Female empowerment and freedom of expression have been part of YSL’s DNA since Yves Saint Laurent first retailored the tuxedo for women in 1966. These core themes are reflected in all of the brand’s fragrances, perhaps none more than Libre, the iconic eau de parfum that launched in 2019 and has since expanded to five variations.
Libre is described by Yves Saint Laurent Beauty as a freestyle take on fougère (an olfactive family often present in men’s colognes) that reveals a more sensual, feminine facet of the traditionally masculine fragrance category. “It was launched at a time when women were called to rise up and conquer their power—the perfect time to embrace the ‘Libre’ state of mind,” notes the brand.
The newest iteration of the scent, Libre Absolu Platine, is even more daring than the original. “It’s created for women with a bold personality, who seek freedom and who aren’t afraid of breaking the codes of traditional perfumery,” says the brand. The star note is a tailor-made accord of lavender that’s surprisingly intense. In addition to being fresh, floral, and aromatic, Absolu Platine plays up the note’s elegant and sensual qualities in its own unique way.
To learn more about the innovation and artistry behind Libre Absolu Platine, we spoke to its master perfumers, Carlos Benaïm and Anne Flipo.
Tell us the story behind the original Libre fragrance.
Flipo: Libre was my first female creation for YSL, and the code name was “Boyish.” It took us seven years of development and more than 1,500 trials. Carlos and I took a lot of freedom and pleasure in this creation. I was the woman at the origin of the masculine touch, and Carlos was the man at the origin of the feminine touch.
Benaïm: Libre is a state of mind, a way for women to play by their own rules: no compromises, no contradictions. We envisioned the fragrance as a statement for today’s women.
How does Libre Absolu Platine differ from the other iterations?
Benaïm: We wanted to take Libre in a new, unexpected direction. In the other versions, we explored heat and incandescence. Here, we kept the spirit of intensity, but also wanted to go in the direction of coldness and sensuality.
The top, very fresh and luminous, contrasts with the base notes, which contain, among other things, vanilla, known for its warm and carnal tones.
Walk us through the olfactory experience of Libre Absolu Platine.
Flipo: It was time lavender had its own opus in the Libre range. We played with an original accord tailor-made for this perfume: white lavender, which is central to the fragrance. This accord is bathed in the creamy and comfortable notes of vanilla and sensual orange blossom.
Aldehydes add an icy freshness. Naturally drawn from an aromatic plant called polygonum, this note, combined with the citrus freshness of bergamot and mandarin, brings an intriguing, edgy twist to the opening of Absolu Platine. The ingredient is quite uncommon and not often used in perfumery, but we thought it would be a perfect match for this one.
In the drydown, an extremely sensuous ambergris accord leaves a powerfully addictive trail when it melds with the natural scent of skin.
Benaïm: It was Anne’s innovative idea to blend feminine, sensuous, and lush notes, like the orange blossom and vanilla. It’s this clash that makes it unique. The duality is inspired by the modern woman—she can be multifaceted and powerful, and yet hyperfeminine.
What feelings does this fragrance evoke for the wearer?
Flipo: It is a bold and unconventional fragrance. It encourages women to be whoever they want to be in their daily lives. We sought to achieve a striking, powerful result. It is a new intensity, a new energy. We want the woman who wears it to feel fearless.