As I pointed out in the first part of this monography, Edmond Roudnitska in 70 years left us 17 jewels that allowed him to mark the contemporary olfactory aesthetics. What I cherish as the most precious gem, the absolute masterpiece summarizing all his art is Eau d'Hermès. 1951 for the Hermès house is a revolutionary year: the death of Emile-Maurice Hermès puts an end to the Hermès Frères era during which the brand from saddlery becomes producer of luxury leather goods and accessories even for the Tzar. For the first time in more than a hundred years the company passed out of the blood line under the direction of Emile's son in law Robert Dumas. He immediately wanted to highlight the link with heritage baptizing the passage of the baton with a perfume dedicated to Emile aimed to be the essence of the Hermès elegance. Edmond Roudnitska who found in Robert both a customer and a friend, aknowledged this spirit concocting a perfume exuding class and tradition, renewed though through his abstract vision of olfactory creation.
|Pelletteria Hermès - 1925|
There's a reflection of Jicky running through the contrast of lavender on top and cumarine in the base giving the honeyed-tobacco hint together with a tiny bit of civet. Again cumarine, the floral heart and a chypre whiff play the echo of one of the most glorious russian leathers ever created, probably the most amazing creation by André Fraysse higly esteemed by Edmond, Scandal, where the bodily aspect of costus is replaced here by cumin. That's why there couldn't be Eau d'Hermès without birch tar or orris root.
On top of this olfactory marvel hovering between fougère and leathery chypre, Edmond makes orange, the brand sun shine enhancing the citrus cologne theme while referring to the colour that will become during those years the symbol of the most chic french saddlery, together with the orange peel-like packaging and the emblem featuring the gig. Eerything here is evocation more than representation as would say Jean Claude Ellena who keeps Eau d'Hermès as an absolute masterpiece. Everything is abstract sublimation, even the smell of the interior of the famous sac à dépêches created in 1935 and later renamed the Kelly as a tribute to Grace Kelly, that here melts on the skin till it becomes just an aura, the smell of skin itself, clean, slightly salty and human, yet bearing a very refined, intellectual sensuality.
Also the blazon that originally marked each bottle has a kind of magic in it, a magic that partially disappeared now that the symbol has changed. The monogram EH, Emile Hermès, but also Eau d'Hermès is mirrored as two simmetric sides of a bridge linking past and future and framed by a circle. There's also the caduceus, the staff carried by the God Hermes which origins date long before the greeks back to Babylon and to the egyptian Djed, a symbol of balance and maybe an obscure reference to another beautiful perfume with leathery tobacco facets. It is here also mirrored forming a St. Andrew's cross, originally a solar symbol. Finally the gig symbol of the Maison Hermès but also associated with the God Helios, another sun reference that brought to this perfume good luck for more than 60 years.