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Jan 03, 2024

Runway to Business Ep.2: Françoise Lehmann, Beyond Beauty Boundaries

If there is one woman who knows how to lead the beauty world, it is undoubtedly Françoise Lehmann. 

Since earning her business degree, Françoise Lehmann has dedicated every day of her career to the L’Oréal group. Joining the company’s marketing division in 1988, she held various positions in brands such as Gemey and Kérastase until 2013.

Ten years ago, Lehmann assumed the role of Global Brand President of Lancôme, succeeding Youcef Nabi. Lancôme, in her own words, ‘embodies values of transmission and care that are dear to my heart and have always inspired my journey as a woman and as a leader.’”


A Woman on a (Beauty) Mission

The founder of Lancôme, Armand Petitjean, championed the empowerment of all women, encouraging them to radiate from within and embrace happiness. 

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Un post condiviso da Lancôme Official (@lancomeofficial)

“We believe that happiness is the most powerful source of beauty, and we aim to empower women with the freedom to express their true selves and provide them with high-quality and innovative products,” stated Françoise Lehmann. “I proudly lead this mission with my Lancômmunity, a passionate, invaluable, and talented team I work with every day. Collective intelligence is the engine of innovation, inspiring me daily to push the boundaries.”


Following the Mantra: “Beauty is a Living Art”

Françoise Lehmann has a mantra: “Beauty is a living art.”

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Un post condiviso da Lancôme Official (@lancomeofficial)

That’s why she recently unveiled a groundbreaking collaboration between Lancôme and the Louvre, Paris’ iconic cultural institution. The announcement, which was made a few months ago, marks a significant stride in celebrating an authentic concept of beauty that transcends temporal boundaries and traditional aesthetic norms. 

@lancome.official Introducing LANCÔME X THE LOUVRE. You admire them for their beauty. They inspire you with their voices. Lancôme invites you on an empowering journey into The Louvre Museum. Beauty is a living art. #Lancome #LancomeXLouvre #BeautyIsALivingArt ♬ original sound - Lancôme

In this innovative partnership, Lancôme has introduced a limited-edition makeup and skincare collection inspired by sculptures from the Louvre’s rich artistic heritage.


Embracing Diversity: A Woman Who Stands with Women

“I can’t express the emotion I felt when Françoise Lehmann, the first female director of a major beauty brand, asked me to return to advertising for Lancôme. I had been turned away at 42, after more than 14 years [as the face of the French cosmetics company], deemed ‘too old’ to represent beauty,” shared actress Isabella Rossellini, who reconnected with the company in March 2016 at the age of 63.   

“But I had a question: They used to say to me that a woman’s dream is to be younger, which is to condemn yourself to disappointment. Now that I’m older and the company is asking about me again, what happened to the women’s dream?” Rossellini pondered in an interview with Vulture. “But Françoise Lehmann said to me, ‘There are other dreams now. I want to be inclusive. I’m a woman. I’m getting older, and I don’t count anymore. I can’t accept that.’ This made sense to me.”  

@lancome.official Graceful Lancôme Ambassador #IsabellaRosselini dons a luminous makeup look at the Lancôme x The Louvre event. Isabella is wearing: Teint Idole Ultra Wear All-Over Concealer Blush Subtil in shade 02 Longtime No Shine Setting Powder Dual Finishing Highlighter Lancôme x The Louvre Richelieu Wing Eye & Face Palette Brow Shaping Powdery Pencil in shade 05 Lash Idole Lancôme x The Louvre L’Absolu Rouge Drama Matte in shade 274 
#Lancome #LancomexLouvre #makeup ♬ original sound Lancôme

“A woman who has my total admiration” is how Rossellini addresses Françoise Lehmann, emphasising the manager’s pivotal role in the profound social and aesthetic evolution that has positioned women as protagonists in recent years.


Beyond Conventions with Business Acumen 

A revolutionary figure, Lehmann is not only a trailblazer but also a woman with keen business acumen. In the last quarter of L’Oréal group financial results, both the fragrances and skincare segments of Lancôme performed exceptionally well, which is a testament to her visionary leadership.



Clementina Bianchi