Maison Francis Kurkdjian Gentle Fluidity – a fragrant dance of two halves

Maison Francis Kurkdjian Gentle Fluidity – a duo of fragrances encompassing the same ingredients, but with utterly differing characters and, therefore, emotional responses in the wearer. We caught up with Francis Kurkdjian himself, to discover the intricacies of two fragrances with ‘same notes, two identities‘…

Within both the Gentle Fluidity Gold and Gentle Fluidity Silver, you will find juniper berries, nutmeg, coriander, musks, amber wood and vanilla. But surely no scents have ever more firmly proved that mere lists of the materials a perfumer’s used are no better way of judging a final fragrance than being given the names of the paint colours a particular artist favours. What’s missing in the bare bones of a list is the emotional flesh of the fragrance. And MFK’s Gold and Silver get their messages across – clearly, but with infinite subtleties. Such is the skill of Kurkdjian.

So, what do they smell like? Gentle Fluidity Gold is warm, nuzzly – it glimmers the way a gilded bronzer does on the skin before wrapping you in a hug of deliciously creamy woodiness. Gentle Fluidity Silver, meanwhile, is cooler, frosted almost, the ultra refined juniper to the fore as it gently caresses the skin. Two sides of the same coin, or of your own personality, perhaps? Who better to explain them than Francis Kurkjian himself?

Beyond the technical skill of the nose, there is an alchemy that takes place – an invisible message from perfumer to perfume-wearer, and from the person who wears the scent to every passer by that smells it. Our personal reactions may not be the same, but those responses are instantaneous and unbidden. At an event hosted by fragrance writer Alice du Parcq, perfumer and founder, Francis Kurkdjian, told us the story of how the scents were inspired – alongside a glimpse of the stunning new advertising campaign, which expresses the scents in a medium close to Kurkdjian’s heart (and his past, as a ballet dancer).


The new Gentle Fluidity campaign draws the artistic and emotional analogy between perfume and dance, an art that deeply shaped Francis Kurkdjian’s personality. The complicity between the two dancers and the fluidity of their movements are a symbol of the synergy among the ingredients of the two Gentle Fluidity eaux de parfum.


Within the private area of a restaurant in London, the face of Francis Kurkdjian is virtually beamed across the channel via a large television screen. A small group of invited press are here for a Masterclass in his Gentle Fluidity fragrances.

‘I like the idea of telling a story through ballet, that’s very important to me,’ he says, as the sinuous forms of two dancers weave around eachother on screen – a visual evocation of how the fragrances are united yet apart.

‘At the very beginning I only had one scent. I thought the idea was close to unisex, or a gender free scent.’ Francis looks into the middle distance and considers awhile, as he recalls his creative influences. ‘During the process I changed my mind. I wanted to form a new shape from the same DNA, like fake twins in a way.’

‘The original name was Gender Fluidity,’ Kurkdjian elucidates, ‘but I had a friend who kept mispronouncing it, and I thought he was right actually. I like the idea of kindness in the name.’ Talking about the term ‘unisex’ and concepts of gender – in fragrance, in life itself – Kurkjian continued: ‘I think the idea of being “gender fluid” will in time even become dated, it won’t be seen as being “different” because we will have lived with [the concept], we will completely accept that. Whereas fluidity and gentleness are timeless.’

‘It’s all about how you put two things together and they can resonate very differently. The magic of using an ingredient with something else is amazing. Lemon on its own is just lemon. If you start to play and add two other notes next to each other, they vibrate differently.

For the gold version there’s an overdose of vanilla and musk. The musk gives an airiness. Like a ballon within the vanilla. In ballet, my teacher used to tell me when I jumped, you need the feeling of balloon, the feeling of floating all the while gravity is trying to pull you down.’

‘Once I’d defined the gold version, I could define the silver version. I looked at how I could reshape and rebalance. The creative process for me is always chaos, but in my head I’m organised’ he chuckled.



Discussing how it can still be difficult to get some men to try anything other than scents specifically marketed ‘for men’, Kurkdjian smiled wryly as he gave an example he’s often seen:

‘When a woman wears a man’s fragrance she doesn’t question her femininity at all. Maybe because women have worn trousers for so long? Whereas with men, if you give them a scent to smell on a white card they will like it, but then if you tell them that fragrance was made for women, the majority of them completely disregard it. Perfume is a real mirror of society…’

For more on Kurkdjian’s opinions of ‘gender’ in fragrance, do read his fascinating post Raw Materials Have No Gender, on the Maison’s website. Meanwhile, do seek out the Gentle Fluidity duo and allow them to dance on your skin – we wonder which you will be most instantly drawn to, or what occasions you might wish to wear them to express the multiple sides of your own character…


Maison Francis Kurkdjian Gentle Fluidity Gold / Maison Francis Kurkdjian Gentle Fluidity Silver £165 for 70ml eau de parfum at

By Suzy Nightingale

Feminista: the first political perfume?

Can perfumes be political? A new indie fragrance – Feminista – with the help of a world-famous perfumer and creative-project funding campaign – certainly think so…

For some time, now, fragrance houses have been slowly bringing in the idea that – shock horror! – we might want to choose scents based on what we like, not whatever gender someone in marketing assigned to them. This is something niche houses realised on long ago, but the bigger, mass-market houses have taken a little longer to catch on to.

The Idea:

‘Feminista is the first political perfume designed for all genders, building a platform to create visibility and funding for all those fighting inequality,’ they say. going on to describe how ‘A Perfume is one of the most powerful emotional products in the world. It delivers a sense of who we want to be in life or at a particular moment in time.’ We couldn’t agree more, and here’s another reason to get excited: Feminista say they are ‘…committed to spending a percentage of the sales on developing innovative, new and exiting content and education formats, support good causes and develop and fund those people that carry an all-inclusive feminism into the world.’

The Perfumer:

When Feminista had the idea of the fragrance, wanting to ‘capture the smell of intersectional feminism’, they knew they couldn’t just turn to any old perfumer. Step forward the Escentric Molecules and Heavenly Mind Series nose who’s long been described as a ‘rebel’ and ‘maverick’: Geza Schön

He saw a potential that was hidden even to us when we came up with the idea. Schön said: “It has been years since someone has come up with a truly unique concept for perfume in the industry. All the perfumes that are new on the market year after year, bore me. The idea of Feminista was as much promising as challenging, because never in history has a perfume been created as a political statement, with a strong backstory and a clear mission to become a Change Agent.”  Every ingredient that went into the scent speaks of feminist history and future, ensuring that it is as polarizing as it is comforting at times.

The Perfume:

Deliberately contradicting notes were chosen for this exciting scent, so we have violets and leather, pink peppers and cedar, juniper berry and styrax that Feminista say ‘form an extraordinary harmony that could hardly be more individual.’

Available in The Experiment (sample) form (€22 for 4x2ml eau de parfum), The Seducer (€64 for 30ml) and The Persuader (€132 for 100ml)

The Project:

For one of their first projects to highlight, Feminista reached out to Veteran producer Anne Marie Mackay, promoting the funding for her new film, The Hammer of Witches.

Anne Marie says: ‘This project is close to my heart because the persecution of all innocents is a story that must be told again and again. Though we as humans have advanced in so many ways, cruelty on a mass basis has not abated. It has been a lifetime objective for me to teach tolerance and the telling of this tale is another deeply powerful way to allow history to once again inform us of our humanity.

Its impact should be a reminder to search our own conscience, the part in all of us that remains hidden and seek out where we add to current day atrocities. By that I mean treating others with kindness and compassion should be a daily practice. By ignoring our own internal negativity we lend credence to the bigger acts committed in our name as a society.’

We love the idea of using proceeds from perfume to fund fascinating and creatively engaging projects, and really look forward to seeing who they collaborate with next.

Can perfume change the world? We’ve long thought so, and wanted to explore how Fashion, Fragrance & Feminism have always been entwined – why, historically, women were forbidden from scenting their bodies in polite society and how contemporary fragrance houses are appealing to strong, corageous young women right now. In fact, we dedicated the latest issue of our award-winning magazine The Scented Letter to this subject, and you can buy your copy here – or become a VIP Club Member to receive your downloadable copies FREE!

International Subcriptions are also now available, for only £20 annually – the perfect gift for your perfume-loving pals overseas.

Written by Suzy Nightingale