Francis Kurkdjian talks taste: Part One

Paris-based perfumer Francis Kurkdjian has collaborated with many of the great fashion houses and founded his eponymous Maison in 2009

Francis Kurkdjian at Maison Francis Kurkdjian, Paris
Francis Kurkdjian at Maison Francis Kurkdjian, Paris | Image: © Lea Crespi

My personal style signifier is one of my many scarves, made of cotton, silk or cashmere, depending on the season. My favourites are from Faliero Sarti in Florence and are made of lightweight cashmere in solid colours. I have to protect my nose and throat for my work – getting sick is a big fear. From €160; Via della Spada 24/R, 50123 Florence (+3905-5239 6538, and branches/stockists.

Faliero Sarti scarf, €325
Faliero Sarti scarf, €325 | Image:

The last thing I bought and loved was a brown leather wallet from Isaac Reina, a designer based in Paris’s third arrondissement. He makes sleek, simple, elegant wallets, laptop covers and bags that are like Hermès in terms of style and quality, but with a modern twist. €469; 38 Rue de Sévigné, Paris 75003 (+331-4278 8195;


And the thing I’m eyeing next is a new dining table, but I need to commission it first. Ideally it would be a round or oval shape, as I think that’s more inviting, and it would seat 10 to 12 people in order to host dinner parties. And I’d like one with a wood or marble surface, as the sound of things being placed on glass is just annoying.

Isaac Reina wallet, €469
Isaac Reina wallet, €469

An indulgence I would never forego is a particular pastry called religieuse [French for nun]. It is made of two choux cases filled with coffee-flavoured cream and is delicious. The best are from Stohrer, a bakery that has been in business since the 1730s. 51 Rue Montorgueil, Paris 75002 (+331-4233 3820;

Formentera, Spain
Formentera, Spain | Image: © Massimo Ripani/SIME/4Corners Images

The grooming staple I’m never without is basic Nivea Creme. My dermatologist recommended it once and, while I thought she was crazy, she is very well respected so I followed her advice. It is now the only product I use, besides the Invigorating Scrub Mask with white clay by Herboristerie du Palais Royal. Herboristerie du Palais Royal Invigorating Scrub Mask, €9.90; 11 Rue des Petits Champs, Paris 75001 (+331-4297 5468; Nivea Creme, from £1.50 for 50ml;

The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran
The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran

The one artist whose work I would collect if I could is Elias Crespin. I discovered him just a few weeks ago at the Galerie Denise René and his work Plano Flexionante Circular is pure poetry – so elegant and mysterious. His oeuvre lies somewhere between sculpture and installation, and looking at his pieces provides great moments of subtle joy and emotion. Galerie Denise René, 22 Rue Charlot, Paris 75003 (+331-4887 7394;


An unforgettable place I’ve travelled to in the past year is Formentera. I have spent a week there with my closest friends every year for the past 10 years. We stay in a beautiful private house that was redesigned by Philippe Starck. It is an old barn in the middle of nowhere with grey concrete floors, and lots of white and blue elements mixed in. And the rooftop terrace is stunning. I think this is the perfect place to be.

The best souvenir I’ve brought home is dinnerware from Japan. It is exquisite and features various shapes, all in the loveliest pale-blue hue. I bought it in Tokyo, in the Ginza district, right across from the Kabuki-za theatre, at a store whose name I couldn’t understand.

The books on my bedside table are The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran and The Sower by Kemble Scott. I also like to browse magazines such as Stiletto that have a wonderful, large format. I tend to read more on planes now – especially Courrier International on my iPad.

An object I would never part with is my Pleyel grand piano. It was my great-uncle’s piano, and he was a conductor, composer and pianist. I’ve played the piano since I was seven years old and I’ve always had this one in my life. Music is something I can’t live without, and I still play for an hour a day at the weekends.

My favourite websites are news-related ones such as Atlantico and The Huffington Post. For beauty, I like Into the Gloss, and I also enjoy Ma Récréation, a great lifestyle blog by Lili Barbery-Coulon, who is a journalist for Le Monde and a former Vogue Paris beauty editor.

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