Après plus de deux siècles d’oubli, « My Dorine » ressuscitée par Bashar Nasri

After more than two centuries of oblivion, “My Dorine” resurrected by Bashar Nasri

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One of the oldest perfume and cosmetics houses in the world is now owned by Franco-Syrian Bashar Nasri. This engineer graduated from the University of Damascus landed in France in the early sixties and enrolled in the faculty of geophysics in Paris. Passionate about music and playing the guitar, the young student will perform on Saturdays in bars to earn his pocket money. Moreover, having learned the art of roasting chawarma from Abou Kamal and Ghazal in Damascus, he sells his kebab sandwiches at the café in the university city. In summer, aboard his small van, he criss-crosses the west and south-east coasts of France offering his dish. “I was the one who introduced the chawarma to France,” says Bashar Nasri in his interviews with Joussour YouYube, Fame Radio TV and the Italian channel TeleSud on the program Fragments d’histoire. His doctorate in hand, he chose to return to his native country and work at the Ministry of Petroleum. He is received by the person in charge at the time, who says to him: “That’s good, my little guy, but the only problem is that your methods are too innovative and cannot be applied here. »

An Air de Paris Arc de Triomphe at the Dorin Museum. Photos taken from the museum’s official website

Various occasions under different caps

Back in France where he settled permanently, he was hired by a French petrochemical company. He worked there for a few years before creating his own company and taking on several roles: technical adviser to the Arab oil ministries; journalist for a periodical magazine specializing in the field of oil and decorator. Four projects will be carried out for the Emir Khalifa ben Hamad of Qatar, grandfather of the current Emir. An adventure that he will continue, thanks to his friends the Kokache, with the Saudi Oger group for the interior design of several residences in Riyadh and Jeddah, including that of Princess al-Jawhara bint Mohammad ben Abdelaziz and Prince Faisal ibn Fahd . Tireless, he then invested in cinema by co-producing The Blood of Others by Claude Chabrol and Louisiane by Philippe de Broca. In the 90s, he launched into the creation of Kesling perfumes, sold exclusively online. He chooses unique notes such as the Damascus rose, considered “the oldest rose in the world”, he emphasizes, or “the incomparable Damascus jasmine, whose petals close at night and open the day “. A “nose” is responsible for the composition. The bottles are then manufactured at the Dorin factory, which since 1980 has been exclusively dedicated to custom production for other houses. Eight years later, its owner, who was retiring, sold the Dorin brand to Mr. Nasri. With, as a bonus, a range of objects and the archives that had been sleeping for two and a half centuries in boxes. These documents are “a real treasure for all those interested in technology and old products”, writes Jean Claude Le Joliff, former director of research at Chanel, and recurring contributor to L’Observatoire des cosmetiques.

Silk stockings at the Dorin Museum. Photos taken from the museum’s official website

The “Give me a Dorine” saga

The archives reveal the forgotten history of the brand, which was originally called “Red and White Makeup”. It was founded by “the” Marguerite Montansier (1730-1820), director of shows at the court of Louis XVI, where she introduced her powders, her whitening make-up and her fly boxes, which she affixed to the faces of coquettes. . The quality of its products made it the “supplier” of the court of Versailles from 1780. In 1819, Jean-Marie Dorin, associated with Montansier, acquired the house, gave it his name and developed it. In the 1920s and 1930s, the factory based in Colombes had more than 85 employees. La Dorine perfumes, brunette lipstick, ÉclatLys cream and powders are exported to some twenty countries. Jean Claude Le Joliff points out that “lipstick was the brand’s emblematic product. In the United States, it has passed into common parlance. Thus, Give me a Dorine meant Give me a lipstick. In 1927, Rouge Baiser was the first lipstick that resisted everything, even kisses… Audrey Hepburn made it her favorite product”.

Un Air de Paris Eau de toilette at the Dorin Museum. Photo taken from the official museum website

The avant-garde Shaker

Powders, Dorin’s other specialty, came in all shapes and shades, “loose or compact for the body, face, legs”. The latter called Stockings of silk, and accompanied by the black pencil to draw the seam along the leg, claims to be “resistant to sweat, friction of the dress and water”. There was also an exclusive: the Shaker box containing four shades of powders. It was possible to mix the different colors as desired. “It was already color customization according to your skin tone! Which shows the avant-gardism of the brand,” adds the former director of research at Chanel. Dorin products have won numerous awards at universal exhibitions: gold medal in Paris in 1900, Grand Prix in St Louis in the United States in 1904, in Liège in 1905 and in Brussels in 1922. But economically suffering from the effects of the Second World War, the house will never regain its pre-war level. It stops its activity in the 1980s, and will work on behalf of other perfume and cosmetics houses. It will be bought in 1998 by Bashar Nasri’s SARL France Excellence.

The Eiffel Tower in a limited edition perfume bottle as a tribute to Paris. Photo taken from the official museum website

The museum

Maison Dorin now has its museum in Chatou, in the Yvelines department in the Île-de-France region. It is a private museum housed in a house dating from the 1860s. More than 700 pieces retracing the saga of the house are gathered there: perfume bottles, make-up boxes for the whole body, for queens and kings, for women and men, theater actors and residents of Paris and western cities. Lipsticks “initially designed in the form of paste poured into porcelain cases, before being transformed into sticks the size of a lighter, dressed in slightly flexible metal cylinders (iron or tin), or even metallic paper semi-rigid,” points out Nasri. Also on display is the 1914 catalogue, “a real treasure. It was already translated into several languages ​​at the time (English, Spanish, German, etc.). The drawings are remarkable, hand-painted in real size. They express in an extraordinary way the values ​​of the brand, its requirement, the excellence of the execution and its pioneering side”. To visit the museum, you must make an appointment with the company France Excellence Dorin Paris.

One of the oldest perfume and cosmetics houses in the world is now owned by Franco-Syrian Bashar Nasri. This engineer graduated from the University of Damascus landed in France in the early sixties and enrolled in the faculty of geophysics in Paris. Passionate about music and playing the guitar, the young student will perform on Saturdays in bars…


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