By Dom Galeon
It was Tyrion Lannister, the famous imp from HBO’s hit TV series Game of Thrones, who said it: “There is nothing in the world more powerful than a good story.” And as far as stories are concerned, few fragrances have one that is as interesting and intriguing as the sixth addition to Hermès’ Un Jardin collection.
Dubbed as Un Jardin Sur la Lagune, it’s the first “garden” perfume made by Hermès fragrance director Christine Nagel, the brand’s first female head of olfactory creation and heritage. This “garden south of the lake” refers to an almost mystical place on the island of Giudecca in Venice called Giardino Eden (or the Garden of Eden). And no, it’s not a reference to the biblical first residence of humankind, although the garden’s beauty is comparable according to some accounts.
“Our garden collection is very unique because we try to link each edition to a new thing,” says Julien de Mestier, Hermès area manager for North Asia and Ocenia. “This year, it all started with a dream. Then the dream turned into an inspiration. Christine had long been looking for a garden and she found it in this secret garden in Venice.”
Designed in 1884 by an Englishman named Frederic Eden, the great-granduncle of former British Prime Minister Anthony Eden, this giardino has become a literal secret garden, currently off-limits to the public.
But it wasn’t off limits enough to keep Christine out of it. Supposedly, she saw the garden in a dream and, convinced of its beauty, she insisted on visiting the place. After writing a very touching letter to the current proprietors of the garden, the Hundertwasser Foundation (because Austrian artist Friedensreich Hundertwasser owned the place from 1979 to 2000), the Hermès perfumier was allowed entry into this Eden in Venice.
There, she dreamed. Christine saw the grandeur of a secret garden, seemingly forgotten by time but unforgettable in its own subtle way. She imagined how the fragrances she perceived in this garden, hidden in the heart of one of Europe’s most visible cities, would be bottled as an Hermès scent.
It’s an invitation to dream.
Christine recreated the sweetness of this secret garden, with a touch of the sky, the smell of flowers, and the refreshing breeze of the sea, into Un Jardin Sur la Lagune. To make it even more special, this perfume comes in a box that features a signed illustration by Bosnian artist Safet Zec.
More than simply a fragrance, Un Jardin Sur la Lagune is an invitation. “It’s an invitation to dream,” says Jean-Philippe Collin, Asia Pacific regional director for Hermès. “Today we are living in a very competitive world, driven by social advancements and instant gratification. Because of this, we at Hermès, we want to stop ‘time’ and to tell you stories to make your dreams. For this year, that is the theme: It all starts with a dream.”
Un Jardin Sur la Lagune is available at Hermès stores and boutiques. | www. hermes.com | IG: @hermes