He drifted off, blissfully, in the sand……………..SUMMER by KENZO (2005)













Kenzo is a fashion house I can’t help but enjoy: a (privileged, expensive) refuge from reality that combines a precise, childlike Japanese aesthetic with a vivid, jungled, ‘ethnic’ spectrum: an idealized,  Franco-Japponic, rainforest-batik world of colour. On occasion I go to their shop in Aoyama, Tokyo, just for a quick Kenzo fix ( love how they print flowers), and to consider the possibility of buying one of their leafy, kookaburra neckties. Eye-catching, lush, is the way I would describe the brand.





There is also something quite artificial about Kenzo: it’s ‘le monde est beau’ mantra, its smooth, plastic, futuristic packaging; those poppies, ubiquitous, trapped in their eye-brimming plastic towers – but somehow, on the whole, it all works. Many of the perfumes in Kenzo’s range, whether discontinued or not (Le Tigre, L’Elephant, Kashâya, Parfum D’Eté) are good: pleasing little concepts of scent and visuals that are very neatly, appealingly, packaged. 




Like the magnificent Kenzo Pour Homme (one of my favourite summer fragrances of all time), Kenzo Summer is deliciously evocative of this season, and on first spray brought back to me a delirious myriad of photographic images of childhood holidays, flashing by in my mind in rapid, emotive succession: the unfamiliar yet comforting scent of a rented chalet’s bedclothes next to sunkissed skin after a day by the sea: my father asleep on a beach towel in the evening sun; flickering white and yellow light behind closed eyes as the waves crash on the shore and you slumber, beneficently, in that oceanic, dreamy limbo-land between sandy, sun-lidded consciousness, and shaded, cavernous more watery underworlds.  




I don’t know how the perfumer (Alberto Morillas) achieved this estival feat, but it is all really rather clever. While the scent does contain an odd jarring synthetic, soapy note initially, this can be quickly forgiven, as from the start the scent is so extraordinarily cheering; the loveliest, yellowest, looming mimosa flowers cut through with a bladed breeze of leaf-green grass;  a skin-caressing scent of sweet almond milk and sunscreen that softens, then, to a delicious, lingering, note of airy, care-free, sun-filled afternoons.




Filed under Flowers

27 responses to “He drifted off, blissfully, in the sand……………..SUMMER by KENZO (2005)

  1. What a lovely evocation of a summer afternoon. I realize that I have never sniffed a single Kenzo perfume. I have heard some people say favorable things about Flower and Amour, too. What do you think of them?

    • Pleasant, bland to the point of irritation for many people ( all the more daring ones, like this one, got discontinued ).

      Even Summer will definitely polarize. my friend Emma gave me my first bottle as although she had initially loved the almond note, she eventually felt as though she were trapped in some suffocating family nightmare from hell: if you react to the synthetic aspect negatively there is no turning back. On me, the beachy, airy sillage is to die for.

  2. Katy

    Greetings. Alberto Morillas is one of my favorite noses. There. I said it. I keep CKOne in the fridge for spritzing on hot summer days. It is quite refreshing. Givency Pi was my first serious perfume purchase and the original Bvlgari Omnia is one of my favorite comfort fragrances. I am so pleased that you appreciate his work as well. While I may not like everything he has been commissioned to create, I think that may have more to do with the cheapness of ingredient, or the tweaking that goes on to make a scent less expensive to manufacture, then the talent of Alberto. Give the man an unlimited budget and the freedom to make what he wants to! I wish it worked that way.

  3. Dearest Ginza
    Splendidly tender slice of your past.
    Oh the joy of fragrance to transport us through time.
    Yours ever
    The Perfumed Dandy

  4. Cath

    Summer by Kenzo is one of my favourites too.
    We have a very similar taste in perfumes and it’s always a pleasure to discover new scents and rediscover old favourites on your blog.

  5. emmawoolf

    thanks for the name check Neil 🙂 – you’re right, I liked Summer initially, but infinitely prefer Mimosa pour moi if we’re talking mimosa (I must check out your review of this, I think you have one?). I found the almond/mimosa was drowned by a synthetic/metallic/amber/jarring note. It didn’t help that said perfume was purchased at a duty free for a suffocating family holiday in a French gite, where I was constantly surrounded by interfering inlaws, exhausted, baby and toddler in tow, in desperate need of peace and quiet. Said vacation was not helped by the fact that the gite came with its own private water supply in the form of a well, which had literally dried up. So only one shower was permitted for the entire week. A Manon des sources nightmare, except I was Gerard Depardieu! It was a stiflingly hot August and Summer only served to mask our increasing body odour and unwashed hair as the week went on. Can never wear it again for that reason! (I adore the original Kenzo for women though, can you still get it?) x

    • I used to love that as well; so warm and soothing…..yum. Not sure if you can still get it or not.

      Thanks for the re-run of the holiday story: I can actually imagine this being nightmareish if you weren’t able to shower and this was the only way of ‘freshening up.’ Cloying mimosa sunscreen hell.

  6. emmawoolf

    indeed. Today is the first properly hot day of the year and I have just returned from a gorgeous and I-have-slightly-overdone-the-sun beach day, so this review is most apt and welcome (ps said beach is Winterton, in case you were wondering). What do you make of “sunscreeny” perfumes, such as Jil Sander Sun, Bobbi Brown Beach, I wonder? There’s one true beach/summer perfume I actually really like, but have never worn: Dune by Christian Dior (Although the name brings the 80s scifi film to my mind, which is surely not the intended effect). More summer reviews please Neil, before our capricious skies cloud over again! x

  7. ninakane1

    I keep trying Kenzo but can’t connect to it for some reason. It’s something to do with the shape of the bottles – they remind me on Mondrian paintings, and the glass is so chunky. I think I’ll have to try and concentrate on one – maybe do a seul-spritz and leave it on for the afternoon. For some reason I’m thinking I should try Kashaya.

  8. Lilybelle

    I love your writing. 🙂

  9. GwennJ

    I have worn this perfume for 8 years now … Unfortunately they discontinued it and it is almost impossible to find it 😦 Don’t know what to do it was THE perfume that represented me so well !! Would you recommend a similar perfume ? Powdery but also very fresh and light at the same time ? Thank you 😉

    • You know, I have never found anything else with these exact qualities. The dry down of Summer is unique I think. We will just have to keep combing the internet.

      I do find it weird that it was discontinued though. Was it really not popular at all?

  10. Reblogged this on The Black Narcissus and commented:

    It has reached that time.
    Proper hot, yellow sun.
    And so I am CRAVING some more bottles of this.
    For me, there is no better work scent once the solar rays start blasting.

  11. Tara C

    I wore this one for several years and loved it, when it first came out. Haven’t smelled it in many years though. My current hot summer favourites lean to immortelle, big white florals and the only « aquatic » I can stand since Missoni Acqua has been discontinued, Mazzolari Marine.

    • Gorgeous.

      Today Summer was almost hallucinatingly good. Yesterday I had a bad smell day with the wrong fabric conditioner, smelly hair and a green tea scent that wasn’t working. I was miserable.

      Today, clothes washed in far nicer washing powder and hung out to dry in the blazing sunshine, nice soapy shower and shampoo, and sprays of Summer ( the bottle is almost finished ) on a clean white shirt and skin.

      I smelled FUCKING AMAZING : holographically mood altering

      And still quite nice 8 hours later, although it is all going a bit sandalwoody baby powdery


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