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3.21.2017

Maison Francis Kurkdjian

LVMH has acquired a majority stake in Maison Francis Kurkdjian. "We thought it would be an amazing opportunity to anchor everything we have done over the past nine years and concentrate on continuing to drive the business with greater experience and greater means", said the French label's CEO Marc Chaya. "I'’m not afraid of being bigger, but I think you need the right people to implement what I am creating", added the eponymous perfumer. The announcement is significant in that beauty acquisitions by LVMH are few and far between. It does, however, follow a string of acquisitions by Estée Lauder and L'Oréal which have been investing in smaller, independent beauty and cosmetics brands.
Maison Francis Kurkdjian was launched with a line of 25 products and a boutique in Paris. "Marc and I never thought we were niche", said Monsieur Kurkdjian, who created perfumes for established brands, and is the 'nose' behind some of the industry's best-selling scents, including Jean-Paul Gaultier's Le Male, Christian Lacroix's C’est la Fête, Narciso Rodriguez's Narciso for Him , Dior's Eau Noire, Lancôme's Miracle pour Homme... "When you start a company, you start small", he continued. "We were privately funded from the two of us, as well as a third party, so it was small because we had limited resources. If I create a perfume, it doesn't matter if it goes into one bottle or ten thousand; it's the same thing. At some point, I'd hoped that we could get bigger and the idea is to do that under the umbrella of LVMH".
Today, Maison Francis Kurkdjian has two stores in Paris, four in Taiwan, one in Malaysia and one in Dubai. It is stocked in more than forty countries worldwide, with more than thirty counters and a presence in almost five hundred retailers, including Le Printemps, El Corte Ingles, Daimaru, Takashimaya, Mecca Cosmetica, KaDeWe, Bergdorf Goodman, Neiman Marcus, Selfridges, Liberty, Harrods, Harvey Nichols and John Lewis. "Department stores are our main destinations", said Monsieur Chaya, a former partner at Ernst & Young in Paris. "They want to create an opportunity for independent brands to grow, and finally the customer wants to have different experiences of perfume and that means the independent market has grown in proportion". Karen Grant, global beauty industry analyst at NPD, said the market for cult frag-only brands, such as Byredo and Le Labo, is growing by 50% annually, prompting a flurry of acquisitions by companies like Esteé Lauder, which bought Le Labo and Editions de Parfums Frédéric Malle in 2014, and Manzanita Capital, owner of Diptyque and SpaceNK, which bought Byredo in 2013.
The Maison Francis Kurkdjian collection is sketched like a fragrance wardrobe, with myriad of facets of emotions. Designed in the tradition of luxury French perfumery, it advocates nevertheless a contemporary vision of the art of creating and wearing perfume. Maison Francis Kurkdjian's unique imprimatur is fostered by the creative power of a man who has a taste for precision. Recognized as one of the world's most celebrated perfumers, Francis Kurkdjian imagined a fragrance territory of a free, sensual and delicate perfectionism. The Maison is guided by enchanting yet precise codes: purity, sophistication, timelessness and the boldness of a classicism reinvented. Exceptional know-how come together and echo off each other. They are continually writing a number of sensory adventures, in which perfume is, naturally, the hero.

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