I'm an ass.
I have a confession. I didn’t want to like the Maison Francis Kurkjian line. I wasn’t hoping for his failure by any means, but I didn’t personally want to like the line. It’s targeted at the perfume wearer I’m not, nor want to be. I recognize the value of branding, product identity, coherence, etc. to achieve the sales. But this line seems to sell itself as superfluous luxe. Scent your way through a life of unfocussed privilege.
The brand seems breathless to cross the line from quality products to be appreciated, to finery to be consumed. I know MFK aspires to be the Guerlain of the 21st century. But it seems more like (while this is unlikely to be taken as an insult, it is intended as one) the Hermes of perfume. To me, Hermes is a collection of painstakingly well-crafted baubles with a cost-to-function ratio that can’t be assessed since there is no function save the symbolism of affluence.
But my negativity has bitten me in the ass. The three perfumes I’ve tried in this line are pretty spectacular. Lumiere Noire pour Homme isn’t my bag, but is a seminal contribution to the resuscitation of the chypre. Cologne pour le Soir, the fragrance and the notion, take my breath away. Now Amyris pour Femme, the exceptional every-day fragrance. Amyris captures the logic that $2 K is better spent on a few ‘perfect’ pair of trousers and sweaters to wear often than the same amount spent on a suit you might wear once or twice.
I wanted to dog MFK for making perfume as decoration. I was entirely wrong. Amyris pour Femme is the exact opposite of what I wanted to accuse this line of. It is a lesson in the value of everyday quality. I imagine there are many people who simply want to wear a pretty perfume, and Amyris is a pretty perfume. But it is exceptionally pretty. It’s not so much minimal as it is to-the-point. It doesn’t require theory or critical thought. Its beauty is more self-evident than most fragrances.
Don’t get me wrong. You can think about this perfume. It has a clear intention, it is self-possessed. It has such a forthright demeanor, that it manages to come off as both unrestrained and austere. Its composition has that balance and effortlessness that tells you that it wasn’t found by accident. A perfumer has to be deliberate to strike these balances. The fragrance just doesn’t show the sweat that must have gone into it.
So to Mr. Kurkdjian, I apologize for the meanness of my assumptions. And thank you for proving me wrong.