It’s extraordinary to think, but the orchid, of which there are over 30,000 species, can, and in its natural environment does, live for up to a hundred years. High in the Yunnan mountains, where the climate is cool and humid, grow three astounding varieties of orchids: the New Gold Orchid, the Vanda Coerulea and the Vanda Teres. Several years ago Guerlain entered into an environmental partnership with local authorities committing to a programme of reforestation of a part of the region. This has enabled the cosmetic company to be able not only to protect, but also to study these marvellous exotic flowers in an attempt to unlock the secret of their longevity and distil it into a potion of youth. And while no such elixir has yet been discovered, the plant, from root to flower, has wonderful properties, some of which were discovered as far back as 2800 B.C. in China, when the first known mention of it and its medicinal properties were recorded.
Over the centuries it has been brewed as tea, turned into balms and ointments, and cooked to sooth diverse ailments such as the common cold, stomach-aches, blood pressure, and even diabetes to name just a few. Guerlain’s biologists and researchers have discovered molecules and cells that fight free radicals and the causes of early aging, firming the skin… Something all of us could do with a little of, given our hectic, fast-paced, cosmopolitan lifestyles.
Not only is Guerlain committed to re-forestation and every year plants 900 trees, 3,000 young orchid plants and 1,200 adult specimens at the foothills of the Himalayas, the cosmetics company also boasts a commendable balance between nature and science and has dedicated an impressive greenhouse filled with three thousand species of orchids – the Guerlain Orchidareum (located in the environs of pristine Geneva) that is the largest research centre dedicated to a single ingredient: the orchid. In Strasbourg, France, a team of scientists apply their understanding of the botanists’ and biologists’ discoveries to produce an exceptional line of facial products that together form the Orchidée Impériale Ritual: the Orchidée Imperial cream that fights the signs of aging daily, reducing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles; the Longevity Concentrate that is a more intense formula that restores the appearance of the skin’s density and firmness, and the Eye and Lip cream, a targeted formula that focuses on restoring plumpness and vitality to these delicate areas. The line is complemented by a foundation for a flawless and radiant finish that gives your skin a more youthful and healthy appearance with a beautiful evenness of tone.
In the roots and petals of this extraordinary flower is a window into beauty that flourishes for a hundred years and that holds within it, perhaps, that elusive fountain of youth.