According to Guerlain’s archives, Jacques Guerlain was inspired to create L’Heure Bleue in 1912 during a walk along the Seine when he noticed the vivid blue color of the sky as dusk fell over the city. “I felt something so intense, I could only express it in a perfume,” he later wrote in his notes.
On Sept. 20, 2012, Société Française des Parfumeurs (SFP), the society of French perfumers, celebrated Guerlain L’Heure Bleue’s 100th anniversary. Patrick Saint-Yves, the president of the SFP, chaired the event and highlighted the enormous influence of the fragrance in the history of modern perfumery. For many perfumers, L’Heure Bleue is not simply a successful fragrance that survived two World Wars; it is also a work of technical and artistic genius.
The evolution of the idea of L’Heure Bleue can be understood through Guerlain’s earlier creations. Carole Aymé, a training manager for Guerlain in France, highlighted Après l’Ondée (1906), a delicate composition dominated by iris and heliotrope. She likened it to a watercolor drawing in contrast to the image of an oil painting evoked by L’Heure Bleue.