Great style ignites the senses. A deerskin jacket can transport you to the French countryside, a cozy knit to après ski in the Alps. Touch and sight, however, are only part of the equation. The French luxury experts at Hermès understand that scent is a key element to sophisticated style, which is what they propose with the brand’s new fragrance, H24. “Smell is so instinctive. It’s attached to our memories, our culture, our family,” says Christine Nagel, Hermès’s in-house perfumer since 2014, and one of only six in-house perfumers among the Paris maisons. “Today, this masculinity, this emotion, that the new fragrance brings to you, is for yourself.”
To develop the fragrance, Nagel was inspired by the work of Véronique Nichanian, the house’s long-time artistic director of menswear. Nichanian’s collections always reflect a discreet elegance rooted in real life: relaxed silhouettes, functionality, and an expert eye for materials and centuries-old history of craftsmanship. Like the collection, H24 is a reflection of a softer, modern masculinity informed by heritage and tradition.
“As compared to fashion, fragrance has a depth, an additional emotion,” says Nagel. “It was so obvious to choose the botanical for the man today,” says Nagel of the fragrance’s notes of clary sage, Narcissus flower, and rosewood. “The source of inspiration [for H24] is the Hermès man, this Hermès masculinity. I tried to decipher its plurality because it’s not one Hermès man, but several Hermès men, and I wished to recreate this movement, this appearance, which is free and committed, of a Hermès man.”
As one of the oldest and most storied luxury houses in Paris, Hermès manages to be at once current and timeless. In fact, the 24 in H24 references 24 Faubourg Saint-Honoré, the Paris address of the brand’s iconic flagship since 1889. “When I see the young contemporary men in their movement, there’s a fluidity and a contemporyness. The man is always anchored with pleasure in his story and his history.”
The brand credits its longevity and relevance to its ability to stay true to house codes while meeting the cultural moment. Part of that is a commitment to sustainability and reducing environmental harm while maintaining a great respect for the materials. These same considerations went into the creation and packaging of H24; the bottle is made from recycled glass and is refillable, and the packaging is also 100% recycled and recyclable. Even the amount of ink used throughout the packaging was considered so as to reduce pollution.
H24 is an extension of the Hermès universe, a world in which luxury and craft are valued at the highest level. “I think it is part and parcel of the way Hermès sees things” says Nagel of the fragrance. “Very discreet, elegant, an attention to the world.”
Scent, after all, is our most powerful and evocative sense, leaving people wondering: how do you apply it? Nagel, the epitome of chic, has the answer: “Do what you like!”
H24 is available on Feb. 24, 2021 on Hermes.com.