The Diary of a Nose: A Year in the Life of a Parfumeur
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An intimate exploration of inspiration and creativity, from the "parfumeur exclusif" of the house of Hermès. A scent has incantatory powers, capable of transporting you to your past, of kindling fantasies, of creating a vivid mise en scène—literally out of thin air. In the hands of the truly great, perfume creation is a kind of alchemy. Where does inspiration for this visceral art come from? How does one capture the essence of emotions, of desire? Jean-Claude Ellena has a sublime gift. As "parfumeur exclusif" (or "the nose") for Hermès, he elevates fragrance to an art form. A "writer of perfume," his concoctions are as finely composed and evocative as a haiku. He is also a conjurer of sorts: "I create an illusion that is actually stronger than reality . . . you enter the scent and follow the path." The Diary of a Nose is a collection of Ellena’s meditations on the world of scents, and what stirs his creation of some of the world’s most desired fragrances. Inspiration can come from anywhere—a market stall, a landscape, or even the movement of calligraphy. Though each smell has its own distinct character, a gifted perfumer creates olfactory experiences that are intensely personal and unique, that blossom on the body and leave a trace of us lingering after we have left a room.Seductive, delicate, and elegant as any of Ellena’s creations, The Diary of a Nose seeks to capture the most elusive facets of this rarefied and mysterious art.
Thursday 25 February 2010 Fashion I do not consult the stars but readily turn to the nebulous blogosphere. There are a good many blogs that consider perfume to be an emanation of fashion, and yet the principles governing these two universes are not fundamentally alike. Perfumes and fashion may go hand in glove and may appear together in public but they do not live together. The timetable for couturiers’ collections does not follow the same rhythm as the development of a perfume. Perfume, in
additional ‘é’ implies a pictorial expression of this world and refers more specifically to Japanese engravings. Here, the expression is olfactory. These engravings attract our attention and awaken our curiosity because they depict subjects drawn from daily life as the seasons go by: flowers, landscapes and journeys – such as Hiroshige’s Fifty-three Stations of the Tokaido (the route connecting Kyoto, the imperial capital, to Tokyo, the shogun capital). The same subjects, points of view, blocks
and to have access to the intimate details of a culture with an acute sense of propriety, much influenced by the arts. Corso di italiano per stranieri Over the last few months, I have started studying Italian again, not with a view to using it professionally, but for the pleasure. The pleasure of putting myself in a position of ignorance and learning; learning a language, or any other thing, means opening yourself up to the world once more; it is also a return to humility. I really like my
that patience, the slow, sustained effort to achieve their opening once a year. To be honest, I know nothing about these irises, having brought them back from my travels when I was creating Un Jardin après la Mousson in 2007. When I was visiting the Kerala Hills, I remember stopping at a garden center. These places have nothing in common with our own, there is nothing exotic about them, no profusion, just a few local plants in pots, and in a barn, sheltered from the sun, a massive store of
fashions, trends and time, and yet of the present. Cabris, Wednesday 21 July 2010 Style Having worked hard to define a style for my compositions, a way of writing perfume, I know that there is a danger of being overly faithful to myself. Repetition leads to caricature, stagnation and even exhaustion. By restricting myself to one premise, I run the risk of no longer being heard or watched with anticipation. Conversely, if I listen too much and am too influenced by trends, I rapidly condemn