How do you reinvent an icon of the 1980s? An exclusive conversation with Yves Saint Laurent’s latest fragrance nose, Olivier Cresp from Firmenich sheds some light on this.

By Alexandra Moulin 

The city of lovers: Paris – a timeless incarnation of fashion, art, and chicness. In 1983, Yves Saint Laurent captured the essence of the city and told a passionate love story in a fragrance called ‘Paris.’ Twenty-five years later, the patrimony remains and allows a new chapter to be thoughtfully conceived by a team of noses around the world, with the introduction of Mon Paris Eau de Parfum in 2016 and Mon Paris Eau de Toilette in 2017.

As he passionately describes all the notes used to compose Mon Paris, Olivier Cresp (Master Perfumer at Firmenich, an internationally acclaimed creator of fine fragrances) explains he initiated his exploratory work on Mon Paris free from any influence of the original line: “Our work and pride are to create new trends and frame fragrances that will become icons.” Stated by the man who opened a new olfactory path, gourmand oriental, with the worldwide success of the Angel fragrance in the 1990s through today, these words take on another dimension. “I don’t want to follow trends or replicate what other houses are doing; I like to explore new extraction methods, which give access to unedited ingredients, use synthetic ingredients to tell new stories… and I do believe that Mon Paris is this kind of memorable creation.” Two years after its introduction, Mon Paris Eau de Parfum still ranks No. 3 in the United States.

 How do you think Mon Paris became so successful in North America? It’s called teamwork. As I was progressing on the composition of the fragrance (the brief called for a new interpretation of a white Cyprus), I invited Dora Baghriche (Fine Fragrance Perfumer at Firmenich) to bring her femininity and youthfulness to it. Her vision was completed a few months later by the North American expertise of Harry Fremont, another Firmenich Master Perfumer based in New York. Our trio allowed differentiated inspirations, desires, and market acuities to interact, debate, and refine, creating the success we all know. As I brought the overall fragrance structure, Dora refined the Cyprus character with two species of patchouli, and Harry emphasized our joy with the enigmatic Datura, and added flower petals.

Datura – can you explain what this ingredient is all about? This is a very interesting, strong, and vibrant ingredient, also called moonflower in Asian culture. As much loved at it is feared, this flower releases a somehow sexual scent at dawn. Used in the heart notes of Mon Paris, combined with the white tones of peony, jasmine, and the woody notes of patchouli, the Datura evolves from darkness to light.

This unedited symphony in white contributed to the success of Mon Paris among the Asian community. The peony, pear, and freesia notes talked to the senses, while the white heart enchanted their experience; this success, particularly noticeable among younger generations, confirms the growing taste for fine fragrances.


Tell us about the new Mon Paris Eau de Toilette? Dora, Harry, and myself reunited as a team to work on this second opus; our challenge was to write the second episode of the love story we had initiated two years ago, maybe for the same woman or a new one. Mon Paris Eau de Toilette is a more delicate expression, with common notes of raspberry and peer on top, white flowers in the heart, and patchoulis and Datura as the base. In this edition, peony is highlighted and much more intense.

The fragrance embodies three visions; our three visions [are] reconciled in one single fragrance, of unconditional and short-lived passion. The almost-hesitant top accord symbolizes first emotions, the overwhelming white heart unbridles all feelings, while the oriental and floral base notes definitely erase all shyness and elevate love to an uncontrolled dimension.

Introduced with Mon Paris Eau de Parfum and shaken by the launch of l’Eau de Toilette, the intense love story is about to unveil a new chapter in July 2018, with Mon Paris Couture Eau de Parfum. It’s a sparkling celebration of ecstatic love, translated into a fragrant trail of chypre floral citrus, tailor-made for lovers around the world.

This will be a very Yves Saint Laurent trilogy, nestled in the city he loved. It’s a tribute to one of Saint Laurent’s many iconic fashion creations: the imagery of smoking. More than that, the bottle is a rejuvenation of a classic accessory he cherished: the lavaliere tie, made in different materials, honouring a couture style. Monsieur Saint Laurent would be proud.


Mon Paris Eau de Toilette YVES SAINT LAURENT, $100 for 50ml, $128 for 90ml

Mon Paris Eau de Parfum YVES SAINT LAURENT, $115 for 50ml, $155 for 90ml 

Mon Paris Couture Eau de Parfum YVES SAINT LAURENT(Released in July 2018)