Working with time-honoured techniques to create the most innovative forms of fragrance - including scented bubbles and bracelets - Francis Kurkdijan is king of quirky, distinctive perfume. At just 25 he created his first fragrance for Jean Paul Gaultier and has since created many of the world's most iconic eau de parfums, shaping the perfume market for the 21st century as one of the most respected and revered noses of our times.
What's the founding philosophy of Maison Francis Kurkdijan?
First of all, there is the idea of a House that was dear to me. Becoming a master perfumer was for me a way to revive the idea of fashion houses such as Yves Saint Laurent that made me dream when I was a teenager - I enjoy the luxury of details and of meaningful things. I am also wholeheartedly in love with Paris - the aesthetic and architecture, the grey roofs and golden domes - all of which inspired my boutique in the 1st district of Paris, and all of my codes, from the caps to the transparency of the bottles.
What or who inspires you?
I am often inspired by random words that resonate in me through ideas that become chords. I sometimes happen to be inspired by people: the voice, the gestures. It is a matter of availability at a certain time.
How do you conceive your scents?
I compose then I wear the trial. When I start to enjoy it, I make my entourage wear it. A perfume has to smell good and hold its message long enough.
What's been your proudest moment?
As a matter of fact, I am very proud when I smell one of my creations worn by someone in the street. It is such a great feeling to think that one can inspire this joy in people you don't know.
Who makes up your own beauty entourage?
My coach and when I travel a lot my masseur; that helps me handle various successive jetlags.
As for now, Aqua Universalis Forte, which is the Eau de Parfum form of Aqua Universalis with a different formula that enhances its 'remanence' while keeping all the freshness of the Aqua Universalis. And then for Christmas, I will release some perfume extracts (Elixirs). I love this concept and I am happy to revive the perfumed movement they enlighten again. They are little olfactory bombs - very feminine, very sensual - reviving the carnal movement of perfume extracts.
Text: Grace Timothy