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Francis Kurkdjian's latest Dior fragrance captures spirit of New York

15:27, February 27

When we talk about the New Look Dior, the first thing that comes to mind is the full skirts and fitted Bar jackets, invented by Christian Dior back in the winter of 1947, those that ushered in a new era of extravagantly feminine women's wardrobe accustomed to frugality and utilitarianism. Each subsequent designer made his own unique contribution to the founder's innovative concept.

Therefore, it is not surprising that when Francis Kurkdjian, now director of perfume creation at Dior fragrances, first arrived at Dior, he wondered about its meaning. “A new look is more than a legacy and more than just a silhouette, it’s a state of mind,” he says. “It provides a lens through which to observe and reimagine the world. This spirit and the power it carries has crossed time and allows me to create new fragrances for Dior."

It was this New Look that inspired Francis' latest fragrance of the same name, which, as his first project with Dior's La Collection Privée, bridges the worlds of fashion and fragrance, a movement inspired by the late Christian Dior, who called himself "equal parts perfumer and couturier" in one elegant bottle. “The transformation of perfume into fashion was a seminal act in 1947, and today I want to once again make that connection,” Kurkdjian tells Harper’s Bazaar Arabia.

“This is my vision for the House of Dior. For me, New Look is a way to return to the roots of the House, while at the same time showing the direction in which the collection will develop.”

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New Look is a fragrance that took months to create. "The aroma is different from fashion. It can take six to eight months to create one fragrance,” Kurkdjian says. However, it was worth the wait and, reflecting the beautiful fabrics and cuts used throughout Dior's collections, Francis combined delicious ingredients including incense, aldehyde, and rich amber to create a modern scent—a combination that he believes will surprise its wearer. “There are no floral notes in this perfume,” he explains. “Flowers usually represent love and joy, but I felt like we didn’t need them this time to evoke the feelings I wanted to achieve.”

Instead, amber takes center stage, allowing for numerous variations due to its unique properties. “There are so many varieties of amber,” Kurkdjian continues. “Yes, it has to do with sensuality, but it has to do with many other things as well. I think of it as the color blue—we have sky blue, dark blue, blue eyes. The ingredient itself means almost nothing—it depends on what you pair it with—and that's why I say New Look doesn't always perform as expected."

It may seem strange, but Francis does not wear fragrances in his daily life, preferring instead to experiment with what he is currently working on, calling himself a "fragrance first client."

 


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