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EXCLUSIVE: Behind the scenes with the creator of YSL Black Opium

EXCLUSIVE: Behind the scenes with the creator of YSL Black Opium
Holly James
Beauty Writer3 years ago
View Holly James's profile

Winner of Perfumer of the Year 2015 and creator of the iconic Yves Saint Laurent Black Opium Perfume, Nathalie Lorson is a true expert in the craft of scent creation. We have the exclusive, behind the scenes interview with Nathalie herself on what inspired her when creating Black Opium and why it is one of the most widely loved fragranced worldwide amongst both celebrities and consumers.

Where did your inspiration for the fragrance come from?

"To create Black Opium’s unique signature, we wanted to respect the idea of addiction expressed in the original Opium franchise by creating a new addiction. There was already a lot of sweet addictions on the market, including praline and vanilla scents, so we sought something truly original. Black Opium, by its name and intention, focused on the colour black. This eventually inspired us to think of coffee. We sought to translate that smell of coffee steaming up from a cup into fragrance. We wanted to play with the contrast between black and white, darkness and light, so we juxtaposed the coffee with a white floral bouquet of orange flower and jasmine. The coffee scent remains the heart of the fragrance, but we also added black vanilla bean and mysterious woody notes of patchouli and cedar to frame the darkness, as well as pink pepper and pear to the enhance the lightness. This delivers a new addiction that isn’t sweet, but is natural and universal. Contrasted with the original calm addiction of Opium, Black Opium is that addictive shot of coffee in the morning, that boost of adrenaline, that modern energy that you need and share."

How do you think it makes people feel when they wear Black Opium? How do you want people to feel?

"There is a boldness, a mix of both rock and glamour in this first floral coffee fragrance, both addict and addictive. Black Opium for me is a shot of adrenaline, energy and addiction that a woman needs in her everyday life. It is for women who follow their desires and instincts, who choose to break the codes, assume their individuality, and live their lives according to their own rules. There is something full of desire and hypnotizing in the Black Opium story."

What personality do you feel the fragrance is matched to?

"Bold, daring, instinctive, independent, charismatic, feminine and sensual."

Which celebrities are loving these fragrances?

"I don’t know personally, but I’ve heard that Edie Campbell and Zoe Kravitz love Black Opium, of course, as well as Arina Sheldon and Jourdan Dunn."

What are the different personalities and traits of the various Black Opium fragrances (Intense, Neon, Glow , Floral etc.)?

"The original Yves Saint Laurent Black Opium Eau de Parfum is the boldest Black Opium signature, the pillar that embodies a daring, instinctive and independent woman.

Floral Shock is a wild and sophisticated facet of the fragrance. It provides a true breath-taking addiction around a floral solar coffee.

Glowing Eau de Toilette delivers a galvanizing sensation, an overwhelming vibration of the original signature, thanks to a lush pear-coffee duo, giving a taste of unexpected surprises, like a forbidden dose.

Black Opium Intense is a bewitching story, like a thrill in the middle of an intense night, of losing control and being seized by a deep night power. It’s a creamy anisic coffee, embodied by an unforeseen Absinthe essence.

Black Opium Neon is one of the most fusing facets of the fragrance, a luminescent heroine of the night, embodied by a magnetic dragon fruit- coffee shot."

Holly James
Beauty Writer
View Holly James's profile
Working with brands at LOOKFANTASTIC for over two years I have developed my knowledge of all things beauty from key skincare concerns to niche makeup tricks and haircare hacks. I have a major passion for finding effective solutions that are easily accessible to everyone so that we can all achieve our best, glowing complexion.