By Astrid Joss
ONCE IN A BLUE MOON you meet someone fabulous in the very true sense - talented to the core, desperately stylish, oozing charisma out of every pore of their body, charming as a Prince and devilishly handsome. I present you Thierry Wasser - Guerlain’s head Parfumer. The man behind each of their sell out launches over the last 10 years and the man that most recently captured Angelina Jolie’s heart and spirit which he quite literally bottled in their Mon Guerlain collaboration together last year.
“LOVE YOURSELF and then you can love someone else” Thierry told me almost immediately after we sat down on a hot sunny morning in one of the Corinthia Hotel’s penthouses. “Beauty is not vain. If looking after yourself makes you feel good then is that vain? Not at all - it’s empowering. And that’s why we are committed and passionate about beauty.”
Think about this - when Guerlain was launched 190 years ago if you can even think that far back, the world within which women lived and existed in was almost unrecognisable from today. As one of the first beauty houses it was launching in a world where it was simply introducing, educating and even allowing women to access cosmetics. In many respects it was a phenomenon. “Politics” he said, “isn’t what we do and and I have no wish to use this as a tool for my own convictions however in our quest to bring women the best of makeup, skincare and fragrance, it’s a small step but still one that is part of the fight for women. We wish to bring joy and within this improve their self-esteem.” Wasser himself says he’s more than aware what it’s like to be in a minority group, and like so many women has experienced over the years what this fight for your rights means. “Women are extraordinary, delicate, and special and their ways are particular and need to be cherished. Thus helping them look good and feel better has no connection to vanity but everything to do with empowerment.”
What does the 190 years mean to him? “As the 5th generation of perfumers and the first not to be a descendant from the Geurlain family I’m very proud to be part of this incredible legacy. Guerlain has always done cosmetics, which is linked to fashion, and skincare which is very technical. When we launched fragrance this was a total game changer. Fragrance is abstract - you can’t see it or touch it - all you can do is smell it which in itself is incredibly powerful.” Power indeed. I sat wondering what it must feel like to have Wasser’s power to create something that gives so many women globally so much happiness. It occurred to me that his success in doing so is undoubtedly a result of his own natural talent combined with his very obvious and vocal love and appreciation of women, of their needs and wants because like all works of art (his fragrances included) they result from pure passion and fire within, not just a maths equation.
His highly spirited style and extreme intelligence made me really wonder if he wasn’t such a talented nose (having previously also created mega scents such as Addict for Dior and Hypnose for Lancome) he should have been a politician or an even an actor? He’d look unbelievable on screen and he’d most certainly have a world record breaking female fan base! I couldn’t help but keep thinking about all the time he spent creating Mon Guerlain with Angelina. Don’t tell me she didn’t feel the same? “To me she was the embodiment of the ideal woman to work with on Mon Guerlain. She’s a true fighter and activist, extremely maternal, passionate, kind and of course very, very beautiful - oh and that smile!” As a result of their work together I learnt that Mon Guerlain celebrates maternal love. Something Thierry most touchingly felt very strongly about. “Don’t forget women are the only one’s that can have babies.” Obvious yes, but often forgotten, or ignored.
As we sat outside, decked out by enough flowers to rival the Royal wedding, there was a constant and persisting noise of a helicopter coming closer and closer over our heads which eventually stopped to linger directly over us. “They’re coming for me…” he winked. Oh that smile!