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Whispers and advice in the service of your beauty. The Officine has conceived its own concierge service as a personified extension of its knowledge of beauty. Behind its digital counter, Skin Concierge is there in the service of self-care, everywhere, anytime time.


The origin of a character

A sympathetic character with infinite resources, the concierge has for centuries – and across the entire world – embodied everyday life in its most intimate aspects. From ancient Rome to the Middle Ages, from the 18th century to the present day, from the hotel lobby to the courtyard, this shadowy profession – that has so much to say – has continued to evolve. Today, the concierge has taken on the role of a guide, answering every question and fulfilling every wish and expectation, thus nourishing legends and conversations.   Trustworthy, the concierge lends an ear to confidences, masters the art of “savoir dire”, and proves to be an irreplaceable adviser and a rich source of information.

The origin of a word

Common epicene noun (both feminine and masculine) from the old French cumcerges, “guardian” and from popular Latin conservius, “with service”, from classical Latin conservus, “companion in slavery”. Dictionary of the Académie française.  

Person in charge of a private mansion, a public building, a building or a castle.

Hotel concierge: employee of a hotel or palace (generally 4 or 5 stars), responsible for reception, information and customer service.

Figuratively: a curious, indiscreet and talkative person. 

Skin Concierge can relate to these definitions in every way, and while she can be sometimes inquisitive, she is never indiscreet and even less talkative. You can share your biggest secrets with her, but she will only listen to be able to give you the best advice.

Hotel Lobby, Edward Hopper, 1943

“A city without concierges
has no history, no savour,
it is as insipid as a soup without pepper and salt, nondescript slop."

Journey to The End of the Night, Louis-Ferdinand Céline, 1932

The conciergerie at every level

The beginnings of the concierge appeared in Ancient Rome with the priestesses of the temple of Vesta and its sacred fire: the vestals. They looked after the temple and devoted all their time – as well as their chastity – to it. Even back then, the lodge of these female guardians adjoined the building to be preserved. In every wealthy residence in Rome, there was also a conservius bearing a dual role: as servant of a place and servant of a master. 

Antique Virgins, Jean Raoux, 1727

A few hundred centuries later, in the Middle Ages, the profession became more specific and the cumcierge was responsible for guarding an important building and ensuring that the people living there were well looked after. When the concierge was the guardian of a castle, his duties became more varied: he rang the mealtime bell, checked entrances, decorated the forecourt and adorned the niches of the saints. In the 12th century, the conciergerie took on a masculine aspect. Royal officers became the “Comptes des Cierges”, responsible for the security of the Palais de la Cité in Paris, the residence of the first Capetian king, whose name was Hugues Capet. It is the Encyclopaedia of Diderot and d’Alembert that provided the most accurate description: “He had all the keys to the palace, except those to the front door; and had inspection over the doorkeeper and over the sentinels of the palace.” Finally, the concierge entered the dictionary.

As our era approached, the concierge – and often the “female” concierge – became the embodiment of everyday life and its underbelly. It is no longer a question of ensuring security – that was orchestrated by the men-at-arms – but of providing domestic services.  A universal and loyal figure, the caretaker becomes the eyes and ears of the condominium. They ensure compliance with riparian rules. From their lodge, they practice their daily chores and observe: the cradle of any advice and a high place of gossip. This reputation gave rise to the popular French expression “être une vraie concierge” – to be a real concierge, referring to anyone who is curious and indiscreet. Whatever their often endearing, sometimes annoying temperament, concierges are appreciated for their great dedication, their universal knowledge and the great trust they inspire. As the guardians of the precious temple that is our home, and as a kind-hearted soul, they are the best of guides. 

The Concierge is in the staircase, Robert Doisneau, 1943

From the end of the 18thcentury onwards, the epic story of the concierge continued in the great palaces and hotels of the past, becoming a service of excellence: meeting the expectations of guests and fulfilling their wishes, from the most classic to the most picturesque. Aladdin has his marvellous lamp, and the concierge his keys to unlock the impossible. Conciergesare a pool of knowledge and resourcefulness. What do I know, maybe they get up every morning and says three times in front of the mirror, like a miracle formula:

“At your service! At your service! At your service!”

The Officine at the service of your skin 

For the Officine UniverselleBuly, the concierge borrows the features of a knowledgeable guide for whom the unknown paths of beauty and skin have no mystery. When your skin is full of whispers – pimples, redness, wrinkles and other dissonances – choosing the right oil, powder or clay can turn into a truebrain labyrinth. A guidewill help you find your way out... not a touristic one but an epidermal one!

To this end, the Officine has become a Beauty Concierge to guide each and every one of you along the path to clarity and sublimated skin. Skin Concierge – an online application that you can find on our website – uses a few (very confidential) questions to identify the major skin problems you are experiencing, to then provide you with the most appropriate solutions. May the less concierge-minded among you, and those who prefer discretion, be assured. Despite its reputation as a great orator, the Officine knows how to keep a secret and anything diagnosed will not be revealed. Your concerns are classified as top secret in the officinal lodge.   


Related knowledgeable reads

Skin Concierge has undoubtedly aroused your curiosity and perhaps even the desire to learn much more on natural beauty and its thousand and one mysteries… The Officine guides you to its library and its publications with books that are as beautiful in appearance as rich in knowledge that have tirelessly nourished our Great Skin Guide: 

  • An Atlas of Natural Beauty, an elegantly illustrated encyclopaedia that brings together a great number of secrets, efficient tips and recipes for a naturally radiant skin. 
  • The printed catalogue of the “’Officine Universelle of the Perfumer and Vinegar Maker Buly”, a beautiful object that features descriptions, origins and uses of our skincare products, perfumes marvels, beauty tools and other curiosities. Available in our boutiques and also online the moment you access your cart.  

“The concierge is the trumpet of letting people know.”

Max Jacob

“Rudeness is merely the expression of fear. People fear they won’t get what they want. The most dreadful and unattractive person only needs to be loved, and they will open up like a flower.”

Monsieur Gustave in “The Grand Budapest Hotel”, Wes Anderson, 2014


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