Launched in 2001, Dolce & Gabbana Light Blue’s evocation of the sun, sea, and sensuality of a southern Italy summer has been a huge commercial success.
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Even those with only a passing interest in a fragrance will have heard of the Italian luxury fashion brand’s blockbuster.
A large part of its success is down to the expertise of Olivier Cresp. The French master perfumer has produced hits such as Givenchy Ange ou Demon (2006), Penhaligon’s Juniper Sling (2011), Versace Eros Pour Femme (2014), and YSL Mon Paris (2016).
And let’s not forget the ground-breaking Mugler Angel, which kick-started all things gourmand in 1992.
Cresp was recognized for his numerous accomplishments when The Fragrance Foundation gave him the Lifetime Achievement Award in 2018.
He talks to Everfumed about Dolce & Gabbana Light Blue’s popularity, powerful formula and the latest iteration, Light Blue Forever.
Interview With Olivier Cresp
Congratulations on the 20th Anniversary of Light Blue. Why does it have such enduring appeal?
Thank you. I’m very proud to have created Light Blue.
The fragrance’s concept is universal: love. I am a romantic at heart; eternal love has always enchanted me. It did when I first created Light Blue in 2001 and it continues to mesmerise me today.
It’s an immense pleasure and honour to translate that concept into a fragrance that represents all that love is the first look, kiss, and moments together, as well as the milestones that come later: anniversaries, children, and grandchildren. Timeless and contemporary, Light Blue has adapted to every generation over time.
Its popularity is linked to its luminosity and freshness. There’s something about Italy and, in particular, Sicily, a place of importance to the Dolce & Gabbana creators [Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana].
Did you know you were a winner when you created it?
As perfumers, we never really know what’s going to be a great success. That said, Light Blue is one of my favorite creations and I have always believed in its power.
In some ways, light blue is a victim of its own success, because it’s so popular, and therefore some people automatically dislike it. Does that bother you at all?
As soon as we started testing Light Blue, people’s reactions were nothing but positive; perhaps something about sharing this idea of love has created that effect.
I’ve never seen anyone reject this fragrance; it’s not a polarizing one. In fact, I wear it often as it fits well on my skin, and I know other men wear it as well.
Light Blue is a great example of the use of synthetics and naturals. Please tell us more about that.
The fragrance has a powerful but minimalist formula. It’s composed of 25 ingredients, including a natural overdose of 10% lemon essence.
Featuring some wonderful captive molecules from Firmenich [the company he works for], the fragrance can be imitated, but never perfectly reproduced: woods, musks, amber, and jasmine floral notes, as well as a crunchy Granny Smith apple. Without this harmony, the deep sensuality and unique light in Light Blue could not exist.
The naturalness of the ingredients is prolonged by the innovative molecules. Together, the olfactive lightness gives you an infinite sensation of bright sunlight, crystal water, tanned skin, and intense heat.
There’s been no shortage of flankers over the years. How did you approach the creation of Light Blue Forever to ensure it stays faithful to the original while offering something new?
I captured the joie de vivre and Mediterranean sensuality of Light Blue, and I enhanced the pillars of the perfume as if to multiply them tenfold: the essence of lemon, the apple, the white floral bouquet, and the cedar. These are the olfactive threads that prolong eternal love in Light Blue.
For Light Blue Forever for Her, I insisted on the solar facets of the original fragrance, through both sparkling and luminous notes. I reinforced the floral heart with orange blossom to make it bloom bigger, without making it too dense or heavy.
Finally, I used the latest generation of woods and musks to elevate and anchor the sparkling notes of the fragrance, enveloping the Light Blue signature with a contemporary sensual touch.
I wanted to make it very luminous and solar, inspired by the Mediterranean Sea and the orange blossoms found all along the coast. While there are still the lemony apple notes, the main accord is the orange blossom which brings strength, modernity, solar luminosity, and warmth.
Did you have carte blanche in its creation, or was it a tight brief?
When we got the marketing brief from D&G, I did have a carte blanche. However, I nevertheless don’t start from scratch because I must work from the original Light Blue.
It’s always a challenge to rework a classic. You have to balance the original with new elements to create a new story. How do you improve eternal love?
What’s next for Light Blue?
There is always another story of love to share. In fact, I am already working on the next one, but it must remain secret for the time being. However, I can tell you that even the next one will always be connected to the Light Blue masterpiece.
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Richard Goller is a fragrance and grooming blogger. His blog is called Fragroom. A senior editor with 20 years' experience, his blog allows him to combine two of his passions: engaging content and the always-intriguing world of fragrances. When he isn't blogging, you'll find Richard indulging in his newly found passion for balcony gardening.