“A scent to be heard.” It is a witty if not paradoxical way to describe Hermès’ new collection of home fragrances. Yet as confidently as father-daughter perfumer duo Jean-Claude Ellena and Céline Ellena compose the maison’s coveted scents, they also write the stories and descriptions behind them.
In fact, it was Céline’s unique technique of developing scents through the framework of stories that caused her father to select her for the project. In finding new ways to record traditional scent formulas, Céline rediscovered fragrance as a “wonderful imaginary world”; a sentiment reflected in the five “reveries” composing Hermès’ “Parfums de la Maison.” From the beginning, Céline focused on making the scents reflective of the home and all of the things that occur within its walls. She wanted to channel the emotion of friends and family. She wanted to capture the waking dreams we have late at night in bed or while our mind wanders in front of the television. Most importantly, she wanted to capture the essence of our private spaces.
The five scents: Des Pas Sur La Neige (taupe), Temp de Pluie (celadon), Fenètre Ouverte (lagoon), Champ Libre (sulphur) and À Cheval! (pumpkin) are arranged into three families of objects. Each of these objects — an origami horse, a pebble and a bowl — are representative of the familiar. Their designer, Guillaume Bardet, was especially interested in exploring the tension between the reality of physical objects and their more ephemeral qualities. Through this lens, he imagined the objects as “couriers of scent” and the fragrances as “fleeting dreams.” Bardet’s delicate creations represent the physical capture of Ellena’s “reveries” which are in turn free to “escape into other spaces” when the objects are opened.
“An interior perfume,” says Ellena, “is a scent that we listen to, an olfactory whisper that pushes us to escape.” Perhaps “a scent to be heard” is valid after all.
Hermès’ collection of home scents will be available in select boutiques and outlets later this month.