Francis Kurkdjian was born in France to Armenian parents in 1969. He planned to study ballet but after failing the entrance competetion to study at the Paris School of Opera and Dance, he set his sights on perfumery. He studied at ISIPCA in Versailles, graduating in 1993. He later earned a master's degree from the Paris Institute of Luxury Marketing while working as a parfumeur at Quest. Kurkdjian was catapulted into the limelight following the runaway success of Le Male, a fragrance he composed for the house of Jean-Paul Gualtier in 1995 at the age of 26. He has since become one of the most famous and successful parfumeurs in the world, co-founding his own luxury perfume house Maîson Francis Kurkdjian with business partner Marc Chaya.