FRANCIS KURKDJIAN, PERFUMER

 
 
EXPERTS

“Being a nose is what? It is creating perfume first. The way that I decided to do it is more about dressing men and women in perfume. You have a wardrobe with clothing and you should have the same with perfume. I don’t believe that you could have one signature fragrance. That cliché to have one perfume that you wear all your life is very passé. Women are multiple, they have different lives in one; they work, they are in love, they have children, they work out. Life now is much more compartmentalized than it used to be. For each mood and way you live you should have a different fragrance.

I like to be on the outside of what is expected. In France a perfumer should stay within the fragrance house. Ten years ago I started to do bespoke perfume; I stepped out of the box. So as a perfumer I was working differently than the typical way. When we say custom in perfume it is a unique perfume. I don’t start with a collection that I fit to someone. I start with an empty book, the relationship I have with the client is the inspiration. If I get too intimate with people I can become a little impressed. I couldn’t create a perfume for my mother because I know her too much, I’m emotionally blocked, and it is a very psychological process.

When I create a perfume I think that if you were naked what would be the perfect smell to wrap you in. Perfume is the closest thing you have on your body. It lives on your skin. When you look at a piece of clothing on a hanger it looks empty and your body fills it up and gives life to it. Perfume to me is the same; perfume without skin is just an idea. No matter how beautiful the fragrance is, if the wearer doesn’t have an aura of her own, it is not going to work. You can’t make someone pretty even if the inside is ugly.

I finished an exhibition at the Pierre Bergé Yves Saint Laurent Foundation last month. I scented the exhibit. It was an eighteenth century French painter who was a friend of Proust’s, and the curator decided to hang the paintings the same way they were hung at the time, salon style. So I shrank my palette to that era and removed ninety-five percent of my ingredients. It was a very exciting project. Now I am launching a new collection Oud Mood based on one ingredient, Agarwood, from South East Asia and I also just launched a fragrance collaboration with Carven, Ma Griffe.

I love the art of the craft. I spent my childhood watching my grandfather work, he was a men’s tailor. The work of the hand and the perfection of the craft is the spirit I was raised in. I work with my emotions and love all of little details. I was bicycling with some friends last summer on some tiny dusty roads, it was super hot; in a moment I got the delicate soft, warm and yet fresh smell of the trees and the sun. If I could have a camera to take a picture of the smell I would have done it. This is how my brain works. I have flashes and memorize a scent once I am struck by the emotion. I take a Polaroid of the scent in my head. This was the inspiration for my newest scent launching in September.”

-As told to The Formula / Photos by: Aimee Blaut in Paris

Newsletter

Email: 
×