The Fragrance Foundation 2018 Lifetime Achievement Perfumer

Perfume is my life. Perfumers are addicted to this all-consuming work we love and to the rush of excitement we experience when we’ve created something truly new.

Every generation of the Cresp family loved sweets. My childhood memories are of cakes baking; as a child I had even had my own specialty: candied fruit cakes. So it’s not surprising that one of my creations was Angel by Thierry Mugler, which opened the door to a new olfactive family: the gourmand.

I decided to combine edible, sugary notes like licorice, honey, and special vanillas. This led to praline mixed with cocoa to add a chocolate inflection to patchouli. Something very addictive resulted!

Gourmand scents transport us through the power of olfactory memory. Easily recognizable and reassuring, their “edible” quality makes gourmand scents irresistible.

Another addictive fragrance I am proud to have created is Dolce Gabbana Light Blue, a surprising combination of sexy, warm woods and inviting citrus notes. One of the earliest woody fragrances for women, it continues to be successful.

I believe today’s consumers – especially millennials living in big cities like London, Paris, New York, Tokyo, Shanghai, Sao Paolo – want to live life intensely. They travel the world, which is more accessible now because of the internet, and enjoy extreme sports for the strong sensations they impart. Living life to the fullest, they have lots of energy, and seek immediate gratification, so the scents they wear must complement their complex lives. They must be both comforting and captivating to grab and hold their attention.

Addictive ingredients and fragrances, then, are more relevant today than ever and still resonate strongly with me. I’m proud that, in October, 2018, I launched my own niche brand with my daughter Anais, an architect, and her husband Jack. Called AKRO, which means “addicted” in French, it is a collection of daring and disruptive unisex fragrances inspired by uncontrollable, delicious dependencies – the simple pleasures of life that keep us coming back for more!
My work is figurative. I prefer working with something tangible rather than abstract. I enjoy reproducing the actual smells around me and then making them wearable, with wonderful diffusion. So this project suits my creative style very well.

Each AKRO fragrance relates to a different time of day –and the little daily personal indulgences. AWAKE is a delicious combination of coffee, cardamom and caffeine to start the day right, like our morning expresso. Next, we reach for the DARK – an intense chocolate note to finish our midday meal. We might follow that with SMOKE – naturally addictive notes of tobacco leaves with nicotine. Then we unwind after work with intoxicating MALT and its vapors of whiskey and rum. Now it’s NIGHT – and the animalic allure of “dirty rose,” agarwood and cumin notes evoke the nocturnal pleasures of sex. Finally, HAZE and the daze we’re in from cannabis and cardamom, letting go with a joint after a long, often stressful day at work.

Personally, I am addicted to dark chocolate with a good espresso, so DARK and AWAKE both fit my personality well. Maybe AKRO’s tagline should be “Wear without Moderation”!

— OLIVIER CRESP