Maison Francis Kurkdjian’s latest offering, 724, captures the French perfumer’s love for big cities and the human relationships that arise from its constant motion. The scent is one that is fresh and airy while simultaneously energising.
In a conversation with The Peak, Francis Kurkdjian, perfumer and artistic director at Maison Francis Kurkdjian himself opens up about his inspiration behind 724, how he comes up with new scents, and what scent he’d like to wear for the rest of his life.
What is the story behind the name ‘724’ as well as its chosen accords?
Big cities are at the heart of this new creation, I wanted to translate the feeling that sweeps over you, electrifies you, elevates you that you experience when you’re wondering in a metropolis. It is the communicative energy of urbanity, that life pulsating in unison which I translated into a musky, floral, fragrance, named 724, for 24 hours of scented living, 7 days a week, a motto dear to our heart and the values of the Maison. It means that we are surrounded by scents from day to night.
With Maison Francis Kurkdjian, I have decided to give a new look on the world of perfumes. Each scent of our collection is designed to fit a certain “mood” and to match your aura with sensuality. Perfume is there to make our lives more enjoyable.
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I have pictured 724 to accompany you through the city or an urban environment. It’s not the scent of the streets, or the subway. It’s about you and how you feel and what type of smell you would like to wear when you are surrounded by urban vibes. Something comfortable, fresh to the edge of cleanness. I wanted 724 to convey a fresh scent of clean, something pure but cocooning at the same time. 724 works like a protection, the sensation you want to feel when you walk around the city. So the scents, or notes, are not the kind of urban you would expect! 724 is composed of three main accords. A fresh urban accord as top notes, carried by aldehydes and bergamot oil from Italy. It is very luminous and has a slight metallic aspect. Then in the middle notes you’ll find a floral white accord, driven by white flowers and jasmine absolute from Egypt. Finally, the base notes release something very sweet, even warm. I called it “Comfortable Cotton” accord as it feels reassuring to me.
Describe the perfect setting for one to wear the 724.
724 is like a bubble in the city, it is like a pillow you want to sleep on and it translates the energizing rhythm of city living. But then, everyone should wear it however they feel best!
What inspires your creations?
Inspiration is the invisible part of creation and possibly the most important and difficult one. My main sources of inspiration come from culture, art, fashion, couture and of course, the people. The era we live in is my muse, and every part of my own personal experiences translate into my vision. I am a contemporary perfumer, proud of my Parisian roots and fond of big cities in constant motion that spawn inspiring human relationships. Love how people interact; while observing the love of cultural differences. It helps you to stay open minded, curious about things and about others. This is very important to me; this is why I find cities so inspiring. Of course, I can engage in conversations with our rose producers or bergamot harvesters, but the urban living, society in general are what inspires me the most in creation. To be relevant, you need to be connected to the world around you. You must be a chameleon and pay attention to what is happening in the world. Several of my fragrances at Maison Francis Kurkdjian were created with the same approach. L’Homme À la rose for example, it is unmistakably masculine – although many women love to wear it – and gives men the power to wear a rose, traditionally linked to women’s fragrances.
How long does it usually take you to come up with a new scent?
There isn’t a set recipe. It’s a long process but it all depends. When I create a new scent, I first focus on a general feeling. I always approach my creations with the same process. I try to envision the final image for the fragrance, and I always start with the name. It is the very first element of the creation and it sums up what I want to say with my perfume, the story I want to tell, my inspiration. It’s like the title of a book, it helps guide me on my creative path. Words are extremely important to me. After this, I start writing the formula.
To create a perfume, it can even take up to 18 months. There are two phases, starting with my time of reflection and creating the name and guideline for the scent. And then I begin the composition and spend time in the lab to create the formula.
What are some of your favourite notes to use?
My creative process is never driven by raw materials. They are pieces of the puzzle, but I focus on the overall scent. I don’t have favourite notes, or notes I don’t like in general. They are the tools I use to express myself, to tell my stories, but what matters in the end is the formula.
Have you ever looked back on one of your scents and wished there was something you could change about it?
I never look at the past, what interests me is what’s to come. The future ahead of us and all the opportunities it has to offer.
Of your many creations, which 3 are your absolute favourite?
The idea of having a favourite creation for me doesn’t exist. For me, the most exciting fragrance, is the one I have in mind to create next.
If you could only pick one scent that wasn’t your own to wear for the rest of your life, what would it be?
I actually do not wear fragrance myself. I wear my trials, I do it for work. But when I’m not work, I do not wear any. It allows me to rest my nose but also to generate a kind of hunger for new ideas.
More scent stories, click here.