Bicentennial of Napoleon’s death: the emperor’s legacy in luxury

The 5th of May 2021 marks the bicentenary of the death of Napoleon Bonaparte. As much adored as hated, this famous conqueror has influenced the history of France as few have done. This is an opportunity to look back at his life and the Napoleonic legacy left to the country and more particularly to the luxury industry.


Napoleon Bonaparte, born on 15 August 1769 in Ajaccio and died in exile on the island of Saint Helena on 5 May 1821, remains known as the first Emperor of the French, for a first period from 18 May 1804 to 6 April 1814 and from 20 March to 22 June 1815.


He continues to usher in a new era, particularly in the luxury and fashion sectors. Napoleon I came to power in 1796 after the French Revolution, which also marked the abolition of the absolute monarchy. The French Revolution was a setback for the luxury goods industry, but it quickly took off again.


Once he came to power, he wanted to restore the pre-revolutionary state of France. With the help of his first wife Joséphine de Beauharnais, France had to regain its title as the number one luxury country.


At the beginning of the 19th century, the people witnessed the appearance of the first magazines, improving the fashion journals that had been established in 1785, such as “Le Cabinet des Modes” or “Le Journal des Demoiselles”, which featured outfits linked to the court.


We also saw the arrival of the first official dressmaker, linked to a Royal House, Rose Bertin. This fashion merchant changed her life radically when Queen Marie-Antoinette made her her “Minister of Fashion”. Rose Bertin was to considerably influence and found the origins of “haute-couture”.


© Châteaux de Versailles


In 1802, Dalloyau, a renowned French company in the field of gastronomy and pastry-making, was founded. In 1830, the famous Christofle crystal company was created. A few years later, the prestigious orange-packaged Hermès opened its doors in 1837. The creation of these houses gave France, and especially Paris, an unrivalled reputation in terms of know-how and luxury, and this continues to this day.




Featured photo: © Press

Grâce à une veille accrue et à une excellente connaissance de ces secteurs, la rédaction de Luxus Magazin décrypte pour ses lecteurs les principaux enjeux économiques et technologiques de la mode, l’horlogerie, la joaillerie, la gastronomie, les parfums et cosmétiques, l’hôtellerie, et l’immobilier de prestige.


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