Here are two basic facts: orange blossom is incredibly sexy, and perfumer Francis Kurkdjian is a master of orange blossom. It's his signature note, which makes sense why it was chosen as the focus of APOM (=A Piece of Me), probably the most personal fragrance in Maison Francis Kurkdjian's original 2009 launch. Back then, I was more taken with Cologne pour le Soir (and later with the Absolue), but recently I've started spending quality time with Kurkdjian's lighter or friendlier work, and I've been falling in love again and again.
APOM pour Femme is a bit deceiving at first. It's floral and very modern in its approach: no aldehides, nothing indloic, quite abstract at first sniff. The husband says that it's pretty, but he can't pick it in a lineup of modern well-composed florals. I've held a similar view for a very long time, but what is it about this perfume that suddenly becomes so intimate and human? It's more than the honeyed facet of both orange blossom (though that can be quite animalic) and ylang yalng. The dripping honey is more prominent as a standalone note on my skin, and that's part of it. There's also a classic, almost vintage velvet-paneled boudoir feel, with a hint of body powder on warm clean skin. But APOM isn't a vintage-inspired fragrance, and there's no civet or even a hint of cumin. Kurkdjian has managed to achieve the suggestive effect by manipulating his floral notes and laying them down on a base of cedarwood.
The result is warm, smooth, and incredibly beautiful. It creates the impression of a light and sheer chiffon scarf you'd wrap around your bare shoulders at an outdoors summer formal event, where the ruling colors are ivory, champagne, and blush. The wrap is left behind on the chair still holds the wearer's scent and allure. It shimmers in the afternoon sun like a magical object, beckoning and inviting to roll it between the fingers and feel the soft and expensive material. Once the rightful owner is back to her seat she takes it with a smile, before hurrying away again, leaving behind her a trace of an exquisite French perfume.
Maison Francis Kurkdjian- APOM Pour Femme ($195, 70ml eau de parfum) is available from Luckyscent, OsswaldNYC, Twisted Lily, Aedes, Neiman Marcus, and Bergdorf Goodman.
Photo: Catherine Deneuve for Vogue Paris, 1964.