Talk about a magical New York moment. In celebration of today’s opening of the Hermès Parfumerie in downtown Brookfield Place (the complex will also be the new home of InStyle’s offices by the end of this year) the venerable French brand staged a special introduction for editors. Part Dada art installation, part happening, it was a few minutes of bliss that brought together elements of surprise, exquisite fragrance and a touch of theater.
At a little park outside the store, I was met by a musician holding an Hermès orange leather-covered drum who performed a dramatic solo (pictured above). A subsequent walk along a grassy path revealed a host of delightfully quirky moments. There was an encounter with a well-dressed man reading the New York Times on a park bench and sporting a life sized, origami, white paper horse head—the horse of course being the iconic symbol of Hermès.
Steps away, a well-attired fellow in a bowler hat and (naturally) an Hermès tie juggled scrolled newspapers. Then an ethereal blonde dressed in white and wearing a garland of roses in her hair offered up tiny pastries made with candied rose petals, while a harpist played behind her.
At the end of this wonderfully surreal walk, a man holding a basket of corsages wrapped a handful of fragrant blossoms, strung on a chocolate brown Hermès ribbon, around my wrist.
This was all before I stepped through an installation of upside-down, single flower stems, which will, by the way, be up for all to experience outside of Brookfield place, along the marina, through the end of this week.
Once inside, there was a chance to wander through the first-ever Hermès Parfumerie—a virtual library of the brand’s fragrances.
The legendary perfumer Jean-Claude Ellena, who has been the creative force behind Hermès perfume since 2004, was there, along with his daughter, Céline Ellena, who has developed a new home fragrance called The Shop Around the Corner, evocative of the vibrant, fresh scents you might find in a flower boutique. “Homes protect dreamers,” says Céline, by way of explanation.
Dipping in and out of a world where dreams are so very seriously celebrated—and made real—was more than a pleasure. Merci, Hermès!