Update: Perfumer Olivier Polge to Start "Cultural Integration" Process at Chanel with Father Jacques Polge & Christopher Sheldrake {Fragrance News}


A picture of perfumer Ernest Beaux, the first in-house perfumer at Chanel and name behind the No.5

In a scenario which will please both perfume lovers and institutionally-minded people, but most of all, the French, the news of the soon-to-come planned retirement of Chanel in-house perfumer Jacques Polge has come together with the announcement that his son perfumer Olivier Polge will take the relay of Chanel fragrance creation and conservation from September 2013. Le roi est mort, vive le roi!, or almost...

Revealing its pronounced artisanal streak with this news, the perfume industry - and Chanel here - which has modernized through, in particular the manufacturing of cutting-edge technology, remains tradition-bound in many ways. It is a professional milieu where often skills, knowledge and passion are transmitted from generation to generation as the learning curve is very long. A code of secrecy, or at the very least of discretion, dictates prudence.

To be able to find a perfumer whose talent has been widely acknowledged while benefiting at the same time from a spirit of family loyalty is a very seductive proposition. Olivier Polge can always underline the fact that he's been breathing Chanel since he was born, and it would be absolutely true. And even if Jacques Polge retires in September {Please check next post}, this ensures that there will be continuity over time as the son will always be able to consult the father beyond those administrative dates.

His father Jacques Polge did not encourage his vocation in the beginnings warning him "why, if you want to suffer, yes..." Polge the son went ahead and is now considered one of the most brilliant perfumers of his generation by both connoisseurs and the industry. Working at IFF he had a stint in New York City, which he hated. His heart is in Paris. 

Olivier Polge has created or co-created a blockbuster like Flowerbomb, signed Dior pour Homme, a perfume some of his colleagues like Bertrand Duchaufour wished he had created.

Bringing his industry acumen to the exclusive table of Chanel is going to be a heavy-weight asset for the house.

In the French context, this succession sounds "logical" although it's not completely, it just meshes extremely well with the values the French cherish. Perfumer Christopher Sheldrake could have been elected as well but with Olivier Polge there is something the French love: historical depth and family tradition. 

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