The First Fragrance From Loewe x Paula’s Ibiza Is the Escapist Summer Scent We Need Right Now
The fragrance’s rainbow ombré bottle is housed in cylindrical box featuring Paula’s boutique founders Armin Heinemann and Stuart Rudnick’s 1970s print of mermaids frolicking in a seascape.
Photo: Courtesy of Loewe
Will summer be canceled this year? As the world grapples with the continued impact of the coronavirus on our daily lives, this question keeps bubbling up as many people wonder what will become of pre-pandemic vacation plans, not to mention the carefree attitude that typically accompanies warmer weather and leisure time spent with family and friends. I am one of these people. While my thoughts are often dominated by more pressing matters—our collective health and safety, and the staggering amount of loss and hardship that has already been endured at the hands of the virus—every so often I find myself gripped by a longing for the beach, and all of the sensory experiences that go along with it: the warm sun, the feeling of hot sand between my toes and salt on my skin, and the smell of sea-soaked breezes tinged with tanning oil.
Jonathan Anderson is on the same trip. “It’s an aide-mémoire of better times to come,” the Loewe creative director says of his latest Paula’s Ibiza collaboration, which borrows from the kaleidoscopic, handcrafted prints and the ecstatic abandon that helped make the Balearic island’s iconic boutique a symbol of bohemia during its 25-year run. The capsule collection, the fourth from the Spanish house, features some of the usual fare—gauzy maxidresses and linen tunics in bright fabrics, among other summer staples that can easily translate into elevated loungewear for the continued days of working from home that likely lay ahead—as well as some new twists: Adding to the escapist mix is the first Paula’s Ibiza fragrance, which is poised to help conjure visions of summer as we’ve known it, while they’re all we have to cling to.
Fragrance, of course, with its strong ties to memory, is a particularly good vehicle for such machinations. “This scent brings me back to Ibiza where I used to spend my summers when I was a child,” confirms Anderson—something he shares with Loewe’s in-house perfumer, Nuria Cruelles. “After school let out, we’d spend a few weeks there with my best friend’s family,” says Cruelles. “The color of the sunsets is different there; the texture of the sand is different there; the smells of the streets—woody, like the ’70s—are different there. And the parties! You have to live the moment to capture it.” These are a few of the experiences that informed the Barcelona-based nose’s creative process while she formulated the genderless perfume, which is a distinct departure from what she describes as the citrus-heavy “marine” scents that often flood the market this time of year. (“That is not what Ibiza smells like,” Cruelles confirms.)
Instead, the ombré, rainbow-color flacon contains a blend of less expected ingredients: coconut water and galbanum, an extremely green plant resin (Cruelles’s riff on seaweed), as well as patchouli, incense, and sandalwood in a nod to the island’s bohemian past. Synthetic ambergris—an aromatic wax once harvested from whales—adds what she calls a necessary “animalic, but not fishy” undertone. “You know when you go to the sea and you find driftwood that has been in the ocean for a long time? It smells like that,” says Cruelles.
I do indeed know the smell of which she speaks. My own olfactive memories are of less exotic experiences sur la plage—in South Jersey, specifically, where city- and state-wide ordinances have closed beaches until further notice. Whether they will remain closed as the summer months arrive remains to be seen; but for now, there are these well-timed spritzes of coconut water and sandalwood, and visions of driftwood washing up on the shore.