised about this too when I first heard about it. This is apparently big news in the perfume community.

    I don’t know, I’m kinda ambivalent about this issue. As a follower of Monsieur Guerlain, it’s certainly a big loss (not to mention big IRONY) to see it being closed by the very company he admires and writes in the first place. I don’t personally follow any perfume house in particular but when it comes to the latest news on Guerlain perfumes, it always comes from him first-hand.

    On the other hand, I think it’s understandable if it’s closed due to legal issues. I’ve always felt that it’s risky for him to use the name Guerlain for the blog especially if it’s a trademark.

    What I hope to see is one of two things: 1) LVMH helping the blogger up in some way (this way, both parties stand to benefit… especially LVMH), or 2) the blogger returns with a different name.

  24. Thank you dear Kafkaesque, for alerting the frag-obsessed community to this. Whether any given fragoholic is a Guerlain fan or not, this would be seen by most of us as simply not right. I strongly suspect that nobody with good sense within Guerlain knows that this is going on, because I have worked for a corporation in the past and know how reflexively sub-departments can act with no input from the people who actually know something.
    I have written to the address that you kindly provided. Bless you for standing for this gentle, funny blogger who did nothing wrong and is Guerlain’s biggest fan.

  25. I certainly was expecting this terrible news when I checked in tonight.

    Oddly enough, I was down to LIDGE or Habit Rouge Dress Code for my partner’s V-day gift!

    Thank you for providing the links and for the PR email too.

  26. What a shame. I’ll be curious to see how this evolves – I sort of have the feeling the outcry might be too great to ignore. But then again, LVMH has billions of dollars behind them, and presumably Monsieur Guerlain does not. It seems so asinine, though. I hope enough people speak with their pocketbooks on this matter.

  27. It is great that this post is being shared so widely. These social media stats and the public comments are what will make the brand realise they have made an embarrassing blunder that will not simply go away as everyone moves on to the next tweet in their Twitter feed. What they have done is significant and undermines the work they have invested in building and maintaining the Guerlain brand. I’ve spent in excess of a few thousand dollars over the past few years on Guerlain perfumes and I have written about them positively on my own blog. Not because of the amazing experience I had in store or because the official Guerlain website’s product description was sufficient to make me fall in love with the perfume. I bought purely because I read a passionate account from Monsieur Guerlain that made me want to buy the product and experience for myself. Brands cannot buy this kind of authentic influence and they have really f*&ked up! My 3-4 thousand dollars of sales is insignificant but given Monsieur G had over 20000 followers on FB alone, the affect adds up, not to mention the damage they have caused to the brand by looking no better than a school yard bully. I think this will hurt them and I hope it does. The sweet Guerlinade is now bitter. Even if they go into damage control and invite Mr G back, why would you bother? I wouldn’t if I was him.

  28. Shocked by this. Not by the legal side of this, which is indeed in favor of LVMH. Brand names are property and their owners do have rights. So yes, LVMH does have the right to do this. That fact is not shocking to me. But I am stunned by the sheer unkind stupidity of it. Why behave in this way towards a beautiful site, a labor of love, celebrating Guerlain’s heritage? Truly a dumb thing to do, in both strategy and marketing terms. I have written to LVMH and Guerlain via email and via their FB pages. Bonne chance, Monsieur Guerlain – nous sommes avec vous!

  29. This is the new world order run by the billionaire class and corporations, they have too much power, they can do anything they want and they don’t care about people.

    • It’s hardly as simple as that. For 10 years, they never told him to change his name or use of their trademark. Instead, they worked with him, inviting him to special events that even most of the regular press weren’t invited to, or giving him access to the inner perfume sanctum and Thierry Wasser. They didn’t demand he change his name, they used him and benefited from him. He was their ultimate Super Fan and they knew he brought them the best PR as well as increased sales. Then, without warning or private request, after 10 years, this happened.

  30. Any correspondence they sent him inviting him to promote Guerlain products over the last ten years would seem to help his cause in re-opening his blog. I really went there as a source of product knowledge. It’s very disappointing to me that they took this direction with shutting him down. I will say that I believe they make more off their Sephora stores and makeup than fragrance. I spend thousands of dollars every year buying makeup from Sephora which carries all their lines. I’m boycotting fragrance and makeup until this is resolved and his site is restored. I’m a makeup artist and perfume lover. I’m sure there are people like me out there. A makeup boycott will hurt much worse.

    • Thank you Katherine. I didn’t know Sephora was a part of this. Following your lead. I’ll be buying my next make up brush at the pharmacy instead.

  31. Thank you for a very informative post. I will be boycotting everything Guerlain and will refrain from any mention of their name until they decide to reverse this incredibly stupid and malevolent corporate action.

  32. to me the gut feeling when companies take such step is when they’re not capable or intent to uphold what’s been good and plan to make downgrading changes in future. can’t imagine what Guerlain will become….

  33. Monsieur Guerlain, espero que você também leia isto. Sou Dâmaris, escrevo do Brasil, e há anos lhe acompanhava. Sabia sobre a Guerlain através das suas postagens. Digo que você funcionava melhor que as redes sociais da marca; tinha maior credibilidade para mim. Lamento muito o que ocorreu, e não posso acreditar que nos atuais tempos uma marca com uma suposta inteligência tenha coragem para fazer o que fez. Receba o meu abraço e votos de que seu trabalho seja prontamente reconhecido e que tudo isso se reverta. Abraços.

  34. I have also showed my disgust with the total lack of respect to freedom that Guerlain and LVMH act represents. I have made a post too and decided that i won’t write anything else about them anymore. I have also send them an email and i will tell anyone that i know about this Guerlain posture. I hope they either go back and ask for apologies or suffer the consequences for the totalitarist acts.

  35. I do think it’s rather important to keep some perspective here. M.G.’s site was full of information, but it’d be impossible to know whether it was ever completely sanctioned or given the official ‘OK’ by Guerlain as a marketing tool. Also, it’s impossible to quantify if his site ‘helped sales’ or not. How do you quantify the number of people who were turned on or off by a certain review? You can’t. From a purely legal point of view, he was using a company name that was not his. I always had a bit of an issue with that. It’s a bit like hitching your wagon to a star that someone else created. Part of the reason he had so many followers was because Guerlain was so popular and beloved by so many, so it was always a two way street. But in the end, LVMH is a business, and they control the brand. M.G. was very much injecting himself (and his image) into his blog and posts (enough so that his primary image was one of him shirtless boasting a machine-tooled chest) that I could never really get if the site was an homage to Guerlain or an attempt to make himself an ‘expert’ and build something of an online credibility portfolio by writing about other people’s work AND also advertising his muscles simultaneously. I found the whole thing odd, as I’m sure some people at Guerlain did too. Anyone who is self-described as ‘obsessed’ is not objective. That’s not what you want representing you. Of course he has a right to his opinion, but to use the name, use the copyrighted images continually without a statement saying that he had been given permission to do so? No. Let’s keep that in mind. Regardless of love or hate, you wouldn’t want someone else to ignore copyright as he did if you were in charge of a brand.

    • very true logically, however, i still think it’s too strict and rigid to prohibit such circulation. point be, they’re in a beauty and creative business where there’s no absolute right or wrong in the products and in doing so it shows negatively where the part of credibility or potential come from –people’s opinion. also, if today someone bought a piece and decide to do whatever he wishes in private and for himself only, is that still called violating the copyright? not to mention other reason Kafkaesque told, this happens after an extended time with those very people knowing.
      anyways i hope M.G. still keeps his passion about perfumes.

    • You raise a number of very valid points, some of which I agree with and others which I think can be interpreted in a different light.

      With regard to the issue of helping sales, there is evidence of his direct impact in this very comment thread as well as in comments on Reddit, Facebook, Basenotes, Fragrantica, Facebook perfume groups or blog sites, and Makeupalley. In all those places, you will see people saying that they bought solely because of something Monsieur Guerlain wrote, spending hundreds of dollars/euros and occasionally in the thousands. One can’t dismiss that he had a financial benefit in that way. Did he have cause a financial detriment in preventing sales? There haven’t been comments to that effect the way there have been comments of the converse, but I’m sure it’s happened. Every blogger everywhere can write something that will turn off someone. But so can one of the typically gushing pieces that you find in magazines like Vogue, GQ, Allure, or the like. Something somewhere will turn someone off, but that’s a natural cost of business and basic reality. It’s far less common to influence people to shell out cash, and he did so by virtue of his utterly unqualified, adoring, unobjective raves. That’s essentially all he did, though I personally think a close, constant reading of Monsieur Guerlain would tell you when he was less enthused and trying to be as diplomatic as possible.

      You raise a good point that he inserted himself into some images or posts, though I never followed him closely enough to know just how frequent it was. Yet that very insertion could arguably make his posts even more protected because he wasn’t presented purely corporate-sanctioned imaged but his own twist or rendition thereon. Just like art, when you take an established image, play with it, manipulate it, and thereby turn it into something very different, it basically becomes your own creation and protected as such. That’s a gross oversimplification, but I trust you understand the gist of it. 🙂

      Where you and I see things differently is how to interpret such images. I saw them as his attempt to be fun, not too stuffy, and playful at times, usually about the younger, newer Guerlain fragrances that were designed to appeal to precisely such a group. He wasn’t alone in this approach. Guerlain itself used a more playful, youthful aesthetic for its L’Homme Ideal campaign, while someone who I think is one of the Guerlain assistant perfumers had a very masculine, bare-chested photo to accompany the new Habit Rouge Dress Code in an image on Instagram or some such site (Eau de Coq is his nom de plume). This is one of the actual Guerlain assistants to Thierry Wasser, I believe, presenting a more personal twist on Habit Rouge Dress Code’s theme or campaign.

      On other occasions, however, Monsieur Guerlain demonstrated all the awe and reverence for the classics that they deserved. But whether he was playful or reverential, his approach was always that Guerlain was THE.BEST.THING.EVAH and numerous people have stated (here and elsewhere) how infectious they found his enthusiasm. Is it really any different from a celebrity fan site? Those things have huge PR benefits and few to no drawbacks (except for occasional stalkers, lol). Is the Monsieur Guerlain site not comparable? You don’t see celebrities trying to shut down their fan clubs because the obsessive admirers are *precisely* the people you want in charge of your PR. (That goes partially to your point about not wanting obsessives to represent you.) But even if the celebrities did object, hypothetically speaking to an obsessive fan site that worshiped them and wanted to shut it down, surely they would do so with more grace, class, and courtesy than the jackhammer used here?

      That jackhammer is one of my biggest issues. It was a disproportionate response that was not warranted under the circumstances, especially as there appears to have been NO private, personal request for a change of name. He would have done it if they had asked. Instead, for 10 years or so, Guerlain not only reaped the benefits but often drew him into their inner fold through things like access to special events or Thierry Wasser. Ten years, no shut down of the site. They clearly didn’t see him as a legal threat but a benefit, and one can argue that they waived any right to suddenly have a hissy fit through implied-in-fact consent. But, again, even without any of that, surely there had to be a better approach to this situation via a private compromise, one that he was perfectly willing to do if they had ever asked.

      You’re absolutely right in saying that he wasn’t objective, and that is a point that I’m likely to discuss in an update post that I’m likely to do on events. He was as impartial and as objective about Guerlain as I am about German Shepherds/GSDs. 😉 LOL. We’re the ultimate Super Fan for our respective areas, and as obsessed as any two people could be. Yet, I would argue that both of us do see the occasional flaws in our loves, despite the near-constant rose-coloured glasses. We may not see most of them, we may not admit them publicly very often, but we do see them and, yes, occasionally we will state so publicly.

      IMO, Monsieur Guerlain did occasionally state the flaws in his idol, even if he was tactful or diplomatic about it. I can recall one instance where I was taken aback to read a post where he stated how much he disliked last year’s Santal Royal and he stated flat-out that it had “woody-amber aromachemicals” in its base. I was floored. The ultimate Super Fan was saying that about Santal Royal? For someone like me — who LOATHED and despised Santal Royal, and who has massive issues with large, noticeable amounts of aromachemicals — this was quite a stunning admission on his part. And he wasn’t all that oblique or tactful about his dislike, either. He also was rather direct about dismissing Chypre Fatal in a FB comment, a comment posted in linking to my completely scathing review for that shoddy fragrance. Yes, these sorts of more candid statements were few and far between but they did exist. More frequent was the diplomatic silence or instances of how one had to read between the lines, but my point is that he did see flaws in his idol from time to time.

      In a way, I find some of the arguments in this debate (not from you necessarily but in general) to be a “damned if you do, damned if you don’t” situation. Take the situation with the photos. He used them from all over, including many from Instagram people who had a right to share images of their own bottles. He also shared the official ones because why tamper with something as beautiful as some of those multi-thousand dollar/euro specials? It was hardly presenting Guerlain’s product in a bad light. And, as he has told me himself, Guerlain never asked him to remove the photos.

      Can a Super Fan actually walk a tightrope in sometimes making things sometimes personal, sometimes official, often positive, occasionally negative? Realistically not. But, at the end of the day, I think there was never any question that he was an utterly impartial, adoring Super Fan even if the URL or site name included the word “Guerlain.” IMO, the tag or subtitle right at the top on his sites made it abundantly clear that it was all a personal thing. I believe the specific words on the Facebook page were: “One man’s admiration for all things Guerlain. Calling all honey bees and Guerlainophobes.” One look at that made his unaffiliated status pretty clear to me, and others have pointed to the same words as well in their cases.

      Be that as it may, I think the real issue is that his unquestionable impartiality is precisely why Guerlain’s brand was not in jeopardy, why he was such a PR benefit to Guerlain, why they invited him in with insider access, and why they didn’t object to his site for a full ten years. Had he trashed the company or diluted its brand, they would have acted far before now. They didn’t. And they didn’t because he wasn’t a threat to the Guerlain name, image, or sales. Yes, Monsieur Guerlain ignored their copyright (foolishly) but THEY also ignored that in turn! No business would stand aside for so long if there were actual damage, economic loss, or brand dilution. So why did they? Why did they ignore, never once demanding a name change or removal of the photos? IMO, it’s because they clearly didn’t find him comparable to a counterfeiter, a troll site, or something else. He was a sort of historian, reference site, informational resource tool, and unpaid PR weapon all in one. So, to me, all the arguments about the company acting to protect the brand don’t measure up when the full history is taken into consideration.

      I have spent so long in explaining my perspective in part because I enjoy an analytical debate or exchange of ideas when someone writes in such a civil, thoughtful manner, so I hope you will interpret my very voluminous reply in that light. I also hope that you will accept my apologies if I bored you silly or went on for too long. I tend to ramble when I’m exhausted. But I enjoyed the discussion and reading the points you raised, particularly as I had already planned to address several of them in any update post that I might do. (Depends on whether I actually get some sleep at some point. If not, I may just clean up this very long reply and just post that. LOL. 😉 )

      Either way, thank you. I enjoyed it. I hope you’ll stop by again if you should ever have the time.

      • This was a kaleidoscopic response, thank you! But seriously, I do appreciate the different layers of your thinking here, and the length was extremely thorough. The relationship between creators – houses – audiences in the perfume world has become more complex, even more intimate (I think), so the territory has some gentle land mines that usually have to be navigated carefully.

        I was thinking about this idea of a fan page – even an obsessed fan page, and your words here, “On other occasions, however, Monsieur Guerlain demonstrated all the awe and reverence for the classics that they deserved.” This made me reassess my thinking a bit. When seen through the lens of a die hard fan, M.G.’s site should probably been seen more for its love of the products first, and perhaps secondly for its objective view.

        Also on the topic of objectivity – I may have assumed that M.G.’s site lacked some objectivity, but then I said “Well, did he promise objectivity?” and actually he didn’t. He’s said that he adores the brand, so it’s not really fair to ask for that when he’s already taken that off the table. I’m not saying he can’t be objective (I’m sure he’s capable of that) but he seems to embrace his own love of the brand fully, and that’s cool. It’s his approach, and I applaud any approach that creates new and interesting content online.

        You mentioned that M.G. had used the images from Guerlain creatively, and thereby through altering them, changed them sufficiently to sidestep copyright issues. This could be the case in some (or even most) of the cases. I’ll confess I’m not sufficiently aware of the intricacies of copyright to know about that. I know in cases of parody / critique, people are covered (generally). But I do think he pushed the envelope a bit. It may be hard to now exactly what was said to him by LVMH (did they mention a specific case of copyright infringement? Did they cite the whole site?) Without that information, it’s difficult to know what was done in response to what. What does concern me is that the reaction has been fast and damning before all the facts have come out. For example, calling for boycotts of LVMH products? I’ve heard that from a few different blog comments and think “Whoa – hang on folks. This is a knee-jerk reaction. Have you even gotten all the facts here yet?”

        This also gives me an opportunity to mention that we may have certain expectations of brands. And that is where there is tricky psychology going on. Brands begin to feel like friends. We want them to love us and we love them back. We hate to be betrayed by them, or left behind by them. Sometimes we have to just dump them, and that hurts. Or, most often, we have very tumultuous relationships with them. Sadly, we have to realize that brands really don’t care about us – they are marketing efforts. Hopefully there are some warm humans behind that brand, but the brand is just some lipstick. Lipstick can be very seductive, of course – many of us love to be seduced by the lipstick. This latest issue made me realize what a bind M.G. must be in – is he at war with his beloved brand now? Would he support a boycott of the brand that he has supported so much (which is really odd, if you think about it, because he’s been promoting love for the brand despite its flaws for such a long time.) I guess what I’m long-windedly saying is that it can be dangerous to expect so much fidelity from a brand. I always expect them to be unfaithful lovers, so I’m a bit surprised that people are reacting so strongly as if they’ve been wronged by a powerful company. This is what powerful companies do. That’s why they’re powerful. It’s the unfortunate reality of our current capitalist system. Are we asking them to give up some of their power? I suppose they could throw the perfume community a bone and say “Ok, we’ll rescind our Cease and Desist letter,” but they’re exercising their power in other unseen ways all over the place. I’m definitely not a defeatist and think that we should just let companies get away with all kinds of things, but if they do have a legit case of infringement (such as could be the case here) this seems to be the wrong example with which to make protest, do you know what I mean?

        But in light of all this, I do agree that there is cause for some concern here in that writers do need to feel free to write about what they want to write, and more importantly, the guidelines about how we do that have to be very clear. Issues like this only muddy those waters. What is parody? What is critique? What is outright theft? These are blurry lines, but they don’t have to be. M.G. was writing about something he loved, and in the broadest sense of things, that’s great, and there is no harm done in his efforts.

        Having discussions such as these help to raise the issues and promote clarity. I appreciate the opportunity here to engage in that discussion, thank you.

        • First, thank you for not throttling me for my verbosity. I am never succinct, have an OCD obession with details, and I tend to think in pro/cons ways about nuances to the point that it drives some people to madness. LOL. In your case, I rather wish we could sit down over a scotch and discuss this in person because, as you say, there are layers. More than that, though, I understand so much of what you meant and agree with you. Not all, but more than you might imagine.

          Take, for example, the damning reaction you cited. I talked about that a little in today’s update post because I’ve seen it go beyond mere issues of a boycott;some people are saying they smashed some of their bottles. I think that is cutting off one’s nose to spite oneself. AND it’s not going to do anything to LVMH whatsoever. I can understand the boycott to some extent but it’s someone else’s business or decision. It’s not mine. Mine is simply to be the grumpy LVMH/Guerlain critic that I have always been. Or, put another way, it’s not to buckle under to pressures to shut up, not to be silenced.

          I thought you raised an utterly brilliant point about the whole relationship psychology involving our favourite brands. I honestly had never quite thought of it quite in the way of wanting them to love us but I suppose we do in way, don’t we? I know you’re right about the betrayal issue. I’ve felt betrayed (and I’m still seething) over what L’Oreal has done to YSL Parfums. It’s a topic that makes me fly off the handle and see pure red. That’s rather similar to the Guerlain issue in the sense that the founder, his intentions, his aesthetic, and his creations have been wiped out by a monolithic multinational. And for me, personally, my feelings stem as much from a sense of betrayal about Yves Saint Laurent the man as it does the disemboweling of some of the fragrances I loved. But love, hate, betrayal… what does the company care? As you so accurately noted, not one iota. That said, I will still never give up my loathing of L’Oreal. Not ever. No, no, no. 😉 heh And, yes, I have boycotted their revolting, atrocious, utterly heinous excuses for a “fragrance” as well. They can go suck it! See, I’m Exhibit A for your case regarding the Irrational Consumer. 😛

          In response to the rest of your points, I honestly don’t know what the answer is — or even if there is an answer at all. There are so many areas in which you astutely noted that the line is not just blurry, but difficult to draw in the first place. I’m neither wise enough nor philosopher enough to pretend I know anything on what should be done. At the end of the day, I think all one can do is to be as truthful and honest to oneself as possible while considering others. It’s a cliché, yes, but it’s all I know both as a person and as a blogger.

          In the case of Monsieur Guerlain, I think there is evidence (see the latest update) that LVMH gave implied-in-fact consent by looking away for 10 years and waiving aside all action they could have brought in that time simply because he was being true to himself and his passion, and made every consideration, conciliation, compromise, and change to ensure their brand was never damaged. What more could a company ask from an admirer? At the end of the day, companies NEED us to love them, too, you know, otherwise they would be out of business.

          I’ve suddenly lost my train of thought about how that related to another one of your points but it’s probably just as well. I’ve written another treatise, and I don’t know you well enough to take such flagrant liberties with your patience and time. LOL. Plus, I still haven’t slept since yesterday or Sunday, so I know I’m rambling again. Thank you for an even better discussion than the first time around. I thoroughly enjoyed every bit of it.

          • The text of an email that I sent to Guerlain: “It is my understanding that Guerlain took action to shut down, without notice or warning, the blog known as “Monsieur Guerlain.” My wife and I have collected new and vintage Guerlain fragrances for 15 years (at a cost of many thousands of dollars). The MG blog was an exceptionally well done, respectful, loving – and never critical – historic description of Guerlain’s fragrances. I am a U.S. lawyer and I gather the action was taken on the basis of protection of Guerlain’s trademarks and copyrights. At least under U.S. law, a person may make fair use of another’s trademarks and copyrights, even without permission, if such use is for non-commercial purposes. The MG was created by the blogger out of love and respect for Guerlain and there were no commercial elements to the blog. What is ironic is this bone-headed move by Guerlain’s or LVMH’s pencil-headed lawyers will end up hurting the brand more than the individual blogger. A lot of people, myself included, regularly consulted the Monsieur Guerlain blog when considering a purchase of a Guerlain fragrance. In many cases, the descriptions in this blog drew my attention to other Guerlain fragrances that I then purchased. What a ridiculous, self-defeating course of action on your or LVMH’s part.

            Sincerely,

            Alex Woollcott”

          • Loved your email. Thank you for sharing it. I think my favourite part was how “bone headed”+ “pencil-headed” so obviously = “you’re morons.” Ah lawyers, our attempts at politeness in the face of blistering idiocy are always such spotty, feeble, thinly veined things. Lol 😉

  36. Pingback: Update: LVMH & Monsieur Guerlain - Kafkaesque

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