Francis Kurkdjian has just been appointed director of perfume creation for the Christian Dior house, the most challenged position in the world.
Weeks when names floated in the air, the sentosphere played guessing games and Avenue Montaigne was silent… A woman? A man ? An LVMH baby? A surprise card? The winner is unmasked. The favorite wins… Despite his unpronounceable name (he himself says it) and his cash talk, Francis Kurkdjian is today a key player in perfumery, with worldwide recognition. Tempting promises for customers, always eager for new products. And blessed bread for journalists who love her kindness, her availability and her olfactory culture.
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The man with 100 fragrances
Francis Kurkdjian dreamed of being a principal dancer. He kept the fit & gracious silhouette. An article on perfumers read in VSD and now this Parisian pure juice, far from the seraglio of Grasse, changes scene and enters Isipca, the school of perfumery. Barely graduated, fate takes him short. The fairy is called Chantal Roos, the great lady of perfumes of the 80s and 90s. Under his leadership, Francis signed Le Mâle by Jean-Paul Gaultier in 1995 and at 25 became the darling of the sensory landscape. In 2001, he created his bespoke perfume workshop… A quarter of a century and many international awards later, the passionate perfumer has created a series of creations, among others for Burberry, Carven, Elie Saab, Kenzo…. co-signed For Her by Narciso Rodriguez with Christine Nagel. Already for Dior, he composed the remarkable Eau Noire and Cologne Blanche within the Private Collection. Not to mention the large-scale olfactory installations and performances with artists from all walks of life such as Sophie Calle or Christian Rizzo.
In 2009, he created the house that bears his name and which joined the LVMH group in 2017. In his luggage, the perfumer arrived with two international successes: Aqua Universalis and Baccarat Rouge 540. Despite his new functions, Francis remains artistic director of Maison Francis Kurkdjian.
In front of him, a hell of a challenge announced by Laurent Kleitman, CEO of Dior fragrances. “Francis Kurkdjian will be able to bring to Dior perfumes all his creative energy, his know-how and his high standards to sign future Dior wakes. He will build his creations on an immense olfactory heritage, anchored as much in the use of exceptional flowers as in the daring creative acts of the house since 1947. “
In video, decryption of the Dior fashion show with makeup artist Peter Philips
Elegance as a heritage
After fifteen years of “good and loyal delights”, master perfumer François Demachy takes the opportunity to bow out. During the tribute party organized by Maison Dior at the Plazza-Athénée, laughter and tears mingled. This is because the epicurean and modest esthete, passionate about art, beautiful cars and speed, has succeeded in making himself loved. Modest, he rarely talks about his successes but like many of his colleagues, remembers failures very well. Those who make modest despite the honors and those who advance.
Recently the movie Nose directed by Arthur de Kersauzon and Clément Beauvais (still visible on different platforms) followed him for two years around the world on the trail of raw materials, or in his lab, behind the scenes of creation. A “smell good movieWhich crowns a busy career. Started with Diva d’Ungaro, she lingered at Chanel, the time to work on Allure and Coco Mademoiselle, and culminates with the Dior blockbuster Sauvage.
To his credit, he has revisited great heritage trails such as J’Adore or Miss Dior, Joy, the very beautiful Christian Dior Collection (sublime Gris Dior ex Gris Montaigne), Les Escales (ah, the one in Portofino!). If he devoted 80% of his time to the flagship, the “LVMH olfactory development director” also had an eye on other brands in the group, in particular his favorite, Aqua Di Parma.
This flower lover has also worked hard for the return to Grasse of fields of rose and jasmine and has developed exclusive partnerships with young producers in the region. Grasse, his hometown where he regularly meets his colleague Jacques Cavallier-Belletrud, the perfumer Louis Vuitton. François does not forget that it was Jacques’ father who partly trained him. When papa Demachy, a pharmacist, would have preferred his son to pursue a medical career. He healed souls in his own way. And François Demachy is never so proud as when he meets a woman in the street wearing one of his creations. A point in common with Francis Kurkdjian who does this profession above all to make people happy.
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