By Sharon Forrester
LONDON (Vogue) — Perfumer Francis Kurkdjian first found commercial success after developing the Le Mâle fragrance for Jean-Paul Gaultier in 1995. A celebrated nose in the fragrance industry his accolades include being named one of France’s greatest perfumers by the French Ministry of Culture in 2009, setting up his own perfume house Maison Francis Kurkdjian in the same year. In London from Paris to launch his new scent, Aqua Universalis Forte, we caught up with Kurkdjian to talk inspiration, going it alone and Kate Middleton.
Sharon Forrester: What was the inspiration behind the new Aqua Universalis Forte fragrance?
Francis Kurkdjian: I was in the middle of trialing a new bergamot presented to me by my grower in Calabria in Italy. My business partner asked me to create something as a gift for a friend — she really liked Aqua Universalis but wanted more density, more volume. I was in a rush so I gave the trial I was doing with the new bergamot away. She was full of compliments about it and my business partner said we should develop it. And so that is Forte. We called it Forte as a comparison to music — different notes that tell the same story. It’s about changing nuances of Aqua Universalis, but not the whole fragrance.
SF: How different is it working on your own line to creating a fragrance for a brand?