By Deborah Fulsang I love a fresh citrus cologne in…
When Henry Wadsworth Longfellow uttered: “Into each life some rain must fall,” we’re fairly certain the 18th Century American poet wasn’t referencing fragrance.
And yet, since then, the perfume industry has been flooded with water-inspired scents. This season, a new wave is set to wash over us.
Eaus with an aquatic bent, like Guerlain’s 1920s Eau de Fleurs de Cedrat and Worth’s 1925 Sans Adièu have lived alongside their more complicated counterparts since perfume was first bottled. Even Cleopatra was rumoured to have perfumed herself in blue lotus-infused water. But it wasn’t until the 1990s that clean, marine and utilitarian scents truly reigned, drenching cosmetics counters, every girl and her boyfriend’s décolletage, and the decade.
“Their popularity was a result of consumers craving clean, fresh scents,” explains Lynne Florio, the global brand president for La Prairie. “And these attributes were often associated with rain-inspired fragrances.”
Call it a reaction to the excessive ’80s; these squeaky-clean scents created a distinct shift in perfumery. And while their wash-and-wear sensibility seemingly contradicted the ’90s grunge look, popular eaus with their straight-forward presence such as Calvin Klein’s CK One, Giorgio Armani’s Aqua di Gio For Men and Issey Miyake’s L’Eau D’Issey were all part of the decade’s larger fashion statement: generic simplicity.
Then in early 2000, La Prairie launched Silver Rain, a water-inspired scent with a twist. “Water is a remarkable source of energy with many permutations, each acting as a source of inspiration,” says Florio. “It’s known for its ability to cleanse, rejuvenate and transform.” By capturing the crisp, fluid, citrus notes of the ’90s and mix mastering them with heady flowers, creamy vanilla and musky woods, Silver Rain helped instigate the reinterpretation of how aquatic scents could smell.
“Into each life some rain must fall.”
–Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
Now, perfume houses like Issey Miyake, Jo Malone, Demeter and Serge Lutens have followed suit, creating the respective spritizes: L’Eau d’Issey Lotus; London Rain, Rain & Angelica; Rain; and L’Eau Froide, complete with unique notes, such as white flowers, green botanicals, earthy soil and peppery ginger.
“There’s something special about our world when it rains—the air is quiet and alive with something rare and precious,” says Florio. “It’s something born of the clouds, yet also of the earth.”
Demeter Rain, $15 (30 ml), www.demeterfragrance.com
Issey Miyake L’Eau d’Issey Lotus, $116 (90 ml), www.thebay.com
Jo Malone London London Rain, and Rain & Angelica, $125 (100 ml) each, www.jomalone.com
La Prairie Silver Rain, $160 (50ml), www.laprairieswitzerland.com
Serge Lutens L’Eau Collection: L’Eau Serge Lutens, L’Eau Froide, Laine de Verre, €75 (50ml) each, www.sergelutens.com