In January 2020, just before, well, everything, first-name-only model Iman, traveled to the home she shared with her late musical legend husband David Bowie in upstate New York. A home she had not visited for more than just a weekend since his passing in 2016. “I came for what was intended to be a weekend and, of course, ended up staying for the whole year,” explains Iman to ELLE.com.
“I was by myself and all of a sudden grief knocked on my door, my grief that I thought I processed but I had not. I also have a teenager who lost her father so I was helping her process her grief and ultimately ignored my own.” Isolated in the home for the year, the feelings of loss came rushing back. “Every memory and every corner of the house reminds me of my husband,” she adds.
As she processed her grief, Iman began to utilize the isolation period to heal. “Memories are not supposed to be something we avoid because the person is no longer with us, it is what is supposed to sustain us because it is what we remember,” she says almost two years since first beginning her healing process. “The memories you had, you [should] rejoice in that. That’s how it has been for me.”
Iman is now taking the memory of her husband and channeling it through our strongest sense: smell. Love Memoir, the new fragrance from Iman, has both inspiration and a rich, layered scent. It combines notes of vetiver, bergamot, black currant, and vanilla to deliver a sexy, smoky, almost oud adjacent scent.
This fragrance launch is a clear divergence from where she saw the processing of her grief going. “Fragrance was not in the story, it was not even a byline,” she says. “I never ever thought of creating a fragrance and the reason being I always thought it was so private.” But these past five years, Iman has been wearing her husband’s fragrance so she could feel closer to him “in scent and in my heart all of the time.”
Every single aspect of Love Memoir is considered and intentional to honor David Bowie. Bowie loved to paint, Iman’s daughter also loves to paint, and Iman took up painting watercolors of the sunsets at their upstate home. The sunsets inspired the amber-hued glass used for the fragrance bottle and her watercolors inspired the box that the bottle comes packaged in. The box is lined with Iman’s musings on memories and love.
The bottle is shaped after the stacking rocks and stones Iman began collecting around her upstate property, stones she researched known as Cairns were used at memorial sites and as markers for hikers who have lost their way.
Iman noted that everything inside the bottle represents their memories and moments of love. The scent profile is inspired by David’s favorite scent of vetiver. At the beginning of their romance, they spent a lot of time in Italy on the Amalfi coast, Umbria, Tuscany, and were married in Florence. The notes of bergamot and black currant pay homage to the romantic times spent in that region.
In an oversaturated beauty market it’s refreshing to see something inspired by something so pure— true love. The fragrance also serves as a reminder of how deeply personal scent can be. When asked if there was any pressure she put on herself while making such a deeply personal product, the model reiterated that she herself was surprised to have created a fragrance, but through her healing channeled her love to this latest project. “Would I make another fragrance?” she adds. “I really do not know.”
As for what she wants wearers of the perfume to feel, Iman explains in the content of her own healing: “One thing I have found out is that love is truly an individual relationship we experience and also universal. Grief is individual but it’s also universal. Memories are also individual but also universal. We all experience them. At the end of the day, that is what sustains us. Death is inevitable but what is eternal and never ever dies is love and memories. I would wish this scent evokes their own memories, especially if they are my age and older. For the young people, I pray to God they get a love experience as I’ve had. My daughter always says to me,’ I hope that I find someone to love me the way dad loved you.’”
Love Memoir is currently available on pre-order exclusively on HSN.com for $84.95.
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