There is a new generation of master perfumer at Parfums Christian Dior and his name is Francis Kurkdjian. The renowned perfumer has just accepted the role of Perfume Creation Director for the famous French Fashion House, replacing Francois Demachy who at the age of 72 is retiring. It’s an exciting moment as Francis is known for his unbridled creativity.
A daring talent, Francis was only 25 when he composed his first men’s scent, Le Male by Jean-Paul Gaultier, which became a global bestseller overnight. I remember interviewing Jean-Paul and he told me that he loved the fragrance so much he used to spray himself with it every few minutes. His staff had to come and tactfully tell him that they could smell him coming a block away. Obviously a generation of guys agreed with this approach and retailers couldn’t keep it in stock. With such a success, the perfumer became an in-demand artist immediately.
One of his most audacious and exciting fragrance projects was to recreate Marie Antoinette’s signature fragrance using the exact recipe. This was part of an olfactory exhibit at the Chateau de Versailles that captured the imagination of French perfume enthusiasts. In 2009, he was made Knight of Arts and Letters for his work. And many of his fragrances have won international awards.
This isn’t the first time Francis has worked with Dior. In 2008, he composed Eau Noire and Cologne Blanche for La Collection Privée Christian Dior. A visionary who continually expands the scope of possibilities for fragrances, he brings an artistic dimension to creating scents. He has collaborated with renowned artists such as Sophie Calle and Choreographer Christian Rizzo.
“Francis Kurkdjian is a visionary perfumer and a passionate artist who brings his full creative energies, savoir-faire and exacting professionalism to Dior Perfumes, crafting future Dior fragrances that will conquer the world. Francis will build his creations from an exceptional olfactory heritage which started in 1947, anchored by the use of exceptional flowers and bold creative initiatives,” says Laurent Kleitman, president and chief executive officer of Parfums Christian Dior.
I’ve had the honour and pleasure of interview Francis several times over the years and I can tell you he is a charming and thoughtful man. He is soft-spoken and very down-to earth. What surprised me is his honesty at the process of creating fragrances. He told me that it can be a challenging process to find something new to say with a specific note or ingredient. He searches and searches until he can find a new approach, a new twist or a new way of approaching a perfume. He’s a true artist.
“It is a tremendous honour for me to join Parfums Christian Dior, a Maison with a richly inspiring history and a resolutely future-facing creative spirit. I am delighted to share my vision through my fragrance creations,” he says. His resume includes creating My Burberry for Burberry, L’Extase for Nina Ricci, Narciso Rodriguez for Her, Elie Saab Le Parfum, Armani Mania, Green Tea for Elizabeth Arden, Miracle Homme for Lancome, Jeans Couture Glam for Versace, F by Ferragamo, Autumn by Van Cleef & Arpel, Miss Charming for Juliette Has A Gun, Fleur de Male by Jean Paul Gaultier and Rumeur by Lanvin. In total, he has blended more than 40 prestige fragrances.
Francis Kurkdjian will oversee the creation of all Dior fragrances moving forward. I can’t wait to see what he’ll create for the famous maison.