L'Express Interviews Jean-Claude Ellena in Two Times {The 5th Sense in the News}

Jean-Claude Ellena Villa Cabris.jpg

There is an interesting interview of Jean-Claude Ellena in L'Express around the publication of his new book. It verifies certain impressions you get from the booklet he just put out: the intense pressure of the job (one feels a certain tension and negativity in his opus), a stylistic opposition with Serge Lutens, and most importantly perhaps the intrinsic, somewhat tragic, aspect of a profession where you aim to be a demanding artist, yet have to please many, many people in two short seconds (for the average perfume consumer). He in fact does not hesitate to say,

"Ce métier a cela de terrible que l'on a effectivement deux secondes, le temps d'un spray, pour séduire. Mais j'ai pour ma part le désir de plaire, pas seulement de séduire"


"This craft has this terrible aspect to it, in that we indeed have only 2 seconds, the time of a spray, to seduce. But personally, I have the desire to please, not just to seduce."

He also lets out that he feels he has taken an (admittedly, calculated) risk in publishing his list of perfumery ingredients.......

Jean-Claude Ellena Carroussel.jpg
A carousel filled with Jean-Claude Ellena's Flacons

He puts his usual stress on how his main aesthetic guideline is to streamline more and more citing his perfume First as the antithesis of what he does now and adding that this is also the "only advice" he gave to his daughter Céline when she decided to become a perfumer.

There are interesting details about his creations of Kelly-Calèche and Brin de Réglisse.

Reportedly, a new perfume scheduled to launch in May of 2008 inspired by the theme of the gardens of South East Asia is in the process of being completed.

Another interview with Jean-Claude Ellena here about his tastes in perfumes, amongst other things, also by Guillaume Crouzet. 

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5 Comments | Leave a comment

  1. Stylistic opposition with Serge Lutens? Tell more !

  2. In this article he says that Kelly Calèche does not feature a leather note that is dramatic and opulent, the way Serge Lutens does them so well. In his booklet, I thought that he could have recognized a more distinctive role to Serge Lutens in his section on the history of perfumery. He does lengthily organize perfumery schools into a hierarchy (another passage that was a bit unnecessary IMO), so he could have done the same about important actors of the niche perfumery movement, if not a founding figure in the case of Lutens. This made me think that perhaps Lutens was not featured as well as he should since their styles are very different. He gives more exposure to E Roudnitska to whom he is a sort of spiritual successor. So, there are biases sometimes that are not objectively very explicable except to say that he made the decision to do things his way.

  3. Thanks. I understand this better now. Lutens style is "excessive" while Ellena supports minimalism, i.e., do more with less. I recall a comment by Maurice Roucel in which he says that when he was crafting Iris Silver Mist, Lutens wanted him to keep increasing the iris molecule concentration after every revision of the fragrance.

  4. I 've said it before, to me JC Ellena 's style is too cold, technical, transparent and minimalist, on the other hand Serge Lutens 's perfumes tell a story. They have very different concepts. I am a Lutens girl! Fleurs d 'Oranger, Tubereuse Criminelle, Sarrasins...

    Aline et Valcour
  5. I can tell my own story -- I don't need Serge Lutens to make one up for me. I love JCE's elegance, clarity and minimalism.


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