She describes herself as a “beauty adventurer.” We spend 24 hours in Tokyo with Victoire de Taillac, co-founder of retro Parisian beauty house Officine Universelle Buly 1803.
What do you put on your face in the morning? A supermarket-bought cream, an overpriced anti-aging serum, or a quaint little ancient formula in a cute packaging? If you’ve chosen the third option, cosmetics brand Officine Universelle Buly 1803 is for you: the beauty house, opened in Paris in 1803 by perfumer and pharmacist Jean-Vincent Bully, has come back to life in the hands of lifestyle and beauty superstar couple, Victoire de Taillac et Ramdane Touhami. Obsessed with beauty for over twenty years, after a stint at the Communications team of French concept-store Colette, Victoire is fully immersed in Buly, constantly on the lookout for ideas for new products, centred around natural ingredients and traditional beauty rituals. We love the quaint aesthetic of the packaging, featuring calligraphy and retro illustrations, as well as the avant garde beauty techniques: the brand has created a water-based fragrance, L’Eau Triple. Rituals, discoveries and passion – we follow Victoire for a day in Tokyo, where the family is now based.
6am: Victoire wakes up at home, in Tokyo. The family all have breakfast together, then around 7.00 the two eldest children, Scherazade and Adam, leave to go to school. Victoire is left to do the school run with her youngest, Noor, who she takes on the Japanse subway. Once she has been dropped off, Victoire has a bit of time to herself. “A couple of time per week I go for walks in the park, my favourite form of meditation.”
10am: Victoire arrives at the Buly boutique in the Daikanyama area. With her husband Ramdane Touhami, Victoire is part of the most active duo in beauty and lifestyle: after the revival of Cire Trudon in 2006, the couple decides to bring ancient cosmetics brand Buly 1803 back to life in 2014. “We came across Buly completely by chance,” remembers Victoire. “We wanted to find a brand from the 19th century, and we fell in love with the story of the founder of this beauty house opened in 1803, perfumer Jean-Vincent Bully.” The pharmacist is said to have inspired Honoré de Balzac’s character César Birotteau. Victoire’s day often starts by meetings with journalists, to make the most of the morning calm. She talks to them about the brand’s new releases, as well as best-sellers like the hand and feet cream Pommade Concrète and its quaint tube. “I have had a strong relationship with beauty for the past twenty years now,” explains Victoire. “I believe that taking care of yourself is a way to feel good. With Ramdane, we like stories, historical contexts and beauty rituals, which are both universal and very personal.”
2pm: The rest of the day is spent interacting with clients of the Tokyo boutique, one of three around the world with the original store on the Rue Bonaparte in Paris and a shop in Séoul. Buly products are also sold at London’s Dover Street Market, where they are presented on a beautiful pink ceramic stand, and at Bergdorf Goodman’s in New York. Since arriving in Tokyo and getting to know the Japanese clientele, Victoire has realised there is a real interest in Buly products: “The people I meet are very curious about the water-based perfume, our selection of plant-based oils and clays,” she notes. Their talks lead to important discoveries: “Clients have told me about traditional products I didn’t know about, such as tiny little silk pods you wash your face with. It’s lovely for us to have such a warm reception.”
4pm: Time for a break! Victoire often stops at the Verde café, five minutes away from the shop. “It’s a traditional Japanese café with a delicious chiffon cake, a very light delicacy.” Sometimes she’ll book an appointment at Superstar, the hairdresser who takes care of her both in Paris and Tokyo. Shopping-wise, she recommends Yaeca for fashion and lifestyle, as well as the Arts and Science shop: “An unmissable spot for its clothes, its selection of accessories, its delicious coffee. Its location is quite practical – the shop is right across the Nezu Museum.”
6pm: Home time, to spend time with the children and have dinner all together. Once everyone is in bed, Victoire exchanges a couple of emails with Paris, and makes the most of the peace and quiet to prepare her next trip. The beauty junkie is constantly on the lookout for new products and beauty rituals, which drive her even when planning her holidays: “I’ve just come back from Bangkok, where we looked at absolutely everything. I found jasmin oil, massage pads and accessories, Srichand powder… My discoveries help me develop the Buly brand, for which I concentrate on care rituals, natural products and beauty accessories. We always keep our eyes open to discover new things.”