Hermès’ Latest Adventures In Wonderland
Jean Paul Gaultier’s tenure at Hermès may be over—the designer took his final bow at the brand’s Spring show yesterday—but Jean-Claude Ellena’s duties as the house’s exclusive perfumer show no signs of tapering off anytime soon. One of Ellena’s first acts of business when taking up the post six years ago was to reimagine Hermès’ classic women’s fragrance, Eau des Merveilles—French for wonders. In 2005, he debuted a leather- and patchouli-tinged Parfum edition of the amber, woodsy eau in collaboration with its originator, Ralf Schwieger, before composing its Elixir form, a solo effort in 2006 that incorporated citrus and chocolate-y gourmand notes into the mix.
Over the years that followed, Ellena has directed his attention elsewhere: to Terre d’Hermès, for example, the masculine answer to Eau des Merveilles that’s garnered more than its fair share of followers—Marc Jacobs among them (the designer is a known dabbler in the grapefruit, geranium, patchouli, and vetiver scent). But the famed nose can’t seem to shake the lure of the Merveilles composition, which appears to have tempted him yet again. Ellena’s latest chapter in the storied tale is called Eau Claire des Merveilles, which hit shelves last month. As the name suggests, it is lighter and more powdery than any that have come before it, with vanilla, iris, and citrus top notes to provide a newfound sheerness. But the salty amber and wood essences you likely know and love from the original are still there, too—albeit in a reconstituted, fresh incarnation that makes this a lovely reminiscence of summertime for the Fall days that lay ahead.