Francis Kurkdjian on curating a fragrance wardrobe and Pluriel - Neiman Marcus

Francis Kurkdjian on curating a fragrance wardrobe and Pluriel

Regina Campbell

November 29, 2014


If there is someone who has mastered the art of scent, it is Francis Kurkdjian. His eponymous collection of alluring fragrances includes some of our favorites, and we love to offer many of them exclusively at NM. In honor of our Gift of Scent Event, we want to share with you some insights about Maison Francis Kurkdjian’s newest fragrance collection Pluriel – for men and women – which has definitely made our holiday wish list. Here, Kurkdjian talks about his process of creating timeless scents, the power of a fragrance wardrobe and a few insider tips on how to apply your fragrance.

NM: Being the nose of so many of the most beloved fragrances in the world, how do you interpret the idea of a fragrance wardrobe?

FK: I do not believe in having one signature fragrance. We experience different things throughout the course of one day, a week, a year… The same way a woman or a man has a diverse wardrobe for their clothing, I believe they can have a fragrance wardrobe to accompany their clothes and multifaceted personalities. You don’t wear the same outfit in the same color and fabric every day – why would you wear the same scent?
Following this idea, I have just created a fragrance wardrobe set: a luxurious case composed of eight different fragrances to be used by the globe-trotter. There are scents for men and women, allowing them to change their perfume every day according to their moods.


NM: What’s the first thing that you do when creating a new scent?

FK: The creation of a perfume is made in two stages. First, there is the time of reflection during which I think and imagine different fragrance accords in my mind. My inspirations are not driven by raw materials. I first focus on a general feeling and idea, and then I begin the composition and go to the lab to create the formula. The name of the fragrance always comes first. It sums up what I want to portray with my perfume. It’s like the title of a book or the name of a painting. It gives me a guideline, a creative path to follow.

Behind each Maison Francis Kurkdjian fragrance I have created, there is a story, and my creative process gathers inspiration from many different fields: Absolue pour le Matin is about light and sun, sleeping in late, cotton and linen pillows. Absolue pour le Soir is a totally different story. It’s a very 70s fragrance inspired by Studio 54 in NYC. APOM is an acronym that stands for A Part Of Me. It was inspired by my trips to Lebanon. Lumière Noire was created as a tribute to French actress Catherine Deneuve, for whom I have created a bespoke scent as well. To me, it represents the pure French style in perfume, based on an accord of rose and patchouli. Amyris pour femme and pour homme reflects the effortless elegance of Parisian women and men. Aqua Vitae is a tribute to life, a celebration of happiness and sensuality, inspired from the energy of the sun, the power of life.

Francis Kurkdjian
Francis Kurkdjian

NM: What was the idea behind the Pluriel Collection?

FK: For Pluriel, I came up with the idea that we as individuals have multiple lives. We experience so many different things, and are connected to a global world while remaining centered on ourselves. This is how and why I came up with Pluriel (Plural). I then asked myself what would be the associated scent with such a name. However, I could not envision one single scent carrying all my emotions. Women and men are so different. Hence, I decided to add the French adjectives féminin (for feminine) and masculin (for masculine) to each scent. During their creation, I was obsessed with the quest of what makes a fragrance timeless and which are the elements that convey the idea of passing through time.

NM: Describe the féminin Pluriel scent in one sentence:

FK: The quest for an eternal femininity composed of a multitude of facets, designed to evolve with freedom and sensuality, unbound from fleeting fashions.

NM: Describe the masculin Pluriel scent in one sentence:

FK: A fern accord, the trademark of major men’s classics, set off by the depth of lavender absolute from Provence and a soft leathery accord built on an architecture of Eastern red cedar, Indonesian patchouli and vetiver from Haiti.

NM: How do the fragrances relate to each other?

FK: In my mind, each scent on its own has the essence of femininity and masculinity, no question. Both of them are a search for timeless elegance. That was my creative challenge.

NM: Is there a right or wrong way of applying a fragrance?

FK: Chanel once said to put perfume where you want to be kissed. I tried, and to be honest, it is not very pleasant to have fragrances on your lips. My way is wear fragrance next to where you want to be kissed! I would also advise you to spray on the pulse points. It is the best part for spraying because it is where the skin is the thinnest. You can also spray directly on your clothes rather than your skin – clothing keeps the scent longer. And you can spray your hair as well!

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