Jean-Claude Ellena's Latest Reflections on Perfumery {Fragrant Reading} {Scented Quote of the Day}

H-Letter-TSS-B.jpgHermès in-house perfumer Jean-Claude Ellena responds to French news title Le Figaro Magazine on the occasion of the launch of Voyage, his latest opus. I excerpted a quote from the article about his personal definition of the finite work of art in perfumery and translated it.

I am not entirely positive about this, but his reflection in this case seems to be influenced by the concept which was developed by Italian semiotician Umberto Eco in Opera Aperta, 1962 (The Open Work.) He also invokes the influence of nouvelle cuisine and one can wonder then how his perfumery could be influenced by the new generation of cuisine, molecular cuisine. He confesses to not being a big fan of travels, rather preferring encounters with people, a painting, a book.

Finally, I added a short list of official fragrance "materials" as they put it, to my review of Voyage as I serendipitously received some information about them. I think the distinction here between "notes" and "materials" would be that a "note" is this idea of controlled final effect while a "material" can be added for an unexpected effect going beyond what the material is supposed to express originally. In other words, a material can be sculptured, molded, while a note is a description and a finite interpretation of a material. A note is coded, a material is open to interpretation...

«Plus j'avance dans ma carrière, plus je ressens ce besoin d'épure. Si les créatifs sont tous marqués par une époque, je dois appartenir à celle de la nouvelle cuisine, où l'on travaillait les ingrédients dans leur plus simple élément, sans rajouter d'épices ni de fond de sauce. Dans mes compositions olfactives, c'est exactement pareil! La parfumerie de mes parents avait quelque chose d'impérialiste. Il s'agis sait [sic] d'œuvres achevées, complexes. Tout y était et, de fait, il n'y avait plus rien à ajouter. Mon propos n'est pas celui-là. J'imagine des parfums achevés, mais pas finis.»

"The more I progress in my career, the more I feel this need to simplify. If creative people are all marked by an era, I must then belong to the nouvelle cuisine one where one worked on the simplest expressions of ingredients without adding superfetatory spices nor base. In my olfactive compositions, it is exactly the same! Perfumery in the era of my parents had something imperialistic about it. Those were masterful, complex works. Everything that was needed was there and indeed there was nothing to be added. This is not what I am interested in accomplishing. I imagine perfumes which are complete, but which remain open."

From Jean Claude Ellena Nez au Vent...

Related Posts

Leave a Comment