Do you love Paris in the Fall? Well, so does the master perfumer Maison Francis Kurkdijan, however, he will be taking a break and heading down to Miami to meet certain VIP clients at Neiman Marcus in Merrick Park. On October 9th, le Maison will go through his creative process in creating a scent and then will break down the various elements and ingredients he used in creating his latest fragrance Aqua Vitae. Tres chic!
There is also great news, because if you did not make the cut for this private soiree, you too can meet him from 4 p.m. – 6 p.m.
Maison Kurkdjian is quite interesting, from working in house at brands like Yves Saint Laurent where he re-created one of their signature scents to launching his own brand where people can customize their own fragrances for a mere 15,000 euros, the limits are actually unlimited. Deer scented perfume? You dream it, watch him do it.
I had the chance to meet him via email, and I look forward to meeting him on October 9th, but see what he has to say. Not much fascinates me, and this man did! Alors!
Your bottle is unique. Is there a reason it is that shape?
The heart of my inspiration is Paris, the city of lights. My travels take me away half the year but it also brings me back, back to my city, with its light and the shade of its monuments, the grey of its rooftops and the bursts of magic as its golden spires puncture here and there its incredible skyline. Paris inspires the universe my fragrance house: grey zinc, gold and light. The inspiration for the flacon comes from a crystal bottle I found while antiquing. The original piece was designed to be part of a travelling toiletries case. I had the idea of a flacon that travelled and returned fitting exactly into its holder. My model is a unique object, obviously created for a particular person. It led me to design a flacon sectioned in square crystal facets and shaped from the base to the neck. It is produced in France and I asked the glassmakers to create angles as alive as possible without appearing too aggressive. To underline this artesian work, I added the monogram of the house, as a discrete signature at the back of the bottle, much in the manner of artists signing works with pride. A tube extends from the atomizer pump but seems to disappear after the first spray, leaving the perfume languid in its container. It’s high technology even it does not seem it is. I wanted a stopper made of a material emblematic of Paris. We chose an alloy of zinc, and an other one in gold. Zinc is alive and interesting in that it refuses uniformity. Thus, no two stoppers are identical; each has its own unique variation dependent on the density of the grey colour.
So you are Armenian? Do you ever go back?
I am French from Armenian descent. My ancestors are from the Western part of Minor Asia.
At the age of 15 you decided to be a perfumer after various attempts in Opera and Fashion. Then you ended up working with huge luxury companies including Yves Saint Laurent. Do you believe failures make one more driven?
Failure is always good if you learn from it.
Was it a rewarding experience to work for the House of Yves Saint Laurent?
It was always my dream to work for Yves Saint Laurent. When I was asked to rework the formula of Kouros 20 years after its creation I felt blessed and honored at the same time. I managed to create a fresher and sheerer version than the original, and gave this classic sensual scent an updated feeling.
Did you meet Yves?
Once in my life. But it was at the Opera, during a show.
If you could work in house at a brand again which would it be?
I am happy with my freedom of my work. I have worked with incredible fragrances and fashion houses but I do not see myself being attached to a brand for the rest of my life yet. I need the diversity of experience.
What are your thoughts on the tendy Creed and Bond no. 9?
Trendy is not a word I like to use and I do look at what other brands do.
What is your least favorite scent?
For my work, there is no least favorite smell. This does not exist. I need all types of scents to create a perfume.
Do you envision a stand-alone shop?
I have one already in the 1st district of Paris, nearby Place Vendôme. I opened it in 2009 when I launch the brand. I just opened the second one in Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia and will have an official opening in less than 2 months.
You can create a custom scent for a client for 8,000 euros. What is the most extravagant order a client has placed?
It is closer to 15 000 € Euros now! A client asked me to make a fragrance that would smell like white lilies surrounded by deer animals! This so far has been the most extravagant order I have ever had, right after a man who commissioned me to make a scent inspired from his horses.
What is your signature scent?
Since I am creating perfume, I do not wear any scent… It’s my way to be off.
Your event in Miami, can anyone come to meet you? Or is it solely private?
Yes, it is a open personal appearance in Miami at Neiman Marcus. Signing bottles, meeting customers and giving advise on how to wear a scent and which fragrance to try and buy.
What are your favorite clothing designers?
I like Lanvin and YSL. I have always loved Hedi Slimane’s touch. It was a great experience to have created fragrances for him while he was at Dior.
I like mostly Italian designers though. I love the quality of their fabrics and the style. There is a little shop in Paris with a great Italian clothing line. It’s named Avedis, on rue Saint Honoré.
You reside in Paris? What is your favorite arr?
I live in Paris, downtown, in a very cool and mixed environment. It’s ideally located and