- Interview -
the art of fragrance
A native of Geneva, CHRISTINE NAGEL is a perfumer, more commonly known as “A NOSE”!
The creator of successful perfumes for Cartier, amongst others, she is currently the exclusive creative perfume-maker for La Maison Hermès. “To be a perfumer means sharing one’s inspirations and giving JOY”, but what else?
For Christine Nagel, joy illustrates a different moment, a moment that may take place through an encounter, through people, or through a shared, “feel good” moment. Each stage of life with regard to her moods, the environment and her feelings stirs different desires in this artist. With her first fragrance created for Hermès, Eau de Rhubarbe Ecarlate, she focused on lightness, a carefree spirit and daring. This “Eau” promotes well-being and brings pleasure which is also part of the joy involved for her at a personal level – a feeling which is transmitted by fragrances.
A RECIPE?There is no miracle recipe when it comes to creating a perfume! For Christine Nagel, the birth of Galop arose from touch. She dislikes creating when stressed; on the contrary, she needs to be calm and serene in order for all her senses to be brought into play. She is sensitive to materials, beautiful materials and in a Maison like Hermès she is spoiled daily with discoveries of leathers and other unique skins. The “nose” is influenced by the fingers, a funny thing and yet it is a rare leather that sparks a desire and triggers the process. Excitement blends with creativity, resulting in a fragrance that is enjoyable to wear, a scent that conveys an element of one’s personality, because nothing is more personal than a perfume.
THE SENSE OF SMELL AND JOY
Wearing perfume is an act of joy in itself because no one ever wears a fragrance they don’t like. Smell is highly individual in her opinion. It is not something that is learned at school. It is the most primal of all senses but also the most accurate. Perfume-makers who create a scent that people enjoy wearing have accomplished their task successfully. They have managed to create a bond between themselves and the man or woman who wears it. And yet, we know that the latter may be unfaithful from one day to the next. Ensuring that this doesn’t happen is also part of the job and the words of Delacroix are constantly in Christine Nagel’s mind: “I do, I undo, I begin again, and I have yet to find what I’m looking for.” Her creations involve extensive research, bringing a new element to the world of perfumes by daring unexpected combinations. The key lies in the dosing, a cunning blend that means individuals are naturally touched by these fragrances and the story behind scents manufactured within a context of joyfulness and respect for a profession that she loves.
Based on an interview by Valérie Blanc