Monday, February 09, 2009

Issey Miyake L'Eau d'Issey

There was a guitarist I went on tour with in the mid-'90s whom I sat next to on a plane from Japan back to New York. Somehow, we were on the topic of fragrance because duty free shopping was on our minds, and I remember this handsome man with long dredlocks down his back, just about melting with the most dreamy face when he talked about his girlfriend who just flew back to her home in Amsterdam. He told me by the time he sees her again, he planned to buy a perfume called Issey Miyake L'Eau d'Issey for her because she had mentioned she wanted it (and showed me how she said it, too, with the voice and all...LOL...cute). I could tell by the look on his face, the way he spoke of her tenderly and, hello, the fact that he remembered this perfume name by heart, that he loved her. I thought such an ultraminimalist, clean and modest scent would suit his fair maiden with a warm, beautiful smile as her only bejeweled piece of physical adornment, the treasure it was. I had met her with him at the concert and she was a sweet, down-to-earth person, someone to bring calm and rest to the in-demand musician's well-traveled yet frantic lifestyle.

Although I didn't ask, I wondered if he wore fragrance himself, and if he did, whether his choice would be the L'Eau d'Issey for Men to complement her. From what I recall, the Men's is a very nice fragrance as well. L'Eau d'Issey for Women, an aqueous Marine classic born in 1992, can be described as an abstract water fragrance, meaning the scent of something scentless in nature, therefore an abstraction of an abstraction. This is modernism at its best, from the sleek bottle design to the fragrance itself, a fresh and cool Marine accord with some body (it's not too simple and transparent), and a very soft fruity touch (osmanthus, a floral note, often adds a peach-like, creamy softness, although in this scent, I find the overall effect is close to that of melon or pikake). It's slightly musky and warm but quiet, office-friendly, and with a floral heart including tuberose, versatile enough to be romantic with a subtly sweet, misty and dewy (almost beachy) quality. The floralcy is only implied conceptually here, not at all realistic or literal, and therefore purely artistic. You come away smelling not of flowers but clean.

Sephora lists these notes:
Lotus, Freesia, Cyclamen, Rose Water, Fresh Peonies, Carnation, White Lilies, Precious Woods, Osmanthus, Tuberose, Amberseed, Musk.

(Images: 1995 and 1998 ads, Image de Parfums)