As Kilian Hennessy celebrates ten years of redefining the art of modern perfumery, he invites us into a new Golden Age, inspired by the sensual glamour and sumptuous luxury of fin de siècle Vienna, and its most subversive artist, Gustav Klimt.
Klimt’s decadent visual vocabulary and deft use of gold—its warmth, aura, and poetic shadow play—were natural starting points. “Klimt is the authority when it comes to gold artwork, gold leaf,” says Kilian. The universe he created, full of seduction and opulence represents “a cultural reference, a touchstone—more than just decoration.”
A controversial figure in his day—after his work was criticized, early in his career, as being pornographic, he never accepted a public commission again—Klimt pushed the boundaries of fine art, using beauty to transcend contemporary notions of what was acceptable. He created a bold, brave, rarified universe that shares many similarities with the captivating, carnal, and fragrant world of Kilian.
“It doesn’t interest me to provoke just to provoke. I need artistic reasoning,” says Kilian. “The idea was to play on the contrasts between shadow and light, to express that we are all made of good and bad—but within light and dark there are a myriad of facets. I wanted to achieve this duality with perfume.”
Kilian introduces two fragrances, each of which plays with dualities: darkness and light, femininity and masculinity, modernity and proud tradition. They are both distinguished by a bright opening laced with bergamot, and a deep, complex drydown. They magically conjure the notion of gold in scent, and, like Klimt’s work itself, are richly textured, sensual, mysterious, and extravagant.
“I wanted to mark this milestone with something unexpected. Something out of the norm, where I would be able to take inspiration from fine art and translate it into the world of perfume.” – Kilian Hennessy
Elegant, daring and seductive.
Inspired by the dashing, golden-armored chevalier in Klimt’s 1902 Beethoven Frieze, Gold Knight contrasts the addictive dark sensuousness of patchouli with the effervescent brightness of bergamot and anise, and warm golden shimmer of vanilla and honey.
As perfumer Pascal Gaurin says, “Gold Knight is like liquid gold melting over a dark sensual armor.”