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In 1935, Lancome was founded by Armand Petitjean, during a rural retreat, he visited the remains of an old castle, Le Chateau de Lancome, and noticed the myriad of roses surrounding it. These roses inspired him to use the golden rose that we know today as the symbol for the company. That same year he introduced five fragrances at the World's Fair in Brussels and by the 1950s, his products were selling in the United States. Petitjean is noted to have studied under Francois Coty, 'the father of twentieth-century luxury perfumes'.

Isabella Rossellini is one of Lancome's most famous spokesmodel. She represented the company starting in 1982 and remained in that role for 14 years. The well-known fragrance Tresor is closely associated with her image. In June 2007 the company revealed that Kate Winslet will take over as the new face for the re-launch of its classic perfume. Other notable women's scents are Poeme, Miracle and most recently, Hypnose. Its male counterpart, Hypnose Homme, is represented by Clive Owen, who is the first male spokesmodel for it and the men's skincare line. Lancome is one of the leading cosmetics, skincare and fragrance marketers and manufacturers in its industry.

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