PARIS – Nathalie Elbaz has been named chief executive officer of beauty brand Officine Universelle Buly 1803, starting Oct. 15, according to an internal memo released at the brand’s parent company LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton.
Elbaz succeeds Anne-Véronique Bruel, who led Buly through its integration into LVMH after the luxury group acquired the brand in October 2021.
Bruel is to take on a new role that will be announced shortly, according to LVMH.
Elbaz has more than 20 years’ experience in the luxury and beauty industries. She signed on to LVMH in 2005 as trade marketing manager for Guerlain France. The executive then rose through the ranks of the brand and launched its fragrance La Petite Robe Noire, which was a blockbuster in its home market.
She has been general manager France for Guerlain since 2015, where she “has remarkably contributed to elevating the brand’s image, improving operational execution, especially in direct retail, as well as expanding Guerlain’s footprint within the market,” according to LVMH.
Prior to working there, Elbaz was at L’Oréal, holding positions such as marketing manager for Lancôme and skin care group manager for the overall company.
She began her career at Arthur Anderson, first as a financial auditor, after which she joined the consulting division. Elbaz holds a master’s degree in management from ESCP Business School.
For almost four years prior to acquiring Buly, LVMH, through its Luxury Ventures minority investment fund, supported and assisted the brand. Buly was the first investment made by the fund, in October 2017.
The Buly acquisition marked the only time a brand supported by LVMH Luxury Ventures was acquired by the LVMH group, which has 75 other brands in its portfolio.
Buly was relaunched by Victoire de Taillac and Ramdane Touhami in 2014.
“I sell dreams,” said Touhami in August 2014, during an interview with WWD, while discussing the natural beauty brand.
Buly has a fictional quotient, too. Its idea came partially from reading Honoré de Balzac’s novel “César Birotteau,” which was inspired by a late 18th-century perfumer named Jean-Vincent Bully, whose signature brand helped establish French perfumery.
More concretely, Touhami had long wanted to mine the world’s time-proven beauty secrets. He did that for three years to help stock Buly’s boutique with the likes of emu oil from Australia (for its healing and antiseptic qualities); poppy powder from Morocco (for its lip-coloring ability), and water-based fragrances (for their gentleness and moisturizing properties).
There were even boxwood hair combs painstakingly handmade in Japan, boar’s hair toothbrushes, scented matches and an expansive clay selection with green desert, blue, illite green and yellow clay, each with various beautifying purposes.
Buly’s namesake products, made in France the old-fashioned way, without parabens, phenoxyethanol or silicon — including body, face and home items — are housed in handsome wooden display units crafted in 18th-century style. The floor tiles in the initial store on Paris’ Rue Bonaparte were fired in Sicily’s ancient Etruscan kilns, and tabletops are made of marble.
Said Touhami: “When you come here, you need time, because it’s a trip.”
Walk into a Buly store, and time is meant to stop, de Taillac has explained.