LONDON — Iiuvo, which has steadily garnered a cult following for its luxury scented candles, is entering the personal fragrance market with the launch of three scents in a collection called Edition 1.
The fragrance house’s founders, Leo Gibbon and Tomi Ahmed, two East London twentysomethings, wanted their first scents, as with the candles, to capture the experience of a recalled sensory memory, to imbue wearers with the distilled essences and attitudes of the unisex scents’ muses.
Soigné, which Ahmed predicts will be the brand’s sell-out signature scent, has spicy top notes of nutmeg and Ceylon cinnamon, a warm heart of cashmere wood and patchouli, layered over a base of sandalwood and white musk. Miles Davis and Frank Sinatra and the debonair, borderline-arrogant charm of the members of the Rat Pack were the inspiration behind the scent. “It’s about a time when a man’s value was based on sophistication, not on how many followers he has [on social media],” explained Ahmed.
Gilot, named after Pablo Picasso’s young lover and muse who eloped with the artist to the South of France after meeting him in a Parisian café at the age of just twenty-one, is inspired by the Mediterranean. Picasso referred to Gilot as his “Mediterranean inspiration” and would paint her in marine tones. It’s a crisp, unsentimental scent, a bit like Gilot herself, who is known as the woman who said no to Picasso. Grapefruit and bergamot lead at the top, a core of neroli and nutmeg, softened by warm base notes of musk and white marshmallow.
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Fonteyn is a paean to the lure of the dark. It draws inspiration from a 1970 recording of Frederick Ashton’s “Noctur” ballet that sees Margot Fonteyn dance a solo as a sinister figure appears to watch from shadows, and from the early photographic work of Stanley Kubrick. With top notes of rosemary, wormwood and cardamom, a core of rose, blackcurrant and violet, and a base of earthy of papyrus, moss, Virginia cedar and vanilla.
The first edition of Iiuvo’s fragrance collection was two years in the making, and launches today in 35 doors, including Liberty and Browns in London, Totokaelo and Forty Five Ten in the U.S., and Leclaireur in Paris. Gibbon and Ahmed expect the final number of doors to reach 60 by December.
The duo elected to work with heritage French fragrance house Robertet for their debut scents. “They really understood our ideology and the process we take to create our scents. They worked closely with us to bring our concepts to life and enjoy the process as much as we do,” Gibbon told WWD, adding that they worked with a different nose for each scent.
The minimalist clear-glass bottles are topped with a black cube lid and feature Iiuvo’s logo, an “O” topped by a macron. The perfumes are 100 ml. and retail at £135, or $176 at current exchange rates. A collector’s set containing limited edition postcards for each scent will be available in limited quantities at launch in select retailers.
The trilogy of perfumes looks set to earn a cult following to rival the Iiuvo candles: Over 600 bottles had been pre-ordered via the brand’s website before the launch, with not so much as a sniff to influence the purchase. Gibbon and Ahmed declined to comment on figures, but sources estimate first-year sales to reach $500,000.
There are plans afoot to introduce ancillary products in the future, but not immediately. “We intend to develop skin and body care ranges as well as other lifestyle objects,” said Gibbon. “We are currently developing new scents for Edition 2, but also have plans to develop the concept further into a fragrance (the scented candle developed in collaboration with conceptual artist Stefan Brüggemann that smells nothing like its name). October next year will be our next release for fragrance.”