Perfumer Christine Nagel, has combined all her talent with her energy she gets from her Italian roots, to bring new life to one of the French perfume houses. Christine Nagel, has created a lot of the well-known perfumes we wear today and she has also received many international awards.

The perfumer Christine Nagel joined Hermes Parfums in 2014 as exclusive Perfumer Creator. In 2016, she took over the lea- dership of Hermes’ olfactory creation and heritage, officially succeeding Jean-Claude Ellena. Born in Geneva, Switzerland, of an Italian mother, Christine Nagel combines her scientific expertise, the discipline of her country of birth and a radiant Mediterranean generosity with passion and harmony.Once upon a time, there was a young organic chemistry student at Geneva University Growing up far from the establishment, from Grasse, and from the world of perfumery, Christine Nagel’s encounter with perfume occurred as a result of stud- ying organic chemistry. She joined the research department of Firmenich, where she worked alongside a Nobel prize- winning scientist surrounded by young and highly motivated researchers like herself. There she learned to analyse the raw materials of fragrance by means of chromatography down to molecular level. Hence, the infinitely small gradually opened the doors to the infinitely large.

Perfumer At Heart

“Perfumer is what I want to be, perfumer I shall become…” She discovered perfumery through regular, close coopera- tion with the sector. The realisation that “being a perfumer is about sharing one’s inspirations and offering joy”led to the conviction that the profession was for her. Thus fully committed, she devoted her energies to the learning that would enable her to give full expression to her creativity. Ap- pointed at Creations Aromatiques, also in Geneva, Christine Nagel set up the chromatography department. There she met the perfumer Michel Almairac who became her mentor. It was under his benevolent eye that she created her first perfumes. A lover of paintings, she kept in her mind the painter Delacroix’s thought: “I do, I undo, I begin again and I have yet to find what I am looking for.” Under the guidance of this master perfumer, she soon learned what she needed to rely on to give free rein to her creativity and olfactive exp- ression. “It was a period of creative happiness during which I was able to build my own approach to olfaction, my perception of the vast scope of suggestion that a perfume can have.”

Marvellous Fusions

In 1997, she received a call from Quest Interna- tional. She had been chosen from a list of far better known perfumers. Aged 38, she had the freshness of a young perfumer and the savoir- faire of a creator. So Christine Nagel settled in Paris, as a true Epicurean seizing every opportu- nity life offers, eager to make ali the discoveries this change would bring about. Everything was source of wonder to her: raw materials, feelings, situations. These special moments fed her inspi- ration. After her debut with “Une Nuit Etoilee au Bengale”, Cartier entrusted her with the creation of its first eau fraîche. A woman of convicti- on, she boldly deviated from the initial brief in composing “L’eau de Cartier”, which still today remains timeless.

Back to Her Roots

Christine Nagel’s universe grew and gained the attention of Givaudan. In 2000, she returned to her roots to join this Swiss house based in Vernier. Perfume became her entry point into the luxurious universe of brands that called upon her talents. She devoted herself to them body and soul: history, values, and aesthetics. All these are signs she felt, experienced and then re-interpreted in perfume. She unravelled the theme of each narrative, seeking faithfulness and coherence in the encounter. To create perfumes is like creating a painting, as Van Gogh observed: “arranging the colours in a painting in order to make them vibrate and to enhance their value by their contrasts.”

She gained worldwide renown but continued to be guided by her love for fine raw materials, both natural and synthetic, led by the unceasing desire to discover new ingredients and original scents. She achieved some great successes, signing a number of landmark creations such as “Narcisso Rodriguez for Her”, “Miss Dior Cherie”, and weaving close ties with some of the greatest couturiers. Christine Nagel also earned the recog- nition of her profession, winning many awards as a creator.

“To be authentic” could be Christine Nagel’s leitmotif. When Pierre Bourdon, the creator of the revolutionary Kouros, retired from his positi- on as creative director at Fragrance Ressources, she was asked to succeed him. Working for a smaller house was a gamble she was willing to take. She knew that it offered her the chance to take more risks, to be daring, to create with no safety net and venture even further. Her part- ners followed her. She was rewarded with many successes, including “Si Lolita”.

Three years of peaceful creation confirmed her place as an avant-garde perfumer, a desig- ner of perfumes. En route to destiny “There are no coincidences, just encounters”, wrote Paul Eluard, and Christine Nagel had an appointment with her destiny. This was in 2011, when the Mane group offered her the job of Creative director and manager of its school of perfumery, giving her an opportunity to reveal her full potential. Her role encompassed artistic direction, the discovery of the young talents of tomorrow, and the development of new molecules and ingredients. It was a wonderful opportunity to apply her full range of skills at the inter- section of creation, training and research.

An In-House Perfumer

Christine Nagel’s experience was multi-faceted and versatile. But she felt that she was first and foremost a creator and perfumer. Little by little, time and the recognition she received for her creations led her to the realisation that she wanted to be an in-house perfumer.

Hermes and she were profoundly alike: “the story of the house of Hermes, its high standards, the care taken with its materials, its impeccable taste, the saddlery and smell of leather” were among the many points of affinity between the house and this colorist of emotions.

Christine Nagel met with Hermes and was chosen by Jean-Claude Ellena as his eventual successor. C atherine Fulconis, who at the time was President of Hermes Parfums, welcomed her arrival in March 2014 with these words: “with the arrival of Jean-Claude Ellena in 2004, Hermes set out on a new path.

Ten years later, we are en- riching our story with a new and beautiful encounter. We share the conviction that Christine Nagel will apply her personality and talent to writing new chapters of our metier at Hermes.”

This long-term collabora- tion is another assertion of the identity and uniqueness of the metier of perfumery at Hermes which has always favoured creation and the creator. For Christine Nagel, the creation of a perfume resembles the composition of a painting. Inspired by the pointillism of Georges Seurat, captivated by the talent of Sonia Delaunay who exalted art in her textile creations, in her mind artists are secret and intimate companions. She sees each material as a colour, and “the interplay of mixed colours will compose the perfume.”

At the crossroads of excellence and the essential, the entirety of Christine Nagel’s creation is charted in subtle, sensual, and bold perfumes. Encounters between natural and high-tech materials, between stylised baroque and purity, have no fear of colliding so as to better inhabit the skin… “I like to create scents that are as different from one another as possible. I enjoy switching from a very pure, stylised structure to a more colourful, even carnal, creation. But with a common theme, a guiding principle: the material. This must be pure, and I must perceive it with all my being so that it allows me to create a fragrance in perfect harmony with the idea of the project. So my creations are the result of the relationship of my whole being with the materials that I use, an almost tactile relationship…”

And today, Christine Nagel brings her colours to Hermes Parfums.

In 2016, Christine Nagel signed her first fragrance for Hermes: “Eau de Rhubarbe Ecarlate.” A bold and effervescent cologne whose zingy freshness is cloaked in the red of rhubarb, exuding a contagious energy.

The perfumer quickly went on to pay homage to Hermes femininity with “Ga- lop d’Hermes.” A rare frag- rance, it expresses her view of the woman she perceives to be profoundly free and uncompromising. Rose and leather, two emblematic materials of both perfumery and Hermes, embody the panache of a powerful and elegant pas de deux.

Next, Christine Nagel turned her attention to “Eau des Merveilles”, to infuse it with childhood reminiscence. She revisited the sparkle of amber, endowed it with a salty note, sealing the embrace of water and sky. Thus “Eau des Merveilles Bleue” was born.