Hall of Fame

At the 2023 Fragrance Foundation Awards on June 15, The Fragrance Foundation honored Nicolas Hieronimus, L’Oréal’s CEO, with its prestigious Hall of Fame Award. A major player in the fragrance industry for more than a decade—and the 6th CEO of the L’Oréal Groupe in its 113-year history—Hieronimus’s accomplishments cannot be understated.

Beginning in 2011 as President of the L’Oréal Luxe Division, Hieronimus’ unique vision paved the way for L’Oréal to become the world’s fine fragrance leader. Iconic fragrances such as Lancôme’s La Vie Est Belle, Yves Saint Laurent’s Black Opium and Libre, and Si by Armani were introduced with great success under his leadership, and his forward-looking focus on sustainability and technology ensures that L’Oréal will continue to thrive and inspire into the future.

How does it feel to be honored with the TFF Hall of Fame award?

I am personally very honored to receive this prestigious award from The Fragrance Foundation. Fragrance is a very important pillar of our French heritage and L’Oréal has an important role to play as the world leader in fine fragrance.

I humbly believe this award is also a collective recognition of the passion, dedication, and fragrance know-how of our teams, it’s a great tribute to all the fragrance teams at L’Oréal.

What have been the most impactful actions you’ve taken that have resulted in L’Oreal becoming so successful in fragrance?

I chose to bet on 3 important elements: quality, creativity, and experts’ collaboration. I empowered the team to over-invest in the quality of ingredients and concentration. This was also true for bottle designs. I pushed for creativity and uniqueness in all elements of the mix including naming and advertising. A fragrance, even a blockbuster, needs to create emotions and be memorable. It cannot be mainstream. And this could only be achieved with a unique collaboration of all our in-house experts and our external partners. I am referring to our dedicated in-house fragrance team, who orchestrates all our fragrance creations in partnership with the greatest fine fragrance houses, our marketing creative minds, and our in-house industrial teams partnering with the greater glass manufacturers. A magnificent orchestra.

Over the past decade or so we have built an unparalleled portfolio of complementary and aspirational luxury fragrances. I’m very proud to see our iconic launches, like La Vie Est Belle, Black Opium, Si or Libre are such incredible success stories.

What are some of the ways that L’Oreal is leading the fragrance category into the future?

As a leader, L’Oréal has always had a strong ambition to lead the future of fragrance, which like the rest of the beauty industry, is increasingly being driven by sustainability and technology.

We’ve also been exploring the power of cutting-edge technology to enhance the fragrance experience for customers. For example, with Scent Station by Yves Saint Laurent Beauté, which helps customers find their perfect fragrance by analyzing their emotional olfactory profiles.

Why do you think that fragrance is so important in the beauty world as a whole?

Fragrance plays such an important role in fostering individual wellbeing and contributing positively to society and culture.

Throughout history fragrance has had the power to stimulate our senses, our memories and our emotions and it can be linked also to self-confidence and mental wellness. We’re seeing today, post pandemic, that fragrance is perhaps more relevant than ever, because it helps us connect with ourselves and with others.

What is your personal connection with fragrance?

I have a deep love for fragrances – for me, like music, creating a great fragrance is more than just choosing the right combination of notes, or accords. It amazes me how different notes can be combined, like a symphony, to create harmonies that are original, memorable and have the ability to connect with people.

Given the nature of my role, I’m constantly trying new and different fragrances. Yet, I have to admit that I’ve a soft spot for Armani Privé’s Cyprès Pantelleria and the new YSL masculine fragrance to be launched next fall…

How do you personally and professionally stand for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion?

This is a topic that is very close to my heart. A more inclusive world is also a fairer, more empathic world. A world that is open to more perspectives is awash with creativity. As a leader, I’ve seen first-hand that diverse teams with a range of different perspectives create more interesting products.

But it’s more than just the composition of our teams, we need to ensure that DE&I is reflected in everything we do – from product development through to representation in advertising. That way we can satisfy all beauty needs and desires in their infinite diversity and deliver ‘beauty for each’.

What do you think is the most exciting thing about perfume right now, and what do you predict in the coming years?

I’ve been fascinated to see the rapid regrowth of perfume post-pandemic – it’s a real testament to the social nature of the fragrance category. We can now see fragrance playing an increasing role in boosting both well-being and self-indulgence.

As we look towards the future, I believe that innovation will complement the traditional creative process. Advances in technology such as AI will help us boost creativity, invent new ingredient combinations, build new fragrance experiences in store, and capture new consumers outside of the traditional channels.

I look forward to some exciting times ahead!

Lifetime Achievement Perfumer

Sniff just a few of the fragrances IFF Master Perfumer Anne Flipo has composed, and you’ll immediately detect a bold, questioning, and sensitive personality behind them. A very thoughtful perfumer, Flipo is known for her quiet rigor—including a dedication to hand-written formulas—and for her outsize talent and expertise. Over the course of her now 35-year career, Flipo has created sensational scents for houses big and small, from history-making blockbusters such as Lancôme La Vie Est Belle to vibrant masterstrokes such as Editions de Parfums Frederic Malle Synthetic Jungle to nuanced niche works such as L’Artisan Parfumeur La Chasse aux Papillons. Whether working alone or collaboratively, on feminine, masculine, or universal scents, Flipo’s process and goals are constant, and an inspiration for all who encounter her—and her fragrances. “My quest remains the same,” she says. “Signature, impact, pleasure!”

What initially drew you to perfumery?

I grew up in the North of France, surrounded by a wonderful garden kept by a gardener, full of flowers year round. Maybe it was that garden, or my father working in sugar, or my grandmother who lived in Laon and who excelled in the art of entertaining, the art of living, cooking: When it was time for me to choose what I was going to study, I opted for the ISIP, the French perfumery school, which offered a three-year program in flavoring, cosmetics, and fragrance, against the wishes of my parents, who wanted me to prepare the entrance exams for engineering schools.

What are the earliest scents or fragrances you can recall?

From that life growing up in the North of France, I vividly recall the flowerbeds, the orchards, the smell of tennis courts, lilac trees, lily-of-the-valley, weeping willows, ornamental cherries, peonies, and poppies. Funnily enough, American perfumery also made a lasting impression on me, as the small local perfumery carried American brands which became the staples of my mother and aunt, who wore Estée and Youth Dew. My sister also used to wear Alliage and Cinnabar by Estée Lauder as well as Charlie by Revlon.

What was your experience at school in Versailles like? Did you have a mentor?

When I started learning to smell, it felt like second nature to me. I was lucky to be trained by Michel Almairac and Jean-Louis Sieuzac, perfumers with an outstanding track record.

How would you describe your style as a perfumer?

I don’t believe I have a style per se, as I make it a point to blend myself in with the brands I create for.

However, there is a common denominator which I try to bring into all my creations: the immediate recognizability of a signature, the immediate pleasure it provides. It needs to be readable, impactful, recognizable: that is my style!

What are your favorite materials to work with?

Orange flower is my personal favorite, but I also love green notes which I’ve used in many different ways.

What do you personally find most fascinating or absorbing about perfumery?

I love to listen to people who come to see me and to translate their words into perfume. I also love challenges, working on brands I’ve never worked with before, and with people I don’t know, taking risks, approaching things from a different angle. I like to win as well! Today, my greatest ambition is transmission. I don’t worry about going down in history; being forgotten is of no importance. But I am keen to be a mentor to young people, to help them win and to think outside the box, to let go without letting go while letting go without letting go . . . In a word, to find themselves; because in the end that’s what it’s all about, and it can bring as much joy as pain, sometimes. It takes a lot of self-sacrifice. Perfume is hard work.

Which of your perfume creations have you been most proud of, and why?

I’m sure most perfumers will give you the same answer: it’s hard to choose between your children! I’m proud of having created the world blockbuster La Vie est Belle with my colleagues Olivier Polge and Dominique Ropion, but there are so many I’m proud of: Libre for Yves Saint Laurent, the shockingly green notes of Synthetic Jungle for Frederic Malle; the sensuality of L’Interdit; the countryside laid back feel of Jo Malone Basil & Neroli; the sexiness of Jimmy Choo; the immediate femininity of Lady Million for Paco Rabanne… and many others!

Were there specific moments or opportunities you believe were crucial or especially formative in your career?

In the 2000s my career took a new turn when I joined IFF, an exception in the male-dominated world of perfumery. When I started out, I was told, “a woman perfumer: no way.’ Luckily when my mother was raising us she was obsessed with telling my sister and I that we had as just as much opportunity as boys, if not more. At IFF, it was a relief; it was more open, there were women who had beaten the odds, like Joséphine Catapano, and Sophia Grojsman, who came up with some of perfumery’s finest fragrances. IFF was also the first company to encourage collaboration between perfumers. You have to be able to work with other perfumers: it’s a challenge, you learn from it; it’s helped me a lot. Curiosity, honesty, respect, emotion . . . That’s what takes you to the next level: humility and pleasure.

What inspires you most?

Meeting new people. The people I work with fuel my creative energy!

How do you define success?


How does it feel to be named TFF Lifetime Achievement Perfumer?

Saying it is a dream come true is an understatement. It gives me so much pleasure, since I was informed that I would be this year’s recipient, I’ve been walking on clouds!