Kilian Hennessy, the heir to the House of Kilian, has an enviable legacy. He is a descendant of Richard Hennessy who was the founder of Hennessy Cognac. His grandfather, the one he was named after, was responsible for the Louis Vuitton and Jas Hennessy merger in 1987. But, Kilian decided to take a different path despite what had been laid out for him.
After finishing his degree in communications from the School of Higher Studies in Information and Communication Sciences at the Sorbonne, Paris (CELSA), Kilian was expected to join the family business. Taking a detour, he started working with the semiology of odours, and enrolled himself at the Cinquième Sens, the perfume school in Paris. The outcome: Kilian was smitten for life. After many years in marketing at Dior, Paco Rabanne and L’Oréal, he established his own brand in 2007.
Recreating an emotion
“A great perfume, for me, cannot be limited to simply being a pretty harmony of olfactory notes. I often compare it to a film,” he says. According to him, there is a plot, dialogues, even lighting, and everything else that comes together to result in either a masterpiece or not. He also tells us that
just the name of the perfume can influence our perception of the fragrance within that alone has tremendous power to invoke a sentiment. The bottle, its box and the image that go with the perfume are essential in the complete creation of a scent.
It is a need for freedom and of emotion that has always guided his vision. “From the very beginning, I knew where I was headed. I was convinced that in leaving absolute freedom to smell and our sense of it, we would arrive at and discover noble harmonies, those never experienced before,” says the aesthete. His drive? To bring the perfume back to its pedestal and re-establish its boudoir core, all the while giving it a modern garb.
In 2014, Kilian launched his first line of perfumed jewellery, giving women an opportunity to wear their fragrances in a different way. A year later, he created the first collection of perfumed objects for interiors. But this perfume artist doesn’t plan on remaining in this realm. When asked about how he sees his house in the next decade, he uses what has already been accomplished as a point of reference. “It was 10 years ago that I believed my convictions would lead me to a life of artisanal work. I had 10 retail stores across the world as opposed to 400 today. 10 years from now, I hope to continue pushing boundaries, exploring new styles and offering new experiences such as my line of perfumed lingerie,” he says.
But, before all of that, the house is all set to release its new collection of perfumed jewellery created with Elie Top, director of jewellery at Lanvin, and will celebrate its anniversary with two extreme versions of their two bestsellers, Good Girl Gone Bad and Straight to Heaven.
Talking about the latest from his stable, Kilina tells us about the tremendous accomplishment by Calice Becker with her first collection named L’OEuvre Noire, which started out using a combination of the most expensive and ambitious materials. A trend that continued in the following collections: accomplishment by Calice Becker with her first collection named L’OEuvre Noire, which started out using a combination of the most expensive and ambitious materials. A trend that continued in the following collections:
Arabian Nights, Asian Tales, In the Garden of Good and Evil, and Addictive State of Mind. Each of these fragrances inhabits bottles of unbelievable beauty. The bottles are made of the purest hand-carved glass and then slapped on with a brass label on which the alphabets are embellished with liquid enamel from a syringe. “I wanted to distance myself from the actual conception of the perfume. The bottles are disposable and the contents interchangeable. In my head, I had the image of the hairdressers of yesteryears, where women lined their perfumes up in delicate and precious vials,” Kilian says. Watch this space.