Download E-Magazine

    Interview: How Dior Fragrance’s Francis Kurkdjian uses innovation to create timeless scents

    The chief perfumer on his constant need to change

    In the realm of luxury fragrance, innovation is at the very centre of the craft. And for Francis Kurkdjian, perfume creation director of Dior, who was appointed in 2021, there is always room for growth. “I strive to consistently change and shift things. As a creative person, it’s important for me not to look back too much,”  he shares, while articulating his aversion to the notion of a “signature” scent. Embracing uncertainty and shunning complacency, Kurkdjian’s creative ethos guides his work. 

    Enter his latest perfume, New Look. Creating a conversation between fashion and fragrance, through olfactory notes, the scent is unlike anything on the market. “I aimed to create a perfume that echoes the spirit, the nuances and the essence of today’s New Look,” explains Kurkdjian.“Modern Dior fashion is imbued with avant-garde beauty and vitality, and combines beautiful fabrics with cuts that liberate the body.” By using materials with varying facets, the perfumer says his newest scent includes, “A bold choice of raw materials which are reorchestrated to express a new type of sensuality.” 

    Along with concocting brand new scents for the house, Kurkdjian has set about to reinvent its classics, too. After redefining J’adore last year with his iteration, J’adore L’Or, the perfumer has, perhaps rather bravely, turned his hand to recreating Dior’s most famous scent. 

    Timeless icon Miss Dior, is a perfume that has transcended decades. Created by Christian Dior himself in 1947, it was designed to mirror the spirit of youth and debuted alongside his inaugural fashion collection. As the custodian of this olfactory legacy, Kurkdjian shares a personal connection with the heritage fragrance, “Françoise, a close friend of my late mother, used to work for Christian Dior and Miss Dior was her perfume. For me, Miss Dior is Françoise, and Françoise is Miss Dior.” 

    While the original scent, with notes of jasmine, galbanum, rose and patchouli is still available today, Kurkdjian embarked on a journey to capture the essence of the past while infusing it with contemporary taste. “Tastes have changed a lot, so we gave the perfume something completely new,” he explains. “The current zeitgeist, characterised by fresh notes – crisp, lively and juicy – and these serve as the muse for the reinvented Miss Dior.”  Kurkdjian’s alchemy of scent includes a symphony of floral and gourmand notes. There is a specially extracted jasmine intertwined with whispers of strawberry and apricot, along with amber and wood.

    A master of scent, Kurkdjian says his love of perfumery began with the launch of Poison in 1985. Hugely popular, the scent took over the streets of ‘80s Paris and is now etched into stories of his formative years. “My youth seems to be contained in this perfume,” he reminisces. But it was long before this that he fell in love with scent creation. 

    At age 14, Kurkdijan was first inspired to create a career in the world of fragrance by the film Le Sauvage, in which Yves Montand portrayed a perfumer. After seeing the performance he set his sights on doing the same. “After watching that, I told my parents that I wanted to pursue this profession,” he recalls.

    Achieving his goals, the olfactory master has had an illustrious career in the fragrance space and has played  a critical part in redefining the industry as we know it today. As for Dior’s fragrances, with Kurkdjian at the helm, they are proving to be expressions of ever-evolving creative masterpieces. 

    You May Also Like