WHEN CÉLINE ELLENA signed on to work with Hermès five years ago to create its first line of home fragrances, she joined forces with her father, Jean-Claude Ellena, the brand’s legendary in-house perfumer. While the older Ellena is world renowned for his exclusive and often elusive scents, including Voyage d’Hermès, Un Jardin sur le Nil and the popular men’s fragrance Terre d’Hermès, his daughter has focused on the art of scenting interiors with everything from candles to origami horses.
In August, the 178-year-old company that got its start in saddles, bridles and leather goods opens Hermès’s first parfumerie—a store dedicated entirely to its beauty offerings—in New York’s Financial District. “We saw an incredible opportunity to be part of a unique and immersive urban shopping experience,” Hermès U.S. CEO Robert Chavez explains of the decision to debut a stand-alone shop at Brookfield Place, the new high-end retail destination that is connected by skyway to One World Trade Center.
Constructed to have a deliberately domestic feel, according to the store’s designer Denis Montel, the 1,000-square-foot space—featuring neutral tones of concrete, marble and leather and touches of fine woods throughout—showcases its entire library of perfumes and ancillaries. The popular Le Bain bath, body and hair-care line, as well as Le Parfum de la Maison—Céline’s collection of scented objets—are displayed alongside chairs, sofas and benches fabricated by French designer Ramy Fischler. To add a visual element to the multisensory experience, Montel enlisted Brooklyn-based artist Daniel Gordon to create verdant projections at the store, which simulate the illusion of a “concrete jungle” replete with plants, trees and flowers.
“It’s like a really small apartment with a garden,” Montel jokes, evoking a common New York real-estate fantasy. Every Hermès store he designs—in New York, Hong Kong, Paris or elsewhere—needs “something new” for customers to experience, he adds.
Céline has devised a new candle for the opening. Called “The Shop Around the Corner,” it will be available only at the Hermès parfumerie. “The fragrance is really dedicated to New York,” the 47-year-old perfumer says of the white flower– and eucalyptus-spiked wax that fills a geometric porcelain vessel sculpted by French industrial designer Guillaume Bardet. In New York, “everything moves really fast, but sometimes, suddenly, time stops, and there’s the fragrance of a flower shop,” Céline says, romanticizing the curbside bodegas that provide Manhattanites with coffee, newspapers and the occasional bouquet of lilies. “I was inspired by that smell.” Hermès Parfumerie at Brookfield Place, 225 Liberty St., NYC; opening August 2015.