11 posts tagged "Francis Kurkdjian"
Rumors of a new Carven fragrance under Guillaume Henry’s creative direction started swirling in 2010, just a year after he took over design duties. For other brands, it might have seemed like a rather quick entrée into beauty, but not for Carven, whose ineffaceable founder had already carved out a formidable fragrance niche with the best-selling Ma Griffe, which was introduced in 1946. Fast-forward sixty-seven years, and the storied French house’s latest coup, Carven Le Parfum, is scheduled to touch down stateside in a few short weeks.
“The brief was very clear because I think the direction Guillaume is giving to the brand is very clear,” famed nose Francis Kurkdjian explained at a launch event in May. “As a perfumer, I just had to follow the path.” That path necessitated something very urban and very Parisian, but also very international, according to Kurkdjian, who set out to create something for “a fresh young woman, [who is] charismatic and very charming.” Icelandic beauty Brynja Jónbjarnardóttir embodies that sentiment in the perfume’s ad campaign, while Kurkdjian’s delicate blend of mandarin blossom, white hyacinth, sweet pea, and jasmine notes, with a subtle yet unforgettable dry down of sandalwood and Indonesian patchouli, seal the deal olfactorily. “A beautiful scent is just a scent that smells good. There are no tricks. You look at the bottle, you look at the ad, and it’s all very coherent,” Kurkdjian insists, pointing out that one of this particular scent’s big selling points is the faint trace that lingers in the wake of the wearer. “What’s important is the trail, because [Carven] is a brand that you remember”—something he can personally attest to. “Carven is very dear to me,” he reveals. “One of the first perfumes that was given to me when I was 16 years old was Vetiver by Carven—that with [Dior's] Eau Sauvage are the two basic fragrances that every man had to have in his wardrobe.” Now there’s something equally iconic for the rest of us.
Carven Le Parfum, available July 17 at Saks Fifth Avenue stores and www.saks.com.
Francis Kurkdjian’s contributions to the annals of fragrance history are many. Before starting his own fragrance house in 2009, Maison Francis Kurkdjian, the famed nose was responsible for a handful of groundbreaking scents that remain iconic today—Jean Paul Gaultier’s Le Male and Narciso Rodriguez’s For Her among them. His ability to think outside the box of traditional perfumery has spawned more than just wearable eaux, though; Kurkdjian is one of the olfactory world’s true artists and lends his savvy to projects that often put perfume in the realm of public art. In 2006, he spiked the fountains of Versailles with a custom aroma of metallic roses that he then applied to a different medium—bubbles—which floated through the entryway of the French Pavilion at the Shanghai World Expo. Then, four years later, at Paris’ Nuit des Musées, a late-night open house at museums across the City of Light, he revisited the idea at the Grand Palais, positioning one hundred bubble machines along the balcony of the space, treating the public to wafts of cut grass, lily of the valley, pear, mint, jasmine, and orange blossom, as the translucent orbs popped.
For his next trick, the formidable fragrance buff has turned his attention to another form of childish whimsy: pinwheels. “I’m a kid myself,” the proud uncle of two nieces joked when discussing Flora Tournicota, the installation he designed for Paris’ L’Art Du Jardin, a gardening exhibition that wrapped last weekend. “[My brand] is called Maison, which means ‘house,’ and a house with no kids is not alive,” he continued. Carefully constructing a series of paper pinwheels-turned-flowers, Kurkdjian spiked each one with his fan-favorite Aqua Universalis, a Sicilian-citrus-and-white-flower-tinged essence that traveled through the air every time the objets d’art spun. “I’m hoping to do them commercially,” says Kurkdjian, who has tweaked the design a bit to create adorable pinwheel boutonnieres for his retail location, so you can “bring the magic of the store with you.” Although they’re meant as a children’s toy, Kurkdjian plans on creating different floral scents for each one—rose, lily, violet, et cetera—which we imagine will make them plenty desirable to adults, too.
With the onset of fall comes an influx of fragrances designed to woo you into sweater-wearing with a wealth of warm and cozy aromas (think: vanilla, musk, leather, woods, cinnamon, et al.). But the latest crop of scents from some of the perfumery industry’s niche stars might surprise you in their compositions. Predictably spring florals are given heady updates with new technologies and forward-thinking scent structures, while olfactory inspirations range from literature to the Ballets Russes; you gotta love the independent spirit. Here, we’ve picked our five favorites to get you through the season.
L’Artisan Parfumeur Seville a l’Aube
While the French brand’s eaux are frequently inspired by travel, L’Artisan’s master perfumer Bertrand Duchaufour was taken with the book The Perfume Lover, a tale of romance and fragrance by Denyse Beaulieu, this time around. Set during holy week in Seville, Andalusia, it depicts incense burners imbuing the southern Spanish city with a spicy aroma that mingles with the sweetness of orange flower tree-lined streets. Duchaufour’s spritzable version, which includes top notes of tangy green sap and rare infusions of Luiseiri lavender that are reminiscent of more classic eau de cologne, is mixed with an intoxicating jasmine accord and beeswax for an incredibly rich, fresh-tinged finish.
Ineke Ruhland Hothouse Flower: Gardenia
After training at Quest International, a fragrance house that was ultimately acquired by Givaudan, the Canadian Dutch-born Ruhland set up her own perfume studio in San Francisco in 2006, where she launched an alphabetical-themed lineup of botanical-based scents. She’s now up to H, for which she has released Hothouse Flower: Gardenia. “It’s really hard to get a good gardenia,” says Ruhland, pointing out that absolutes of the white flower are often blends of tuberose with green notes, which she’s done here to perfection. “Mine is super green,” she professes of the galbanum, cypress, fig, and frankincense-spiked scent.
Since Francis Kurkdjian exploded onto the scene with his very own line of fragrances back in 2009, his Maison has become one of the most lauded in perfumery. Kurkdjian, of course, is the olfactory phenom who has sniffed out such favorites as Narciso Rodriguez for Her, Acqua di Parma’s Iris Nobile, and Jean Paul Gaultier’s Le Male (which he famously created at the ripe old age of 25), but his own creations are modern classics in their own right, as anyone who’s ever caught a whiff of his Cologne Pour la Matin is well aware. Still, the fragrance designer felt there was room for improvement, particularly with his fresh, citrusy floral, Aqua Universalis. As the story goes, Kurkdjian was playing with a new bergamot note when he was asked by an acquaintance to design a gift for a friend who loved his original eau. Pressed for time, he combined the two, et voilà, Aqua Universalis Forte was born. A reference to music, specifically the way different notes can tell the same story, Forte is supposed to be an evolution of its predecessor, not a completely different composition. Hints of lily of the valley, musky woods, and jasmine still abound and are now fleshed out by a stronger, more dense splash of bergamot. Which is to say: Those of you in the market for a new summer scent should make haste to Neiman Marcus when this one debuts next month.
Blowing bubbles tends to be an activity reserved for easily amused children, but Francis Kurkdjian is looking to change all that. As far as the renowned nose is concerned, creating the delicate floating orbs is an ideal form of scentsory perception. Kurkdjian, who opened his own perfume house equipped with a laboratory-style atelier on Rue d’Alger in Paris last fall, is a scent showman whose olfactory installations use uncommon forms of fragrance to create a narrative. In 2006, for example, he spiked the fountains of Versailles with the aroma of metallic roses, and similarly rose-tinged bubbles currently provide an escort to the manicured gardens of the French Pavilion at Shanghai’s World Expo. For Paris’ Nuit des Musées (Museum Night), a late-night open house at museums across the City of Light this past Saturday, Kurkdjian took over the Grand Palais’ huge 145,313-square-foot nave for his NoctamBulle, a French garden-inspired evening with tunes from sound artist Béatrice Ardisson. The perfumer positioned 100 C17SFX bubble machines along the balcony, and an entirely transfixed public indulged in whiffs of cut grass, lily of the valley, pear, mint, jasmine, and Kurkdjian’s favorite note, orange blossom, as they drifted across the airy space. Traces of honey could also be detected by the discerning sniffer—a personal touch from Kurkdjian to celebrate the unique occasion. “There are beehives on the roof of this building, which produce a small Grand Palais supply of honey,” the French perfumer revealed. Ah, the sweet smell of success.