Usually, you get a whiff of something, and that triggers a memory. The sweet smell of coconut may take you back to a beach trip you took in your 20s. A musky floral aroma may spark memories of the hair grease your mother used to get you ready for school as a child. But for Iman, legendary supermodel and makeup mogul, it’s her memories that sparked the inspiration for her first-ever fragrance.
Love Memoir, which will be available exclusively on HSN on November 17, is a tribute to Iman’s late great husband, David Bowie — a blend of scents that remind her of the time they shared together. “I never thought in a million years that I would create a fragrance,” she tells Allure during a phone interview. But 2020 changed a lot of things in our lives, and for Iman, the experience helped her confront the emotions she’d been avoiding over the past few years.
At the top of 2020, Iman took a trip to upstate New York to finally stay at a home she hadn’t visited in the five years since Bowie’s passing. “I would come for a long weekend and then all the memories would rush in. It would be too sad and then I’d escape and rush back to the city,” she explains. “I went upstate for a visit in the new year 2020, thinking that I was going to stay for just a weekend. Lo and behold, everything shut down and I was at the property for the whole year.”
As it was for many of us, that time she spent was full of self-reflection. It was there, in the oft-forgotten bucolic landscape of the northeastern state that she realized she hadn’t fully processed her grief. “All of a sudden, all these memories washed in, and then I had to go through the memories that I was trying to run away from because I felt sad,” she shares. “Now, they bring joy. I finally went through the whole process and I came out of it joyfully, holding on to the memories instead of trying to avoid them.”
During that time, Iman says she found herself wearing one of Bowie’s favorite fragrances: Tom Ford Grey Vetiver. “I thought about creating a tribute to the memories and the special moments that I shared with my husband,” she explains. That’s what the fragrance is about. I don’t think I would have ever created it if this year of confinement and coming through grief had not happened for me.”
With vetiver as a starting point, Iman layered notes of rose, bergamot, and vanilla with blackcurrant for a scent that was created to have longevity — just like a joyful memory. The fragrance is strong, and the creaminess of the vanilla plays off woody vetiver, while the floral notes lend a bit of brightness to the scent. A spritz on all your pulse points is enough to have you smelling beautiful all day.