Hermès has used travel as a metaphor right from the start of the Maison. The company was founded by Thierry Hermès in 1837, as a saddle-making workshop in Paris. From the start, the goal for his company was to achieve supremacy in terms of quality. Thierry's products were destined for the horse-drawn carriages used by the noble classes of Europe. The company logo, not surprisingly, is a horse and "calèche," an open carriage. The quest for quality was handed down from one generation to the next. Thierry's son Charles-Emile was followed by his sons Adolphe and Emile-Maurice. By 1914, eighty expert saddlery craftsmen were working for the company.
Emile-Maurice introduced an unusual new feature in 1918, when he obtained the rights to use the new zip fastener for use on leather goods and clothing, and the first such garment was a leather golf jacket. Over the decades, the company diversified into different areas of luxury goods: bags, scarves, jewellery, garments, silk ties, and perfume. The first perfume was named simply Eau d'Hermes, launched in 1951, created by perfumier Edmond Roudnitska. In 1961, Calèche was the Maison's first women's perfume.
Travel remained a key part of Hermès symbolism. In the 1970s, the company introduced python motorcycle jackets, and leather jackets with sherpa lining and trim. And so, considering this long history of references to man's incessant movement and exploration, it should come as no surprise that the Maison's new fragrance is named Voyage d’Hermès.
Jean-Claude Ellena became in-house perfumier in 2004, and launched the Hermessence range. Today's new fragrance, Voyage d’Hermès, expresses much more than just the concept of travel. Ellena's fundamental concept was to create a perfume that was destined for both men and women, because, as he said, journeys are for both sexes, just as they are for natives and foreigners, young and old. His ambitious objective was to create a fragrance that appeals to the senses, not in terms of "That reminds me of..." but "It's inviting me to go somewhere." The journey that he wanted to evoke was the journey not yet taken. An adventure. The perfume therefore had to be an abstract concept, a combination of unusual opposite: male and female, fresh and musky, dynamic and relaxing.
Then there was the question of the bottle. Here, designer Philippe Mouquet had an inspiration, or a revelation, in the form of a pocket magnifying glass, of the sort that swings in and out of a rectangular case. He found a battered magnifying glass of this sort on a path when he was walking. The symbolism was perfect, because he could make the outer case in metal, so that it resembled a stirrup, an important part of the Maison's iconography. It would offer protection to the glass bottle. The container would become an important object, kept and refilled time and time again.
Voyage d'Hermès is available in Eau de toilette, refillable natural spray (35 ml, 1.18 fl oz, and 100 ml, 3.3 fl oz). The refill for Eau de toilette is in 125 ml (4.4 fl oz) format. The natural spray Deodorant is made in a150 ml (5 fl oz) format. The all-over shower gel is made in a 200 ml (6.5 fl oz) format.
Click to view the Voyage d'Hermès.