October 04 2010
I was feeling out of sorts after a terrible brunch at far-too-cool Hotel Costes in central Paris the first time I chanced on Francis Kurkdjian’s jewel box-like perfumery; but after 30 minutes inside his shop, my mood was buoyant. Though he may not be a household name outside the fragrance world, among nosey types, he’s part Damien Hirst, part Picasso (early in his career, Kurkdjian cooked up Gaultier’s Le Male, still one of the top-selling fragrances in the world).
His store displays some of his not-for-sale collaborations, such as an experimental scent for artist Sophie Calle called The Smell of Money, as well as a cluster of his playful, covetable collections. I loved Les Bulles d’Agathe, named after his niece and aimed at children – scents such as cut grass and mint released in bubbles when a wand is blown (€12).
But for me, too absent-minded to remember to wear cologne most mornings, it was his leather wristbands, Tour Atour (pictured), that wowed. A nod to the early days of fragrancing, when gloves were doused in scent to kill the tanning smell, they’re monogrammed with a silver buckle and dispense a subtle scent for several weeks without having to remember a thing (€140).