Scented Makeup Is Now a Thing, Thanks to This Man

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perfumer kilian hennessy
Photo: Courtesy of By Kilian

You may associate the name Kilian Hennessy with perfume – he has been one of the biggest names in the fragrance world for over a decade, after all – but for the first time ever, he’s breaking into the makeup world with his new line of scented lipsticks. Introducing ‘Le Rouge Parfum’, the ultimate way to paint your pout red and scent your smile. To dub the concept addictive doesn’t quite cut it.

During his recent trip to Dubai, where he opened the doors to his new state-of-the-art boutique in The Dubai Mall, Hennessy sat down with Savoir Flair to talk all things beauty. Not only did we find out how his store is shaking up the scent shopping experience, but we also discovered why his lipsticks are so unique and what other makeup products are on the horizon – all scented, of course.


Thank you for having us in your new store. Can you tell us a little bit about it?
We opened four days ago, so it’s really new! It’s the new design concept that we started implementing last year, but it’s the first Kilian store of this kind. The whole store is built on key areas. There’s a ‘Body Pleasures’ area with a sink where you can discover our lotions, shower gels, and body oils. We also have our ‘Art of Gifting’ area where you can customize the wrapping, the ribbons, and the clutch. Everything can be customized according to your taste!

We also have the ‘Home’ area and ‘Boutique Exclusive’, where we have products exclusive to Kilian stores. Right now, we have seven scents here, one for each of our stores. We also have ‘The Bar’, which is the core of the new design concept. It’s where we offer consultations with a menu of services, including tasting, mixology, gifting, and refills. The bar has all of our scents classified from the lightest to the darkest, similar to a bar menu.

The store is all about the experience of scent. Was that the inspiration behind the bar set-up?
Correct, it’s all about the experience. Today, you can buy everything online, and anything you want can be delivered, so you need to give the customer a really good reason to step out of the house to buy something. That’s why we want to give customers a full-on, immersive experience.

Photo: Courtesy of Kilian

What do women do wrong when shopping for perfume?
I don’t think there’s a ‘wrong’ way to shop for perfume, but the worst thing would be to force yourself to wear a scent that you don’t feel comfortable wearing. It should be pure pleasure. You should feel stronger, sexier, and more beautiful wearing a perfume.

How do you want women to feel when they wear your perfumes?
Protected. It’s easy to understand why perfume can make you feel more attractive, but for me, that’s not enough. Perfume acts as a protective layer. It’s like armor, a shield that protects you from the outside world. That’s why I have a shield motif on the side of my bottles – it’s the Shield of Achilles. From day one, I wanted my perfumes to have both protective and seductive qualities.

What’s your top tip for someone shopping for a new scent?
Take the time to really discover all the scents that are available out there, and which one fits your personality and mood. We don’t wear just one scent anymore – everybody picks from a wardrobe of scents depending on what they’re wearing, their mood, the season, etc. The right scent puts you in the right mood for the event you’re going to. You wouldn’t wear the same accessories or the same bag to every event, and perfume should be the same!

by kilian lipstick
Photo: Courtesy of @ByKilian

You’ve just launched the ‘Le Rouge Parfum’ lipsticks. What made you want to experiment with makeup?
Well, like with everything I do, I want to create something that doesn’t already exist when I venture into a new product. Or, if I imagine a product that I believe is at least ten times better than anything that exists on the market, then I’m interested.

With the lipsticks, there were a few things that I wanted to achieve, starting with the packaging. When you take it out of your purse, it will catch everyone’s eye as it has the shield motif, and it stands out because it’s gorgeous. There’s not one lipstick like that on the market. Secondly, I thought, “What can I add in terms of the scent itself?” We have created a scent that’s inspired by ‘Love Don’t Be Shy’, which is neroli, orange blossom, and marshmallow. It’s a real formula that’s adapted to lipstick.

How was the process of creating scented lipsticks different from creating perfumes?
When you work on a perfume, the base is water and alcohol. You have to adapt your perfume to a base, no matter what it is – whether it’s lotion or a candle. That’s all it is, learning how to adapt to the base. The only tricky part with the lipsticks was that it was hard for me to try them on! Finally, the other important part was the quality of the lipstick itself. That’s why I’m proud to be a part of the Estée Lauder company. It’s known for the best lipsticks in the world.

lip color arm swatch
Photo: Courtesy of Kilian

Can you tell us about the types of finishes you created?
We worked on two types: satin and matte. There are a lot of great satin lipsticks on the market, but when it comes to matte, I know that women have issues. They love the way matte lipsticks look, but they often don’t love the way they feel. I wanted to create a matte lipstick that doesn’t feel matte, and the response has been that ours is fantastic – that it doesn’t feel like a matte. It’s also long-lasting.

The six shades are all in the red family. Will you be expanding the shade selection?
I’ve already approved the next 12 shades – still being reds! We want to expand the tone; some will be raspberry shades, others will be more brown. And we’re working on a scented setting powder that will be bronzing and illuminating at the same time. I want to create a ‘magical’ powder that will have you ready for anything!

What surprised you most about your foray into makeup?
The most surprising fact was that most women don’t finish their lipsticks! Another thing that surprised me was that no matter what your hair color, skin tone, or look is, one color will look drastically different on everybody. It made my job almost impossible to find the right colors, but I’m proud of the final results.

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