was the aroma of damp leaves. But it wouldn’t be until 1992, that Japanese fashion designer Issey Miyake, born in 1938 and a survivor of Hiroshima, would launch his first fragrance L’Eau d’Issey.
Always fascinated by fashion he moved to Paris in 1965, and worked for the French designer Guy Laroche
. By 1968, he moved to Givenchy
, who gave him more freedom and importantly more training. From Paris, Issey Miyake worked briefly for designer Geoffrey Beene,
before returning to Japan. Throughout his apprenticeship, Issey Miyake envisioned a collection that applied Japanese fabrics and techniques like origami so he moved back to Japan. He became a pioneer who put Tokyo on the fashion map, as a global leader and influencer. His first fashion collection in the late 1970s was a smash success, and was unlike any couture from Paris and New York.
Issey Miyake did not like strong fragrances so when he was approached by a former president of Shiseido, he was adamant that any fragrance under his label would be fresh and combine his fashion and personal aesthetics. His ideas for fragrance were at first not well received by Shiseido but there was great pressure for them to keep Issey Miyake happy or he might sign with a competitor. “Water, it must smell like water, clean and pure,” he told fragrance executives. He did not appreciate western perfumes; he liked the simplicity of Chanel no 5
but disliked, what to his nose was an artificial smelling perfume. It is said he told Ms.Chantal Roos (formerly of Yves Saint Laurent
) who was hired to head up his fragrance brand, “Why would women not want to smell like clean water splashing on her body. Surely this is the most beautiful fragrance in the world”. Fortunately, at that time, new synthetic molecules like Calone © which captures the scent of fresh water and the sea became available for perfumers. L’Eau d’Issey was one of the first to use “Calone which offered a novel clearness that is perceived from the top of the fragrance to the base. His namesake fragrance that smelled of the sea, turned the direction of modern colognes and perfumes from what had been a trickle to a tidal wave. L’Eau d’issey smells clean, transparent, evoking mountain streams, watery fruits and green shoots. Clean was now synonymous with sexy.
This was not a concept that most French perfumers could understand, but young 30-year-old French Perfumer Jacques Cavellier- Belletrud was impressed and worked closely with Issey Miyake to understand this new direction and immersed himself into Miyake’s world. Jacques Cavellier- Belletrud watched Miyake create fashion designs, getting familiar with the materials Miyake used and after many attempts with Miyake’s input the innovative scent was born. Fresh and feminine, flowery with hints of the sea and skin musk he also added classic French citrus to offset the ozonic notes.
The streamlined shape of the contemporary bottle designed by Fabrice Fabron is still, 30 years later instantly recognizable. Over the years, many versions of the original L’Eau d’Issey Miyake would follow: including L’Eau d’issey Pure L’Eau d’issey Reflection in a Drop
, which sparkles with a mélange of honey, mandarin with watery lotus and the fruity honeyed floral L’Eau d’Issey Pure Nectar
and L’Eau Bleue d’Issey Pour Homme Cologne
, a clean aromatic men’s cologne with both watery and green notes. In 2009, Issey Miyake with perfumer Daphne Buguey seemed to bottle his childhood memories of pre-war Japan with Issey Miyake Scent
-which smells of green leaves and dew with the simple and pure aroma of a garden after a thunderstorm.
Issey Miyake is known for his intricate pleating of fabric, leather and paper These fashion techniques went from the runway to perfume with 2012’s Pleats Please
, a light as air, fruity, rosy floral which was followed by Pleats Please L’Eau
which is even fresher with more watery florals and citrus.
FragranceX carries a great range of Issey Miyake perfumes for women and men at less than department store prices. Shop discounted designer fragrances