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Pierre Hermé, the “Picasso of Pâtisserie,” lives up to his sobriquet: just as Picasso had his cubism, surrealism, rose and blue periods, so does Hermé. Alsace born, he was trained by the late Gaston Lenôtre and subsequently raised the humble macaron to haute-pâtisserie.
Today Hermé – who, like a couturier, creates two “collections” a year – is a member of the prestigious Comité Colbert and sends out his mouthwatering macarons, pastries, ice cream, bon bons and chocolates worldwide.
At the request of Olivier Baussan, founder of the South of France based L’Occitane en Provençe – the international reference for organic beauty products – Hermé was commissioned to create a fragrance line combining the zeitgeist of PH’s pâtisserie and the fragrant wild herbs and plants used to create L’Occitane perfumes and body lotions.
This resulted in the label “Pierre Hermé – L’Occitane en Provence”– three perfumes Jasmine – Immortelle; Neroli, Grapefruit, Rhubarb; and Honey-Mandarin– with matching shower gel, body lotion, soap, hand cream and lip balm.
Olivier Baussen and Pierre Hermé go back a long way; it was thanks to Baussan that the pâtissier discovered Corsica and Le Maquis – the wild shrublands where scented herbs grow – providing inspiration for the composition of his fragrances. As a long time perfume aficionado, a few years ago with the “nose” Jean-Michel Duriez, Hermé produced a rose and jasmine cake inspired by Jean Patou’s Joy and then a Peach, Rose and Cumin tart from the notes he detected in a bottle of his wife’s Rochas’ Femme. Hermé says there are elements common to both worlds such as bergamot and citrus. In pastry making, he assembles ingredients in his head and proceeded in the same way for L’Occitane.
Following the success of the fragrance project the two friends decided to continue their collaboration with a joint adventure. Olivier Baussen noticed there was a 300-square-meter space available on the Champs Elysées, at No. 86. The idea evolved to create a signature flagship Concept Store, a luxurious temple of pure indulgence and sensorial pleasure: read, the ultimate meeting place of perfume and pâtisserie.
Designed by Laura Gonzalez, the bright acid drop colored space launched last December showcasing an exciting and innovative range of events/activities such as live pastry demonstrations, L’Occitane hand massages and innovative sensorial experiences. Not forgetting the delicious all day menus: Matin, Midi, Après-Midi, Soir.
The perfect way to showcase the evolution of two exquisite brands – and two remarkable men – via their shared passions and values.
86 Avenue des Champs Elysées, 8th. Open every day. www.86champs.com
Lead photo credit : Le 86 Champs