What do people in Sydney, Rome and Paris have in common? Apparently they all stink.
“People in each country have their own smell,” perfumer Jean Claude Ellena said yesterday. “In Sydney, people smell like fish, because you eat so much fish here, like the Romans eat garlic, but in Paris it’s chicken; these people are eating so many Rhine chickens that in the street you can always smell them.”
Mr Ellena’s olfactory observations are more finely tuned than most. As the resident perfumer at French luxury house Hermes, the dapper Parisian is at the peak of his profession in the highly secretive world of fragrance. But Mr Ellena, who has worked for Yves Saint Laurent and Bulgari and is one of only two resident fashion house perfumers in the world (the other is Jacques Polger at Chanel), is happy to reveal one secret to his success.
He does not splash on cologne, his armpits are a deodorant-free zone and he steers clear of perfumed soaps. “It is to protect myself,” he said. “When I smell odours around me I’m starting to say, well, this contains that and that, so I am starting to work, but I want to concentrate only on creating my own perfumes so I try to avoid smell.”
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