Ilias Ermenidis’ rich multicultural outlook developed naturally during his childhood; having lived in so many different countries, he is a true citizen of the world and has a remarkable mastery of languages. This charming perfumer’s Greek heritage permeates his every pore; he lives life fully and enjoys it immensely.
Ilias was born in Constantinople where he spent his early childhood, later moving to Athens. He studied perfumery in Paris, his fascination with fragrances having been sparked at his father’s flavors and fragrance factory in Istanbul, where he interned each summer. Later, in France, Ilias experienced some of the most important events of his life, all of which would leave a tremendous impression on him and ultimately define his life: he met his future wife, his professional mentors, and he began his career at Firmenich.
Ilias was the first trainee perfumer hired by Firmenich who was a graduate of ISIPCA; he remains very proud of this fact. He intimately understands the DNA of the company he joined so many years ago: “At Firmenich, I live my passion; I feel like an Artist in Residence.” Constantly in search of new horizons, and after having spent ten years living between Paris and Geneva, Ilias moved to New York – to an entirely new city and a new way of life. He has been thriving in New York for over 20 years.
Ilias attributes his positive nature to his Mediterranean origins. Profoundly connected to his cultural heritage, he loves to spend time in Greece each summer to see his family and friends and to rejuvenate. His passion for his craft is complemented by his love of family and fatherhood – the two most important pillars of his life. He thinks of both as being intrinsically linked to his Hellenic heritage which is deeply embedded in his sense of self and in his outlook on the world .
Above all, this fine perfumer is generous, warm, extroverted, and intellectually adventurous. He loves the idea that “There are millions of things to learn,” and takes great pleasure in lingering over the pages of the FT’s Life & Art supplement. He is passionate about contemporary art, design, architecture, history, opera – and good wine! In fact, his friends describe him as “a Philosopher Perfumer”; with his unquenchable thirst for knowledge, he believes that “Everything is inspiring – even a boring dinner!”
Ilias fervently enjoys delving into what he calls his “abstract olfactive forms” with joy and passion: “The moment an idea becomes a fragrance is a magical and promising one. I believe in it.” He describes his work as requiring a combination of talent, technique, unflagging effort, and good fortune. When speaking of his career, he does so with his trademark sense of humor, which he depends upon as a counterpoint to the very competitive nature of his work day. He believes that he is not alone in this creative adventure: “A fragrance is also brought to life with people who inspire you. Together, we create something beautiful.”
Ilias brings the same enthusiasm to all of his projects, in search of new emotions to share with the men and women who will one day wear his creations. His generosity of spirit is matched only by the gratitude he feels for the privilege of practicing such a beautiful craft – each and every day of his life.