“I always believe that perfume is as much about seduction as it is about protection,” Kilian Hennessy tells me proudly. “You go on a date, you put perfume on, you hope that the scent will magically capture someone’s attention. But when you think about when you put perfume on in the morning, you’re not in seduction mode unless there’s someone at work you have an eye on.” It’s this seduction that initially lured Hennessy – a great-grandson of the Hennessy cognac dynasty – into the world of fragrance, and lured myself into the world of Kilian.
Not just another luxury fragrance brand, there is something different about Kilian. Something magic. A world of uncompromising hyper-luxury, it not only tells a story, but it sells this story with mystery. Mystery is a difficult phenomena to capture – let alone master – and yet Hennessy does this brilliantly, crafting his fragrance with both enigma and soul, and most importantly, a sense of unexpectedness.
Kilian believes it is a great story which is at the crux of exceptional fragrance. “A perfume must be, at first, a great story before being a beautiful olfactory harmony.” Honing this filmic quality of fragrance, Kilian sees a bottle of perfume playing out much like a film would. “A film director first writes the script and then begins the production…this is exactly how I went about developing each collection,” he muses. “I chose to name each perfume with both a ‘title’ and a ‘sub-title’, expressing the notion that each scent is the beginning of a real story, one that has yet to be told.” It is lucky then, that Kilian Hennessy is a wonderful storyteller, a formidable director, who creates perfumes that express the emotion carried by their name.
Kilian the brand includes nine collections and more than 35 fragrances. Niche, in terms of its alchemy, vast in terms of its breadth; these complex, interesting, intriguing collections feature fragrances of both light and shade, of good and evil, of stories to savour, slowly. It is what Kilian calls, “Perfume as an Art,” a wearable art which captures the ephemeral for eternity.
Like a whiff of the times, they are also fast-moving and agile. Pliant, malleable, present; each perfume moves not only with the times but with changing tastes. And it is Kilian’s mission to capture this, suspend in it scent, and immortalise this moment forever – or a day, depending on how the wearer feels in that very instant. Stripping fragrance back to how it should be – luxurious – is Kilian’s great strength, and one the brand takes immense pride in. Taking perfume back to its origins, when bottle and box were its coat of arms, is the blueprint of a brand which may not be steeped in history, but has an exceptional appreciation for and knowledge of.
Whether your’e a Good Girl Gone Bad – voluptuous and innocent – or a Dark Lord – a heady gentleman of the night – each fragrance is nuanced with beautiful, unexpected accords. Like a message in a bottle, a single spritz of Kilian transports you somewhere. It moves you. And that is the greatest art of them all.
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kilian good girl gone bad Refillable Spray In Its Clutch 50ml, $430. shop now