L'Eau d'Issey to me is not L'Eau d'Issey.
L'Eau d'Issey to me means Verena.
Verena is a woman born around 1960.
Verena means something like "the strong one" in German - and no other name would ever have suited this woman better.
She has been wearing this fragrance ever since I knew her, probably even before I was born and very likely still today.
It is "her" fragrance and besides Davidoff's cold water at the time, the only one she wears and most of all the one she loves to wear.
To Verena from my memory.
We write the year 2004.
Verena has four children. Or five? Six? In any case, many. Two cats, rabbits, guinea pigs are also part of her family.
Who is supposed to see through that? At least not the neighbors. For them, Verena is antisocial, "with so many children who don't even fit in the car". "What kind of woman is that, please? How many men has she had? Look at the kids, they don't look like they're all from one man. More like each one is by a different one." "Poor divorced woman. And then she's so arrogant, like she's Mrs. Consul herself. What is THAT imagining herself to be?"
Well. Verena, then barely scraping forty, has many children and those children in turn have many pets.
Verena is a single parent, her youngest child being of crawling age. Yet she is employed, working every day from four in the morning until ten/eleven in the morning. That's the only time she has to pick up the littlest one from daycare, spruce up the house and cook before the first child gets out of school or kindergarten.
Eating breakfast in the morning without them, the kids can handle. But cooking for half a football team is something she can't expect the eldest to do at the age of ten. Maybe in a few years.
Verena doesn't have a housekeeper.
She doesn't have a car to fit all her children in either.
Verena has a large house. This house she built herself, with her husband, who is no longer around. He died during the construction. That's why the house is still partly under construction.
But that is not important to Verena. The children's rooms are beautiful and she herself sleeps in the living room, on the couch on concrete floor.
What hardly anyone knows: Verena has a law degree. She graduated magna cum laude. So why does she work in a factory? Because no other job would allow her to reconcile career and children and, of course, because she moved to the country for her great love and there is not so much choice here.
Acquaintances admire Verena, for her strength, perseverance. Or they pity her, because she has no man.
Friends Verena has not.
She is pragmatically inclined and probably wouldn't even have time to cultivate friendships.
Who now thinks Verena would be an unattractive woman who looks and dresses as pragmatically as she lives: far from it.
As already mentioned, she is almost forty, but looks like thirty. At most. "Stress preserves," she laughingly shrugs off when asked about her age.
When she smiles, she can look haunting and evil, blame her green eyes and hard features: the high cheekbones and angular chin, at the height of which the dark red-tinted curls end (Verena's natural hair color is auburn).
Verena is tall, estimated at 1.77 meters tall, so for me at the time huge and a bit scary. She has legs that I'm sure Heidi Klum would be envious of. She wears an athletic size 36 and every once in a blue moon drives to the nearest big city to find fancy ankle boots in her shoe size (42, I think I know). (I knew this woman for a long time and never saw her in flats.)
Most of the time I see her in her favorite pair of jeans, a pair of washed out, stylish skinny jeans from Lee, with paint chips and rips. "Because that's how you wear them now, I just added some of my own to the rip where the pants broke," she explains to me. "A few years ago these were my work pants, now people pay a lot of money to get something like this in new". Oha. So when the jeans are airing, Verena wears one of those black, shiny leather things, maybe leggings? With a white, long, loose blouse. She could probably get away with anything with her figure, and if she didn't live a small town, she would have become a model, or at least a trendsetter.
She mostly finds trends laughable and for people who don't know what to wear or do on their own, her wardrobe has room for three pairs of pants, a coat, a knit dress and a few tops, including a fur vest that she sometimes wears over her white blouse when she feels like letting people look stupid and talk again, because that's what they do anyway.
Everything about Verena is a statement.
So is her perfume. She only has two pieces, one she loves and one she wears until she has the one she loves again.
And she loves none as much as L'Eau d'Issey. That's why for every one of her birthdays or Christmas, her kids (sometimes with the 25-year-old lover) pool their money and have someone drive to the bigger city to get this stuff.
Spending almost 100€ on a perfume is something Verena is reluctant to do. In her children, the money is better invested.
So even though she secretly knows she's going to get her treasure from her treasures, she acts surprised every time, but is honestly overwhelmed in the process.
As I am of L'Eau d'Issey.
I smell Verena aka L'Eau d'Issey, there Verena is still tens of meters away (and that's an UNDERstatement for a change) and still have it in my nose, she's long gone.
No scent has burned itself into my memory like Verena. It fills the room with its presence, is an overstatement.
For myself, this fragrance is an impossibility, I can't smell it, which is probably due to the carnation-violet-rose mixture (all notes I don't like that much, maybe also because of the memory).
But if anyone can wear it and carry it, it's a woman like Verena.
A woman who is incredibly strong, independent, smart, a woman with rough edges. I smell no warmth, nothing heartfelt, more like a punch in the gut to anyone who gets in her way.
Verena is not for cotton candy ladies, not for elfin "la vie est belle" salesmen, not for anyone who would like to be Everybody's Darling.
When I meet Verena (the woman) today, I am no longer afraid of her. She's gotten a little smaller and rounder over the years.
But HER scent has not lost a bit of the oomph it had for me back then.