The Warsaw Voice » Culture » Monthly - August 28, 2015
On the town
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When Scent Becomes Art
Colorful soap bubbles, scented with the latest fragrance created by Francis Kurkdjian, were released in front a perfumery store in Warsaw’s Bemowo district to mark the first visit to Poland by this acclaimed French perfumer.

Kurkdjian came to Warsaw at the invitation of Quality Missala Perfumery to launch his latest fragrance. Though he had never been to Poland before, Kurkdjian says he has long felt an emotional link to the country where his favorite composer, Frederic Chopin, was born.

Kurkdjian has always had a passion for classical music. At the age of 13, he auditioned for a place at the Ballet School of the Opera de Paris, but failed. Seven years later he decided to try a different kind of art and enrolled in the Institut Supérieur International du Parfum de la Cosmétique et de l’Aromatique Alimentaire (ISIPCA), a perfume school located in Versailles, on the western edge of the French capital, Paris, and graduated three years later.

Kurkdjian’s career in the perfumery world took off when, at the age of 25, he created the best-selling men’s cologne Le Male for Jean Paul Gaultier. This was quickly followed by more than 40 creations for major fashion designers and houses: Dior, Guerlain, YSL, Narciso Rodriguez, Acqua di Parma, Elizabeth Arden and Lanvin.

For his achievements in the art of perfumery he became the first perfumer to receive the title of Knight of Arts and Letters from the French government.

In 2009 he founded the Maison Francis Kurkdjian luxury fragrance house in Paris and since then has mostly been creating scents under his own label, including made-to-order recipes for a select clientele.

Apart from perfumes, Maison Francis Kurkdjian offers accessories such as scented leather wallets, purses fans, perfumed incense papers, bracelets, and scented bubbles for children.

Kurkdjian decided to take the art of perfumery to the next level by creating unique artistic projects in which he turns his scents into extravagant olfactory installations and spectacular perfumed performances.

In 2006 he scented the Palace of Versailles’s fountains with one of his trademark fragrances. He had worked for the Palace of Versailles before when he was commissioned to recreate the favorite perfume of French queen Marie Antoinette.

In 2011, he set up an installation entitled The Light of the Innocents in the courtyard of a former orphanage in Florence, Italy, by decorating its floor with 500 scented candles.

Most recently, he created Stratus 2015, a curtain of scented mist, for the Milan World Expo 2015 exhibition in Italy.