Mona Maine de Biran has spent her adult life travelling the world, listening to people’s fascinating stories. Now, KIERIN NYC tells the stories of her beloved home city of New York, through scent
Many people would happily settle for one stellar career – in Mona de Biran‘s case, as a successful international model. But for the KIERIN NYC co-founder, what this constantly on-the-go lifestyle really offered her was privileged access to fascinating characters and adventures in remote places many of us may never even have heard of. Later, following her return to New York after her modelling years, Mona turned her experience into an insightful lifestyle blog, ‘Manhattan Minds’, also becoming the champion of the successful TV talent show ‘Star Search’. But it doesn’t stop there…
Mona’s husband, meanwhile, had been working in the beauty industry for over twenty years, with the prestige houses of Chanel, Prada, Bvlgari and Carolina Herrera among the names on his extensive CV. When deciding to forge their talents to launch a niche fragrance house that dispelled the myths of the industry, it wasn’t her glamorous travels which inspired her – but rather the place she lived, New York, and the diverse voices and daily experiences of that city that drove her onward.
Describing what exactly perfume means to her, and why she feels Kierin NYC has something else to say, Mona explains that… ‘My passion has really always been with people. Perfumes are something that universally connect with people and move your mood. I’ve always wanted to have a voice to help empower people to feel happy and confident. With my husband’s experience in the industry, he helped me see that this was an opportunity to create our own fragrances to tell those real stories of the city, rather than those stylised celebrity-driven tales you might see in “Sex and the City.”‘
When deciding on the themes or stories for the fragrances, Mona talks excitedly about the power of perfume: ‘Wearing the right fragrance for you can be like putting on a battle dress or going to peace-out in a park. I’m trying to use fragrance to actualise my “now”, not only to recall memories but to be in the moment, to live in the present.’
Of course, finding the right perfumer for this project was vital, and Mona could not have chosen better than the brilliant Mathieu Nardin. A native of Grasse, born into a perfuming family, Mathieu first gravitated to the house of Robertet, going on to create fragrances for the likes of Etro, Kenneth Cole, Houbigant and several bestsellers for Miller Harris. Mathieu initially came up with 20 fragrance ideas, but they work collaboratively rather than dictating a strict brief to him. ‘That’s the point of niche fragrance, to allow the perfumer to be creatively free and then to edit those as co-creators. Together we can fully tell those stories, and allow people to find their own within them. ’
So which KIERIN NYC story will you choose to wear? Feeling sluggish and in need of uplifting? 10 a.m. Flirt is a juicy, green take on fig that feels clean, a go-anywhere scent filled with waxy gardenia and cashmere-soft wood to perk up the soul on grey days and revel in happiness year-round. Another cheering pick-me-up is found in Sunday Brunch – luminous bergamot and sparkling lemon atop a soothing brew of Earl Grey tea and soft, sunshine-y jasmine.
Santal Sky, meanwhile, swathes you in a comfort blanket of cardamom-flecked, creamy sandalwood, a wearable serenity for stressed commuters and desk-bound office workers with decadent saffron-speckled vetiver to delight you ‘til dawn, and far beyond. (All of these fragrances are impressively long-lasting.) Perhaps the most impactful, though, is Nitro Noir – a powerhouse contemporary Chypre/floral that positively swings its hips, with ripe pink berries swirled through rich patchouli and dusted with powdery orris for a hypnotic, individualistic hurrah.
Making time to be mindful and ‘in the now’ has never been more important in our busy, stressful lives – and with Kierin NYC, we’ve already found several fragrant stories we want to immerse ourselves in. And like many perfumista fans who’ve already discovered this dynamic new house, we can’t wait for the next scent story to unfold…