Orchidée Impériale Black Cream Guerlain Paris

The genius of science. The miracle of nature. The skill of hand-craftsmanship. Discover the creation inspired by a traditional Japanese art form and dedicated to an exceptional skin cream and flower - the Black Orchid.
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Images: Courtesy of GUERLAIN

In 2016, Orchidée Impériale Black Cream introduced a new chapter in Guerlain’s history in the art of skincare. A first opus within a full skincare range, it took a previously unexplored direction in anti-aging by harnessing the extraordinary power of black orchid extract on the “cellular immunity” of the skin, reinforcing its self-defense capacities.
In 2020, Guerlain is presenting a limited-edition Kintsugi Orchidée Impériale Black Cream.


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Images: Courtesy of GUERLAIN


With a botanical name, Cycnoches cooperi, inspired by its ebony color and long swan-like neck, the Black Orchid is an orchid like no other.

Native to the Peruvian Andes, its natural habitat rarely sees sunlight. To survive within such extreme circumstances without direct light, the Black Orchid has developed some out-of-the-ordinary characteristics. For example, unlike other plants whose lowering periods last between two and three months, the Black Orchid only flowers for three weeks a year to preserve its metabolism. More remarkable still, plants hold both male and female flowers so they can constantly adapt their reproduction according to outside conditions.

For Guerlain Scientific Research, these uniquely rare characteristics have made the Black Orchid a precious raw material, allowing it to become the very essence of the BlackImmune™ Technology at the heart of the Orchidée Impériale Black line.

The Black Orchid was cultivated in France.

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Images: Courtesy of GUERLAIN


At the heart of this technology which acts upon 95% of the cells implicated in the skin’s self-defense mechanisms, is the Cycnoches cooperi, chosen among 30.000 orchid species. Guerlain Scientific Research has paired it with a combination of ingredients specially selected for their full protective response and ability to enable cells to fulfill their defensive role. As a technology, it works on two levels: firstly on a defense-system level through the protection of Langherans cells, then on an innate-defense level by regulating TLR* proteins, the sentinel proteins found in the skin which continually monitor the environment. It’s on this second level that Black Orchid extract intervenes, as pinpointed by Guerlain Orchidarium® for its proven effect upon TLR**.
*Toll-like receptor
** In Vitro testing on ingredients

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Images: Courtesy of GUERLAIN


To celebrate this anti-aging talisman, Guerlain has called upon the Bernardaud House to create an exceptional limited-edition Orchidée Impériale Black Cream jar.
Entirely handmade, this unique refillable porcelain gem represents the ultimate expression of Guerlain’s sustainable luxury philosophy.

Since 1863, prestigious porcelain manufacturer Bernardaud has embodied French excellence and has shared numerous values with the Guerlain House. Notably, a rich savoir-faire melding creativity and daring that has been passed down from through generations.

For this special edition, the Bernardaud House has taken inspiration from Kintsugi, the traditional Japanese art of embellishment that uses fine gold to fill and enhance joints and cracks in porcelain. Once enhanced, each creation becomes all the more beautiful and takes on a new lease of life.


The Bernardaud House artisans have adapted the Japanese art of Kintsugi to French porcelain expertise.

Each Kintsugi Orchidée Impériale Black edition jar is made entirely by hand and embellished with 24-carat gold. In France just like in Japan, precision and excellence in the execution of the gestures are unalterable. From modeling to firing, enameling to decorating, each stage of production depends upon the perfect techniques used by each artisan, as each move is determined by and influences those that go before and after it.

Each jar has required a month of work by 50 artisans. Entirely covered in gleaming deep black lacquer and embellished with gold leaf, the jars echo two key elements in the Orchidée Impériale Black cream.

A soft balm-like texture that offers an exclusive sensorial experience. After a month of use the skin’s defensive barrier becomes stronger. The skin feels more resilient and is visibly more beautiful and resistant. Skin appears smoother, denser to the touch, brighter and incredibly radiant. As if protected from the inside, skin can concentrate all its resources on revitalization.

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Images: Courtesy of GUERLAIN

Orchidée Impériale Black KINTSUGI limited-edition series of 2731 pieces is available as from November 2020 at GUERLAIN boutiques.


* This article by Tanja Beljanski first appeared in the December 2020 issue of L'Officiel Arabia.

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