There are many conventions in the world of male fragrance. One is to launch a ‘sport’ variant somewhere down the line once your signature fragrance is successfully established. Why sport? Well, the assumption, of course, is that ‘sport’ is something that all men ‘get’ (the other variant buzzwords being ‘intense’ or ‘extreme’). To the major fragrance houses ‘sport’ is masculine and reaffirming and therefore safe and sellable. To me this sounds like blunderbuss marketing but hey, it clearly works so who am I to knock it?
Bizarrely, the word ‘sport’ has now become shorthand for a fragrance that is ‘light’ or ‘fresh’ or ‘invigorating’, mainly, one assumes, because it sounds a lot (and I love using this word) butcher. And it’s a winning formula, with almost every brand trying to crowbar a sport fragrance into their protfolio – with varying degrees of brand synergy.
Chanel Allure Homme Sport, for example, shouldn’t work but does. With Lacoste Essential Sport there is a natural fit but in Dolce & Gabbana’s case, as with The One Sport, it’s all smoke and mirrors and nice gladiatorial ads (the fragrance itself being mind-bogglingly dull). There are some brands, though, where the notion of a sport fragrance seems, if not laughable, then just plain wrong.
Which brings me neatly on to the latest fragrance from Issey Miyake, titled – you guessed it – L’eau d’Issey Pour Homme Sport. Given Miyake’s place in the fashion world this to me this is as incongruous as Greggs offering an organic veg bulgur wheat pasty (i.e. unlikely and just plain wrong). And the fact that the apparent concept behind it is not about sport itself so much as the ‘energy, intensity and emotion’ behind sport kind of suggests that no-one else thinks it’s an entirely comfortable fit either – even with its delightfully sporty lid.
The irony is that the fragrance itself – a woody, citrusy number with sparkling bergamot, grapefruit and warm vetiver and cedar – is okay (in a generic men’s fragrance kind of way) which is where my Whitney-inspired title for this post comes from. Okay fragrance, shame about the concept.
L’eau d’Issey Pour Homme Sport by Issey Miyake will be available from 30th April.