Why This Is Still Our Signature Scent, 30 Years On

A timeless classic.

When it comes to beauty products, there’s nothing quite as personal as fragrance.

With our sense of smell so closely linked to feelings and emotions, fragrance has the power to instantly bring us back to a moment in a time, a specific place or even evoke thoughts of a particular person.

While we may change our sense of style over time, we often come back to the same fragrance again and again, choosing one that becomes our instantly recognisable signature.

One such fragrance? Issey Miyake’s cult classic, L’Eau D’Issey, which celebrates its 30th anniversary this year.

An instant icon upon its release in 1992, L’Eau D’Issey was a breakthrough in perfumery, and remains a fragrance favourite for our wrists even now.

Here’s why we still love this aquatic-inspired fragrance, 30 years on.

Its Unique Beginnings

Released at a time where strong, oriental scents were dominating the fragrance world, Issey Miyake changed the game, by creating a scent representative of water on a woman’s skin.

Literally translating to “water of Issey”, the scent is aquatic, poetic, light and minimalist, designed to symbolise the source of life—infinite water.

The groundbreaking designer took inspiration from the natural world, believing “nature is the best perfumer”.

Issey Miyake L’Eau D’Issey
Issey Miyake’s signature fragrance, L’Eau D’Issey, celebrates its 30th anniversary this year. (Credit: Supplied)

“It has everything we need for inspiration,” Issey Miyake said. 

Combining simplicity with surprise, L’Eau D’Issey has top notes of Cyclamen, lotus, freesia and rose water, followed by a heart of peony and white lily, while base notes of cedar, sandalwood and musk combine for a true “East meets West” experience.

Even the bottle—an iconic addition to any beauty lover’s shelf—has its own unique beginnings. While spending the night in a Parisian apartment, the designer is said to have seen the moon appointed at the top of the Eiffel Tower, and the idea behind the L’Eau D’Issey vessel was born.

Architectural in nature, the bottle brings together two very different worlds in one—the natural and the man-made—with the scent also creating a link between Paris and Tokyo, with rose and lotus.

A Constant Source Of Inspiration

The iconic fragrance, and the history behind it, continues to be a source of inspiration for those around the world, and not just for those who wear it.

As part of the 30th anniversary celebrations, artists from across the world were chosen to represent the ground-breaking scent.

Luiz Zerbini of Brazil created nine monotype works, expressing the fresh vitality of plants that have obtained water (or, l’eau) as the source of life. The works, which represent an abundance of lush vegetation and the beauty of nature, pay homage to the world of L’Eau D’Issey.

Issey Miyake L’Eau D’Issey-inspired artwork
The L’Eau D’Issey-inspired works of Luis Zerbini (L) and Elisa Valenzuela. (Credit: Supplied)

Parisian artist Elisa Valenzuela also created pieces, extracting the spirit, creative power, precision and elegance of the fragrance to inspire her art. Using the shape of the bottle (which she describes as “the perfect entry door to talk about sustainable, simple and incisive” action) as her first source of inspiration, the artist fuses hand-made elements with its pure and elegant design.

Its Timeless Wearability

A fragrance set apart from the crowd, there’s something unique about those who wear it, too: they seem to have a sophistication beyond their years, with the fragrance enveloping them in a sense of cool, calm and collected energy.

The lightness of the scent makes it an everyday staple that transcends both time and trends, one that’s perfect for all seasons and not at all overpowering. By the same token, it’s unique enough to stand out from the crowd.

Instantly recognisable, L’Eau D’Issey has the power to transport us to a different time and place: whether it be the natural world, or the moment we first discovered its intoxicatingly pure scent.

Issey Miyake L’Eau d’Issey Pour Homme Eau & Cedre and L’Eau D’Issey Eau & Magnolia
The fragrance continues to evolve, with two new vegan iterations of the iconic scent released this year: L’Eau d’Issey Pour Homme Eau & Cedre and L’Eau D’Issey Eau & Magnolia. (Credit: Supplied)

And despite its 30 year history, the world of L’Eau D’Issey continues to evolve: this year, the brand launched two new vegan versions of the iconic scent: L’Eau D’Issey Eau & Magnolia, a fresh and enveloping fragrance that combine the purity of water with the luminous essence of Magnolia petals; and L’Eau d’Issey Pour Homme Eau & Cedre.

The new releases cement the brand’s commitment to the planet, with the bottle made from 20 per cent post-consumer recycled glass and a 100 per cent wooden cap. Plus, it’s made from 85 per cent naturally derived ingredients.

Brought to you by Issey Miyake.

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