Perfumer Christine Nagel, whose name is behind a number of successful perfumes in designer perfumery, such as Miss Dior Chérie by Dior and Narciso Rodriguez for Her (see also her poem "Hora"), will join Jean-Claude Ellena as collaborating in-house nose at the house of Hermès...
According to WWD, there will be a transition period, which may be long, before Jean-Claude Ellena passes on the reins to her. There was also a similar announcement that came from the house of Chanel (see also below).
She is currently the director of fragrance creation at Mane & Fils.
This decision confirms the trend of hiring perfumers who are attached to a sole house - with some freedom to create elsewhere in some cases, but not always. The meaning of such a choice is that, beyond the technical skills that make up the talent of a nose, a few of these perfumer-composers are recognized for their style and personality. Acknowledging this is wishing to bring in a supplement of soul to creative perfumery.
A post on the Fragrance Foundation France site by Sabine Chabbert dating back to July 2012 calls attention to a radio show featuring both perfumers. You can listen to it below,
Other in-house perfumers include Thierry Wasser for Guerlain appointed in 2008 and more recently Olivier Polge for Chanel, who himself joins a team of two recognized in-house experts, his father Jacques Polge and Christopher Sheldrake.
LVMH have hired perfumer Jacques Cavallier-Belletrud, whose mission to create perfumes under the LVMH parfums label has been put on hold for the moment being for reasons of perfectionism. Jean Patou is working with in-house perfumer Thomas Fontaine who himself takes care of the several brands owned by Designer Parfums, a bit in the style of François Demachy who oversees Dior principally, but also some other brands in the LVMH luxury portfolio, like Fendi. Rochas have Jean-Michel Duriez.
This is the second time only that a woman perfumer-composer has been hired to work for a major high-profile fragrance house as the field is largely dominated by men. Mathilde Laurent has also been working for Cartier, both for confidential bespoke - which makes her cut a more discrete figure - and more mainstream designer perfumery. If Karine Dubreuil works for L'Occitane as in-house nose, the brand does not project the same kind of aura around heritage, patrimony and luxury stakes. Hermès would be considered to be a more front-and-center reference in terms of creative perfumery, thanks to Jean-Claude Ellena in the past 10 years, but also to their great portfolio of perfumes. There had been talk of Patricia de Nicolaï for Guerlain which sounded like a logical family choice, however other considerations predominated. Hermès' choice however is to put together a tandem of perfumers at the moment to ensure transmission of values.
Update: Hermès released an official press release which you can read about here.