July 12, 2024


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In Discussion with Francis Kurkdijan: The Scent of Life

In Discussion with Francis Kurkdijan: The Scent of Life

In Discussion with Francis Kurkdijan: The Scent of Life

When his endeavor to secure an internship at the Paris Opera Ballet School was unsuccessful, Francis Kurkdjian turned to his other passion, perfumery. Given that then, the entire world has turn into his stage all the same – as ‘the nose’ behind some of the most iconic fragrances of our time.

francis kurkdijan
(Graphic courtesy of Nathalie Baetens)

He could possibly be well-known for above 40 fragrances designed for some of the greatest vogue and cosmetic brand names in the entire world – the likes of Jean Paul Gaultier, Elie Saab, Burberry, Versace, Dior, Yves Saint Laurent, Nina Ricci, Narciso Rodriguez and Elizabeth Arden – but if you talk to learn perfumer Francis Kurkdjian what his proudest achievement is, he doesn’t be reluctant for a instant. “My olfactory installations. The biggest to day was in the gardens of Versailles, the place I designed out of doors scented candles, scented cleaning soap bubbles and scented drinking water for the fountains.”

Expressing his craft by way of creativity – and in the most authentic and unpredicted way – is at the main of Francis Kurkdjian’s remaining. “A creative intellect is the most critical prerequisite for turning out to be a superior perfumer. The relaxation is about performing tricky, and instruction even harder,” suggests the gentleman who after recreated the (last) Queen of France, Marie Antoinette’s favourite perfume. In 2003, Francis also partnered with modern French artist Sophie Calle to produce the smell of revenue, and in 2014, for the Nuit Blanche up to date artwork festival in Paris, adopted a collaboration with Syrian artist Hratch Arbach to create the scent of blood.

francis kurkdijan
Francis Kurkdjian (Impression courtesy of François Roelants)

Born in the jap Parisian suburb of Gournay-sur-Marne to Armenian moms and dads, Francis recollects a everyday living surrounded by artwork, tunes, ballet, and many types of sport. He realized to study songs, performed the piano, and attended the community ballet university. “I owe to my dad and mom and my grandparents a excellent instruction, a sense of spouse and children, and factors I consider to be good values, this sort of as humanity and kindness,” he states.

His earliest childhood memory when it arrives to fragrances, scents or smells are also attributed to his relatives. “The scents of my childhood are definitely related with my spouse and children, with each and every member owning one thing unique about them,” Francis remembers. “My grandfather employed to dilute his own cologne. I never found the recipe although – I just keep in mind him mixing issues and generating his own blend. I was so fascinated by that, and he was a hero to me. My grandmother was a authentic grandma: caring, loving. She protected me with kisses, and of training course her fragrance, Femme by Rochas, which would be imprinted on my skin.

“My late mom had diverse fragrances. She was pretty modern for her era. From new fragrances these types of as 1st by Van Cleef & Arpels or Fidji by Person Laroche, to Mitsouko or the initially fragrance by Karl Lagerfeld. My father wore Kouros by YSL.”

Francis grew up curious about almost everything and designed a like of handicrafts. Immediately after a short-lived career as a classical ballet dancer, he attempted his hand at vogue structure. But it was at age 14 – soon after examining a piece in the webpages of a glossy French journal about famous perfumers like Jacques Polge, Françoise Caron, Jean-Louis Sieuzac and Annick Goutal – that a seed was planted. “It was a revelation,” he remembers. “A year afterwards, when I was 15, my mind was manufactured up. I would become a perfumer.”

In 1990, Francis entered the Institut Supérieur International du Parfum, de la Cosmétique et de l’Aromatique Alimentaire in Versailles, and following graduating in 1993 he joined Quest International in Paris. All the when he continued his research, acquiring a Master’s degree from the Paris Institute of Luxury Advertising.

 Francis Kurkdjian

What followed was an illustrious vocation that would see him develop a selection of iconic fragrances for some of the most noteworthy trend and beauty manufacturers which includes Le Male for Jean Paul Gaultier, which would go on to turn into a person of the world’s finest-advertising perfumes. During this time, the particular person that he singles out as a job product – someone he respected and appeared up to – is Edmond Roudnistka, the perfumer guiding Eau Sauvage by Dior. “I admire him for the way he lifted the artwork of perfume to a higher stage.”

Then, in a serendipitous second, his path crossed with that of French-Lebanese businessman and previous Ernst & Young associate, Mark Chaya. “We satisfied in 2003, and with time, we grew to become pals. We realised that we shared the identical eyesight of way of life and definition of luxury. As well as, we had complementary specialist and innovative abilities,” Francis states. “We co-launched Maison Francis Kurkdjian in 2009. His eyesight and perception of enterprise has been a single of the critical points of the success powering Maison Francis Kurkdjian. I am extremely very pleased of what we have crafted alongside one another over the past 12 years.”

And so he should be. Currently, the area of interest fragrances of Paris-based mostly Maison Francis Kurkdjian – what Francis phone calls a “wardrobe” of additional than 15 collections – can be found in in excess of 500 substantial-close boutiques and section suppliers across the environment, as properly as stand-alone Maison Francis Kurkdjian boutiques. Noteworthy creations involve Aqua Universalis, Amyris (femme and homme), Aqua Vitae, Baccarat Rouge 540, Petit Matin, Grand Soir, and Aqua Celestia. He was also awarded the prestigious Prix François Coty in 2001 for his life time accomplishment.

A staunch defender of the heritage of perfumery, Francis is first and foremost a free-spirited innovative intellect and a pioneer in a lot of techniques. As a result of his creations, he conveys his present-day eyesight of the perfumer’s job and its interpretation in completely fashionable fragrances.

When questioned about the approach of generating a new fragrance, the grasp perfumer admits that there is first a time of reflection throughout which he would imagine the artistic territory he wishes to explore. “At this phase it is not about the scent itself, it is about its purpose, its which means. Perfume is certainly a mirror of our time in a quite special sensory way,” he explains.

“Once I have collected my inspiration, I research for a

identify. The identify of the fragrance always arrives very first, and before the scent alone. It sums up what I want to say – the emotion I really feel and the story I want to convey to. It is like the title of a ebook or the name of a painting. Then I get started creating the method, employing the raw elements as words and phrases. When I have a obvious plan on the name and what to do, wherever to go with my feelings, I create the method in the lab. Though it is a team energy to manufacture and start a item, the 1st artistic techniques are somewhat lonely.”

Inspiration, he easily admits, is drawn from tradition, art, vogue, couture, and his possess own activities and eyesight. “Inspiration is the invisible element of generation. So considerably, my inspirations have not been driven by uncooked resources or distinct notes.”

Francis KurkdjianAnd how did the phrase “fragrance wardrobe” occur about? He explains: “The thought of the fragrance wardrobe is an impression and a parallel with couture and manner. Our fragrance collections have been created in the identical spirit, as a true fragrance wardrobe. Our Aqua collection stands for an critical piece in one’s wardrobe, a bit like a white shirt, that you can use for any event. It is new, functional and genderless. Then there is the ‘easy to wear’ phase with quite casual however tasteful scents these as Amyris, Pluriel or À la rose. Our evening expectations contain additional dressed-up scents like Grand Soir, our OUD assortment, or Baccarat Rouge 540. Each individual fragrance has its personal olfactive signature for each temperament.”

The most predictable and obvious of all inquiries – his favourite and least favourite things to smell – gets the most strange reply: “My most loved smell would be the neck of the man or woman I appreciate. It is like a refuge. And a smell I notably despise would be like everyone, the smell of rubbish in the streets…”

Staying a specialized niche fragrance household also usually means the creations of Maison Francis Kurkdjian have attractiveness for a particular type of discerning consumer. “We are not internet marketing driven, we are creatively driven,” he explains. “I really do not want to make sure you individuals, I want to seduce them with real emotions that are distinctive and magnificent, by way of remarkably qualitative solutions. I develop because I have something to say. A writer writes textbooks, I generate scents – it is my very own way to categorical myself. I’ve observed while that our buyers and I share the similar values: a college to be stunned by easy yet attractive items, a sensitivity to aesthetic codes and awareness to element, a perception of balance and high-quality.”

Boutique Francis Kurkdjian

When it arrives to exclusivity, Maison Francis Kurkdjian is also renowned for the pretty distinctive bespoke fragrances that are designed for personal consumers, with rates setting up from a staggering 20,000 euros.

“My mission when I build bespoke fragrances is to fulfill the customer’s demands and dreams,” Francis points out. “Custom-made scents are the best luxury in the fragrance entire world. Generating a bespoke fragrance is a issue of have faith in and confidentiality, as you share personal times and recollections. I create these special fragrances in the study course of brainstorming classes that let me to assess the customer’s persona, atmosphere, preferences, and memories.”

Like any artist, the legacy he leaves driving a person working day is of utmost worth. For grasp perfumer Francis Kurkdjian, his aspirations are basic. “As long as my creations are worn, I will be alive.”

This May perhaps will also see the worldwide start of a trio of fragrances by Maison Francis Kurkdjian, termed the Cologne forte assortment – with “freshness” taking part in the foremost position in these new creations. According to a sneak peek Prestige acquired of the push material prior to the launch, “Aqua Universalis Cologne forte is the notion of whiteness pushed to the severe, a pure breath of fresh air the experience, not the odor, of cleanliness. Aqua Vitae Cologne forte symbolizes the sun at its peak with a floral blaze crossed by a surge of sizzling air. Aqua Celestia Cologne forte is the come across amongst the blue hues of the sea and the sky.”

This report was 1st released in the May 2021 concern of Prestige Thailand.