When you think of love, you may think of your loved ones, the five love languages, Love & Basketball, or even Keyshia Cole‘s smash hit “Love.” Now, your mind can think of Iman’s first-ever fragrance Love Memoir, dedicated to the love story of her and her late husband David Bowie. Available exclusively on HSN.com on November 19, the icon’s debut fragrance serves as an intimate frontrow seat into Bowie and Iman’s beautiful romance with a delicacy within every note of the scent reflective of their universally celebrated relationship.
The philanthropist and legendary supermodel was first introduced to fragrances through her mother Mariam back in her home country of Somalia, but rather than the Yves Saint-Laurent perfumes and the body sprays at Bath & Body Works, Iman was introduced to a different concept. “The first fragrance we’re really introduced to is what’s called oud. Oud in Arabic [is] the Wood of the Gods. It’s a heavy, very complex scent that’s usually mixed with sweetness and woody notes. It’s one of the most expensive oils that are sometimes used in perfumery and it can come in an oil form or a resin form,” she explained to ESSENCE. In Somalia, Iman and her mother would get oud in the form of incense chips and she shared with ESSENCE a traditional nighttime routine that her mother put her onto.
“What my mom taught us when we were young is that you wash your hair and then you put a towel over your hair while it’s wet and you burn the oud incense,” Iman reminisced. “You put it inside of the towel and you cover with a towel so all this smoke of the oud goes inside all your wet hair, and then you let your hair dry naturally. The whole week, you’ll have this great aroma that you leave behind when you would walk in and out of a room, you’d be releasing this lovely scent behind.”
When asked about the inspiration behind Love Memoir, Iman admitted to there being some hesitation about stepping into the fragrance world on her own. “First of all, I have never created fragrance or have never thought of creating a fragrance because for me, fragrances are really very specific and very personal,” Iman revealed. She told ESSENCE that she would typically wear the same scent “year in and year out,” with Fracas by Robert Piguet as her signature scent in her 20s. After the passing of her late husband, she found herself only wearing his signature Tom Ford Extreme fragrance so she could smell him all the time as though he was still there.
She transparently confided in ESSENCE about her healing process since the death of Bowie, which has not been as soothing and sweet as her commemorative Love Memoir fragrance. Iman brought her mind to the thought of her beautiful house upstate with the most breathtaking landscape of mountains and sunsets one could ever think of. “I have had a hard time coming to the house since my husband passed away. I’ve come in for a weekend and in two days I rush back to the city because it just evokes so many memories and I become very sad,” she said. Iman made a trip to the house at the beginning of 2020 for a weekend but ended up extending her trip for a year during the pandemic. During her time of solace and quarantine, Iman reflected on the truth about her unprocessed grief.
“I had a teenager who lost her father, so I was helping her through her grieving process. I ignored mine and all of a sudden when I was by myself at the house, it all flooded in. The house, the landscape, and the property actually helped me through my grieving process and instead of thinking of my memories as sad ones, my memories have become full of joy and that’s what has sustained me through the whole year that I have been here,” Iman said peacefully as she reflected.
The rounded silhouette of Love Memoir was inspired by her and Bowie’s beautiful property, down to the stacked, well-balanced stones. “Slowly, lo and behold, I saw everything in different eyes. The sunsets became more magical and more celebratory of love that existed rather than love lost. I started collecting stones on my property and I’ve always liked stacked stones. That’s very calming and repetitive so it’s in that way, it creates balance in your life, and there is balance also in your hands. Not all stones can go on top of each other and stay together because the wrong stone can just stumble down,” Iman explained. Moreover, Love Memoir‘s design and packaging are inspired by the aforementioned sunsets with an amber hue and a hammered gold cap representative of Iman and Bowie’s travel escapades.
“By doing these things for myself, these rituals for myself, that every day, literally every day I stacked the stones, I have so many, either small stones, larger stones, all over the property and enjoying and witnessing the magical hour of sunset. That’s actually what healed me,” Iman said to ESSENCE. “And by wearing my husband’s fragrance for the past five years which I knew I was doing it, but also started all of a sudden everything come in some kind of a clarity and it revealed itself that I wanted to create a tribute to the memories that I had shared with my husband through these years.”
Every note of Love Memoir is a nod to her and Bowie’s romantic time spent together during their 24 years of marriage – vetiver from the scent Bowie wore the day they met and every day thereafter; bergamot and blackberry to represent their Florence countryside wedding, and rose for his British heritage. For the fragrance’s debut on HSN.com, which is available for purchase now, Iman collaborated with award-winning product development and production atelier Batallure Beauty. When it came to her partnership with HSN, the decision was a no-brainer seeing as how she had been with them for the past 10 years for her Global Chick accessories launch. “I thought I already have a partner, why do I need to look for somewhere else?,” Iman asked rhetorically.
“I can take it to where my customer knows me for 10 years and I have an avid customer base that I can introduce my fragrance to,” she said. Though the Iman Cosmetics founder has been doing her thing in the beauty entrepreneurial world since 1994, she’s proud of herself for creating this concept of a fragrance at 66-years-old. “This was a great tribute that came out of nowhere and I don’t think if I was sheltering at home, this probably would not have happened.”
When asked about the importance of a signature fragrance as a means of self-care and incorporating it into her beauty routine, Iman shared her thoughts on the sentimental value of a fragrance as opposed to it as a luxury for self-care Sundays. “I wouldn’t call it self-care, but to find a scent that really evokes memories for you is a lovely thing. It’s a ritual that you can do every day,” Iman said. “Sometimes we think of self-care as a massage, but you don’t do a massage every day. I do a face mask, but we don’t do face masks every day. It becomes like a meditative form [of] fragrance because we do wear it on a daily basis.”
Iman continued, “Another question I’ve been asked is that, who did I create this fragrance for? I definitely have to say I created it for myself, but one thing is that, as a human, we all have memories. At the end of the day, that’s all we will have is our memories, especially when people pass away. What we have are the beautiful memories that they’ve left behind and that we share with them. Fragrance in itself, I can’t say it’s about self-care because it’s so personal – it’s like cooking at home, it’s like remembering things that you did. When I remember my mom, who’s no longer with us, I remember the oud incenses that she would do for me when I was a little girl, wash my hair and do all these rituals with me.”
Iman will appear on HSN’s livestreaming platforms this Friday, November 19th throughout the day to introduce Love Memoir to HSN viewers and share more about her love story as the inspiration of the fragrance. Shop Love Memoir on www.hsn.com (key words: Love Memoir).