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
Woman in Gold
A perfume as complex and dazzling as the woman who wears it.
Inspired by the 1907 portrait of leading Viennese art patron and taste-maker Adele Bloch-Bauer—the only woman Klimt painted twice—Woman in Gold is full of the same shimmering complexity, bewitching glamour, and intrigue. The notes conjure, in scent, the delicate gold leafing and play between light and shadow, for which the painting is celebrated.
Perfumer Calice Becker was inspired by the painting’s fascinating contrasts and complexities, which she describes as “texturized and brilliant, rich and voluptuous.”
“The unique top note unveils a sponge bergamot oil, a beautiful quality extracted by ancestral techniques,” says Becker. “Its zesty luminosity is the fragrant expression of this brightness. The petal-y rose heart depicts all of the facets of the rose. Finally, vanilla absolute’s unctuosity appears generously in the drydown, adorned by an exclusive patchouli molecule, the Akigalawood.”
bergamot, rose petals, vanilla absolute, Akigalawood (patchouli molecule)