A native of France, Kilian Hennessy (known as "Kilian") has luxury in his blood. Born to a long line of cognac makers, Kilian followed his family's high-end tradition while delving into a new arena: perfumes.
Kilian graduated from the School of Higher Studies in the Information and Communication Sciences (CELSA) at the University of Paris, where he wrote his thesis on the semantics of scent. His research led him to the world of perfumery, and he fell in love.
"I often feel that perfume chose me more than I chose perfume," Kilian says. "When I started writing my thesis ... I decided to follow a 'nose' training just to be able to understand what I was going to write about. But as soon as I started, I got hooked. I instantly felt that perfume was going to be 'it.'"
After graduating from CELSA, Kilian worked with perfume lines for fashion houses including Christian Dior, Paco Rabanne, Alexander McQueen and Giorgio Armani. In 2007, Kilian launched his namesake brand. He now has a total of 19 scents spanning four fragrance collections.
Kilian's latest collection, "In the Garden of Good and Evil," plays on the classic vision of Eden with a modern twist. Presenting three interpretations of forbidden fruit, Kilian pairs intoxicating fruit and floral scents with uncommon ones like black currant and cinnamon.
Kilian's collections are available at Saks Fifth Avenue (The Shops at Canal Place, 301 Canal St., 504-524-5200; www.-saksfifthavenue.com). A travel-size perfume costs $145, and a 1.7-oz. spray costs $235. — POLLY SAWABINI