Pierre Wertheimer

One of the founders of Chanel

January 8, 1888
April 24, 1965
Birth Place
Current Place


Pierre Wertheimer's father, Ernest, had emigrated from Alsace to Paris in 1870. In Paris the elder Wertheimer purchased an interest in the theatrical make-up company Bourjois. Bourjois, an innovator in these products for the stage, developed the first dry rouge, an improvement over the grease laden face paint customarily used. By 1920, Bourjois had become the largest and most successful cosmetic and fragrance company in France. Not restricted to the European continent, Bourjois was an international enterprise with corporate holdings in America. Their facility in Rochester, New York manufactured and distributed the Helena Rubinstein line of face creams. Maintaining Bourjois as a family business, Pierre Wertheimer and his brother Paul took over the directorship of the company in 1917. In 1924, Coco Chanel made an agreement with the Wertheimers creating a corporate entity, "Parfums Chanel." Chanel believed that the time was opportune to extend the sale of her fragrance Chanel No. 5. to a wider customer base. Since its introduction it had been available only as an exclusive offering to an elite clientele in her boutique. Cognizant of the Wertheimer’s proven expertise in commerce, their familiarity with the American marketplace, and resources of capital, Chanel felt a business alliance with them would be fortuitous.

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