From Tailors To Perfumers: A glimpse into the history of The House of Creed

Creed History

The House of Creed has a notable history that extends to over 250 years. With seven generations that have shaped the fragrance house, the history of the brand is a matter of public record.

Keen to explore what that looked like, the House of Creed looked to a professional archivist to investigate the archives of the Creed family. These revealed that The Creed family did not initially start in the fragrance business, but rather, had an entrepreneurial history from leather tailors to couturiers prior to becoming perfumers.

Discover the rich history that the brand has to offer by visiting one of their boutiques and collect a copy of the Creed Magazine. Inside you will discover the fascinating story of the founder of the House of Creed, a talented and ambitious James Creed, who left his hometown of Leicester in 1710 as a penniless young man, but who came to London to realise his dreams. His son, Henry expanded the tailoring business to Paris, hence the founding British and French heritage associated with the House of Creed. Indeed, Henry Creed tailors was the first London tailor to open in Paris; in recognition of this historical hallmark one of Creed’s Christmas trunks is named after their first Parisian atelier.

Creed History

With numerous references to royalty within their history, it was important to find direct links to the royal connections. In 1860, an article from the Army and Navy Gazette noted that the Henry Creed of Creed and Cumberland was awarded by special appointment to Queen Victoria and Principal Courts in Europe. However, this was not the first time Henry had been acquainted with Royalty. He began working in D’Antin Paris for Messrs Harris & Co tailors, where he would have created exquisite garments for European Royalty. Henry was later granted a Royal Warrant (1885), signed by Mistress of the Robes, Annie Roxburgh and is still proudly displayed in the Serbie Store, Paris. Additionally, it was discovered that Henry created a riding habit for Queen Victoria in 1885 which can be found in the Kyoto Museum, Japan. This riding habit was the inspiration behind the Aventus for Her campaign.

In 1902 a visiting card provided two separate addresses for Henry Creed both in France; Paris and Nice. The latter is situated just 25km from Grasse, which was considered the centre of the French fragrance industry at the time. It would have been common practice for tailors to scent hemlines and leather gloves with fragrance.

After Henry passed away, his sons Henry and James (Olivier’s father) took over the business. Couture and tailoring would still be prominent with one of Henry’s sons, Charles, working as an apprentice at Linton Tweeds. This relationship continues to this day and is reflected in the campaign for  Green Irish Tweed, honouring their heritage and paying homage to Charles’ time working at Linton Tweeds.

Charles also became a founding member of the British Fashion Institute; he can be seen photographed alongside other founding members in the V&A book The Golden Age of Couture. He finally joined the family business in 1935 after working as a floor walker at Bergdorf Goodman. While Charles was running the business in Paris, his brother embarked upon a journey across the seas around the Far East. The House of Creed are delighted to explore this journey in the next edition of their magazine.

Whilst James was exploring Japan, Henry and Charles were at the forefront of the Couture world and were featured in a 1935 article from Luggage and Goods presenting their Spring Collection of sports and evening wear at the Gotham Hotel, New York. This was radicalising the way that buyers saw the Paris Collections as they were often too late for their schedules. The year 1939 saw record sales in the US and the New York Times reported that only Creed and Lanvin remained open despite the difficulties brought on by war.

When Henry senior died in 1949, James and a young Olivier Creed continued The House of Creed legacy ‘From Father to Son’ which continues to this day. Olivier is credited for transforming the business from just 1000 bottles a year to the luxury phenomenon it has become. In book one, Olivier muses ‘My grandmother helped me a lot and even gave me a mould to make the bottles, and my father told me if my passion was for fragrances, then I should go for it’.

Today Olivier, accompanied by his son Erwin, create artisanal fragrances in the factory situated in the idyllic French town of Fontainebleau. To read the full history of the House of Creed, visit one of their Boutiques across the world where fragrance experts will assist you and offer you a copy of the beautifully crafted Creed Magazine.