Friday, 5 July 2013

Olivier Polge Joins His Father Jacques As Perfumer At Chanel

Big news from the house of the double-C logo. Here's a press release I received this morning:

CHANEL takes great pleasure in announcing the arrival of Olivier Polge as Perfumer in the CHANEL Fragrance Laboratory, alongside Jacques Polge and Christopher Sheldrake. As Perfumer at IFF since 1998, Olivier Polge has developed internationally successful fragrances for a number of leading luxury brands and houses. In recognition of his creative talents, he was awarded the “Prix International du Parfum” in 2009. 
Jacques Polge, Creator of CHANEL Fragrances, has played a double role since 1978, one of guaranteeing the preservation of a unique olfactory heritage, and a second as innovator, with each of his olfactory creations reinventing a facet of the CHANEL style and becoming a reference in the history of contemporary perfumery. 
Jacques Polge will continue occupying his position until the time when Olivier Polge replaces him as Creator of CHANEL Fragrances. 
Christopher Sheldrake, Perfumer and highly reputed fragrance creator, has been Director of Research and Development at the CHANEL Fragrance Laboratory since 2005. He will carry on his role of ensuring the smooth functioning of this department while continuing to work as a creative tandem with Jacques Polge, and then Olivier Polge. 
On his arrival at CHANEL in September, Olivier Polge will undergo a complete integration program within the House and its culture.

Contrary to what was reported on Twitter this morning (by myself and others) the above suggests that Jacques Polge isn't actually retiring just yet. Perhaps he'll have to wait until his son's "integration program" is finished (Was there ever a more ominous phrase? I'm picturing a lab run by Cybermen...) before he's allowed off his leash.

I have to say I find this news encouraging, although I'm not allowing myself to get too excited. With Dior Homme, Olivier Polge proved that he's capable of being bold and innovative. His Spicebomb was one of the more commendable releases of last year. If much of his work feels excessively commercial, that's precisely because it's designed to be so: in his role at IFF, he makes fragrances for brands which are interested, above all, in generating profits. So it'll be fascinating to see how he balances artistic endeavours with fiscal imperatives at Chanel. I, for one, hope that he decides to make a powerful impact with his first masculine... not least so that we can all forget about his dad's Bleu...


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