Many who create fragrances consider it an art, but for Francis Kurkdjian, this is especially so. He grew up taking piano and ballet lessons, and though he didn’t know much about perfumers when he realized it was his dream profession at 15, he understood creative discipline and perseverance would be essential. Kurkdjian hit the ground running, creating Jean Paul Gaultier’s first men’s fragrance, Le Male, shortly after attending ISIPCA in Versailles. He then spent time in New York before returning to Paris and crafting scents for an extensive clientele featuring the likes of Saint Laurent, Giorgio Armani, and Dior. In 2009, the perfumer co-founded Maison Francis Kurkdjian with Marc Chaya, allowing him to enter the niche luxury fragrance space while continuing work with high-profile brands. Over the last decade, his eponymous house has released dozens of olfactory creations, most of which refuse to conform to masculinity or femininity.
Kurkdjian’s latest release is Gentle Fluidity, a pair of unisex scents with a shared name. It references contemporary, fluid concepts of gender identity, and uses the same ingredients in different formulas to create two different but equally fascinating fragrances. The distinction occurs through capitalization: Gentle fluidity (capital G, lowercase F) has a silver top and emanates juniper berry, nutmeg oils, and amber, while gentle Fluidity (lowercase g, uppercase F) is its gold counterpart featuring coriander oil, musk, and vanilla. To share a bit more of the two fragrances’ complex identities, Kurkdjian described Gentle Fluidity’s forward-thinking cultural soulmates.
If Gentle Fluidity was the star of its own movie, which actor would play the starring role?
Nico Tortorella, Miley Cyrus, Tilda Swinton, Ellen DeGeneres, Steven Tyler, or Jaden Smith.
What colors do your fragrances smell like?
It is a duo of fragrances. So one is gold, and the other one is silver.
Which city/place in the world does your fragrance encapsulate best?
Paris, of course! But any urban city with an international vibe is the perfect match as well.
If you had to place your fragrance in an iconic decade past, which one would it be?
The French and Italian Renaissance: A time when women and men were sharing their aesthetic values.
What item from your wardrobe would you compare your scent to?
A formal (tuxedo style) masculine skirt for men I have bought from Jean Paul Gaultier.
What genre of music do you think your fragrance most aligns with and why?
Contemporary classical through artists like Max Richter, who has been an influential voice in post-minimalism and in the meeting of contemporary classical and alternative popular music.
If your fragrance had a night out on the town, what drink would it order at the bar?
Always champagne, always. Krug and Dom Pérignon are the best!
If you were to relate your new scents to a book, what would it be?
A book you would read on a notebook or an iPad.
If your new fragrance had a soundtrack, what three sounds would play once you spray the scent?
We have a soundtrack. It is composed by Yannick Kalfayan, a modern composer with whom I have worked for 5 years now.
If it wasn’t called Gentle Fluidity, what would it be called?