Kilian Hennessy, for the first time in Italy to speak about his fragrances By Kilian in the new roman Campomarzio 70 store, waits me in a quite corner to sit for a smoking cup of coffee and to satisfy my curiosity.
Talking to him I understand it's just passion that driven him not to live in the shadow of his family name. So he's been curious about smell since his teenage and made significant experiences in communication for the perfume industry later. Moreover he dug deeper into the olfactory know-how and translated finally his way to live this passion into his frances line L'oeuvre noire featuring a stunning black eco-compatible packaging (bottles can be refilled) to which he recently added the Arabian Nights ouds collection.
E: In many interviews you said you have no idea about who is your typical customer. Which is the idea you’d like your customers think exudes from the packaging, the fragrances, the notes inside them?
K: I don’t want to know, I’m not interested about that. When I always think to all the companies that is the question they was up to "what is the customer we’re targetting?" we in the concept board said bla bla bla let’s do a lots of tests to see what is the customer standard. This doesn’t interest me. What interests me is to do a beautiful collections with lots of meaning before, with a story behind, with interesting references, with literature references, artistic references. I put a lot of things that I think, I am more clever in a way: the pieces are on the table but I don’t want to put them together, you have to do that. I don’t want you to think what I want, I let you do it with your mind, I just give you the pieces and you put them together the way you like.
E: Your "L’Oeuvre noire" has strong literary reference to Marguerite Yourcenar and "les poètes maudits" works. You also realized special limited edition bottles featuring artworks and named a scent in connection with music. Where does your last creation "Love and tears" takes inspiration from?
K: Oh something very different. Love and tears, is the forth chapter of the Love series. In the Love series there’s Prelude to love: invitation, that’s meant to express the beginning of a relationship, then Love: don’t be shy, passion of a relationship, then Beyond love: prohibited it is when you may be tempted by prohibited games in a relationship, and Love and tears: surrender that’s the idea of the end of a love relationship but also the idea of surrending to a new love that was exactly what I was living at that time because I was divorcing from my first wedding while I was loving someone else.
E: So you put a piece of your story inside it…
K: Correct, but in the end everybody see. L’oevre noire is about life, I mean, everybody has surrender to love, passion, forbidden, tears and love, everybody has been tempted by liaisons dangereuses, everybody has cruel intentions sometimes or tried artificial paradises. You know, for me the collection is really about life so it’s a lot about a piece of me but I think a lot of people will find their pieces, because everybody has felt the same emotions.
E: On your website instead of classic pyramids, you found an original way giving the recipe of your perfumes. How did you have such a smart idea?
K: Everything I try to do is I try to put perfumery back to the tell the truth. one of the major issues about perfumery is that people are telling so many lies about perfumes, the producers of perfumes are all telling lies I mean, perfumes contain flowers and woods and oud and so, I heard everything. One of the companies say "Oh we made a perfume with a flower growing in the Himalaya mountain between the months of march and the month of may". We needed to tell the truth to the customers: the truth is very simple that the perfume is a cooking recipe. Perfumer is like a chef and the materials are all the same, the talent is not in the kind of materials, the chef is not working with a new animal or a new fish, or a new vegetable. The vegetables, fish, meat are the same for everyone, the talent is in the way you do the recipe. That’s the thing about perfumes and the product we’re trying to do. And that’s the thing the customer realizes, and help them to say "There’s a lot of lavender now I understand" And help them to say "Oh this is what’s inside"
E: So more true to the perfume?
K: True to the perfume, exact.
E: What’s the recipe for a good perfume?
K: If I’d have it I would sell it for millions!
We both laugh, nice line, I'd do the same, so I go on with the last question
E:What’s next in the By Kilian collection?
K: We will lauch in September the last perfume of L’oeuvre noire that will be the end of the collection and the next year we will launch a new collection
E: Any anticipation about the new launch?
K: Oh It will sum up everything
E: So you want to be mysterious…
K: Oh well, you will have to wait just a couple of months more I guess.