Byline: Jennifer Weil / with contributions from Brid Costello

PARIS — To fete the 10th birthday of the L’Eau d’Issey fragrance, more than 250 journalists and executives from some 25 countries gathered at Galerie Yvon Lambert here earlier this month.
“L’Eau d’Issey’s originality has remained throughout time,” said Remy Gomez, president of Beaute Prestige International (BPI), Shiseido’s fine fragrance arm that owns the Issey Miyake, Jean Paul Gaultier and Narciso Rodriguez beauty licenses.
In 1992, L’Eau d’Issey’s transparent juice with pure floral and musky woody notes, plus its vertical, streamlined bottle, broke the industry’s codes. After all, when else had a fragrance been inspired by water?
Designer Miyake explained that working on L’Eau d’Issey “opened for me a world larger than fashion. In the beginning, I was such a great amateur, I could dream.
“I am very, very appreciative of the friendship and patronage of [Shiseido honorary chairman] Yoshiharu Fukuhara, the Shiseido people, and the great cooperation with Remy Gomez and all of BPI’s chiefs,” he said.
Once upon a time, few people thought there would ever be a Miyake scent, since the designer was anti-fragrance. Yet, once cajoled, he agreed. But then there were the difficulties of his lack of notoriety as a designer in the West and difficult-to-pronounce name.
Still, L’Eau d’Issey became a perennial blockbuster, particularly in the U.S. The U.K., Spain and France are its other strongest markets. In a highly selective distribution of less than 5,000 sales points worldwide, L’Eau d’Issey still almost always ranks among the top five, said Gomez.
It inspired myriad copycats, which even now flood the market.
L’Eau d’Issey was also the departure point for three art pieces — a video, some photographs and a sculpture, created by Marcus Pomlinson, Daniel Jouanneau and the “Freres Bouroullec,” respectively — on display in the gallery for the soiree, which also was attended by the likes of designer Kenzo Takada and makeup artist Stephane Marais.

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