The Founder: Kilian Hennessy
Heir to a long line of cognac makers who were pioneers in luxury, Kilian decided to take up the torch of family tradition. Creating a new luxury brand was definitely a challenge worthy of his predecessors.
His childhood haunts included the family cellars in Cognac. Before graduating from CELSA, he wrote a thesis on the semantics of scent, in search of a ‘language’ common to gods and mortals. Remembering the "angels’ share" as part of his heritage, he was led into the world of perfumery. The "angels’ share" is what the House of Hennessy calls the percentage that - inexplicably - evaporates from cognac cellars, like an offering to the gods.
Many of Kilian’s fragrances today carry this childhood memory as they are reminiscent of the sugar in the alcohol and the wood of the cognac barrels.
“I want to put perfumery back on its pedestal by going back to the truth about perfume; back to the way perfume was made in the late 19th and the early 20th century, but adding a contemporary twist at the same time.”
After graduating, he then went on to train with the greatest noses in perfumery and worked for the most prestigious perfume houses such as Christian Dior, Paco Rabanne, Alexander McQueen and Giorgio Armani. In 2007, Kilian launched his own namesake brand with the ambition of reflecting not only his distinct personality, but also to achieve a perfect alliance between elegance and uncompromising luxury. His “eco-luxe” philosophy that each bottle can be refilled and kept for a lifetime catapulted the brand to the top of the fragrance market and into a niche of its very own.
Art and Culture Inspirations
When Kilian speaks about his perfumes, he’ll “stumble across” literary or cinematographic references, or sensual allusions (to good food, or the skin), as if his work were constantly (deliberately) set in vibration by this referencing system. These are the rungs of the ladder leading to his perfumes, which do not spring from a cloud, or a nose or a pistil, but from what makes us better: a museum, the work of a filmmaker or composer, an evening out, a restaurant, another person.
Making Perfume Visible
While art leaves its mark, perfume has an inherently immaterial dimension. The top notes, the heart notes, citrus or explosive. But there must something for the eye to take in: the bottle, the material, the vaporiser; and the box, the bed in which it lies, like an echo, an apparition, a transition to the real. Kilian and his artisans opted to risk coming down to earth, to work with silver, gold, Calais lace and lacquer; to seek ways to recharge (and not throw away); to dare to interpret what they dream, draw out the essence, immortalise. To translate with the risk of betraying, but also to reconnect. Find oneself.
True Luxury Should Last Forever
Luxury, like happiness, is the blurry notion of something good that happens. The art of Kilian is to capture it, like a whiff of the times, and make it last. His perfumes are messages conveyed in a mist, or a gust, to defy fate, and that may just take hold, endure; slide into a heady, addictive eternity. Luxury should always be lasting, and that is a voluptuous challenge, to capture what is ephemeral to better savour it. To slow down time and enhance the sensations. To go back to the origins of perfume, when bottle and box were its coat of arms; the embodiment of a spirit.
The Golden Era #Kilian10years
In 2017 and ten years since its launch, the world of Kilian includes more than 35 scents, spanning across different fragrance collections including: “L’Oeuvre Noire”, “Arabian Nights”, “Asian Tales”, “In the Garden of Good & Evil” and “Addictive State of Mind".
Kilian continues to create unexpected products that embody ultimate sophistication and timeless luxury with a collection of wearable scented jewelry and decorative objects for the home.
As the Kilian brand evolves and matures, the one aspect which remains consistent is that each and every product created embodies ultimate sophistication and timeless luxury.
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