The Covid-19 pandemic has been an up-and-down ride for fragrance. With major markets experiencing a slump, many of the world’s leading fragrance makers are tilting their hats towards China.

Traditionally, China has been a small market by contrast to the size of its population but the tide is turning. Mintel estimates that fragrance sales in China reached US$1.2 billion in 2020.

The future looks even brighter, with sales expected to achieve annual growth of 17 per cent to reach US$2.39 billion by 2025, says the data tracker.

Dior, Chanel, YSL and Giorgio Armani are top-of-mind for Chinese fans of designer fragrances. Miss Dior, for example, has been a bestseller for many years.

Parfums Christian Dior appointed Francois Demachy, one of the world’s great noses, as its in-house perfumer 15 years ago. A first for the prestige fashion house.

Demachy is now retiring after a glittering career at Dior, which has included the creation of Sauvage, one of the world’s best-selling men’s prestige fragrance, and the re-tweaking of women’s global hits –  J’adore and Miss Dior.

Dior has appointed Francis Kurdjian as its new Perfume Creation Director. A titan of the fragrance world, he needs little introduction. In 1995, at the age of 26, he exploded onto the world’s fragrance scene with Le Male by Jean Paul Gaultier – still a blockbuster juice.

Kurkdjian has also created many other top-selling fragrances for a who’s who of famous brands, including Lancôme, Giorgio Armani, Elizabeth Arden, Versace, YSL, Guerlain and Elie Saab. In 2009, he founded his own luxury fragrance house, Maison Francis Kurkdjian, which is sold in 300 locations worldwide, including Mecca, and has become a powerhouse niche brand.

LVMH bought a majority stake in Maison Francis Kurkdjian in 2017. The world’s largest luxury goods group also owns Parfums Christian Dior and Kurkdjian will continue to helm his namesake brand.

The new appointment heralds a new era for Dior as major fragrance markets return to growth and China presents increased opportunity. But Kurkdjian is no stranger to Dior. In 2004, he created Cologne Blanche and Eau Noire for the company. The latter remains part of Dior’s exclusive Collection Privée.

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