11 oct 2021

Christian Dior Appoints Perfume Prodigy Francis Kurkdjian as Creative Director of its Perfumes

For more than twenty-five years, Francis Kurkdjian designed perfumes for many brands including Jean Paul Gaultier and Narciso Rodriguez, before devoting himself almost exclusively to those of his own company. After Maison Francis Kurkdjian joined the LVMH group four years ago, the fifty-year-old has been appointed to the very prestigious position of creative director of Christian Dior perfumes, succeeding François Demachy.

Among perfumers, Francis Kurkdjian is an authoritative name. If the Frenchman is regularly referred to as a “precocious talent”, it is because he signed one of the most popular and best-selling perfumes in the world at the age of only twenty-five: Le Mâle by Jean Paul Gaultier. Before experiencing success thanks to this fragrance,  and then confirming it with his creations for many houses as well as his own for more than ten years, the young Francis Kurkdjian did not have the ambition to follow this career: “I never wanted to be a perfumer… I grew up in the suburbs, in an Armenian family, with open parents who accepted from my childhood that I did ballet every night after my classes. At 13, I failed the entrance exam to the Opera. I slowly dropped out of dance until I was 25. I tried my hand at fashion. I was told that I had no future there. At the time, perfume was the emanation of couture. And the path was simpler. It worked, I never asked myself the question of whether I liked it or not”, he confided to Numéro in 2017.


When he came of age, the man who dreamed of being a prima ballerina finally distanced himself from this project and launched himself into perfume after studying at Isipca, the school of perfumery. In 2001, he created his tailor-made perfume workshop and continues to imagine fragrances for multiple houses, each as prestigious as the next, such as Burberry, Carven, Elie Saab, Kenzo and Narciso Rodriguez, for whom he co-signed the emblematic For Her with Christine Nagel. At the same time, Francis Kurkdjian presents numerous large-scale olfactory installations and performances at the Grand Palais and the Palace of Versailles, in collaboration with artists from all walks of life such as Sophie Calle and choreographer Christian Rizzo. This career path finally led him in 2009 to found his own house in his name, which he has been feeding for twelve years with more than twenty atypical and daring olfactory creations, including the international successes L’Aqua Universalis and Baccarat Rouge 540. Success was once again on the agenda: in 2017,  Maison Francis Kurkdjian joined the LVMH group. Always keen to anchor himself in reality and to innovate, the perfumer unveiled there two years later two newgenderless fragrances  under the same name: Gentle Fluidity.


Now fifty-two years old, Francis Kurkdjian has just been appointed creative director ofChristian Dior perfumes, succeeding the renowned nose François Demachy, who has been working there since 2006. If he had already composed the delicious Eau Noire and Cologne Blanche, within the Dior Private Collection, the fifty-year-old French will therefore imagine new perfumes for the Parisian house as much as he will be able to revisit existing fragrances, as his predecessor did with the emblematic Miss Dior. “Francis Kurkdjian will build his creations on an immense olfactory heritage, as much rooted in the use of exceptional flowers as in the daring creative acts of the house since 1947,” said Laurent Kleitman, Chairman and CEO of Christian Dior Perfumes.