IUNX Boutique : Perfume Shopping in Paris

Iunx_store

Update 9/5/2011: The IUNX line was reintroduced to the market in 2008, and the fragrances are currently available at the store next to the entrance of Hotel Costes in Paris.

Olivia Giacobetti’s boutique on Rue del’Universite, right in the heart of St. Germain, is not to be missed due to its pleasant atmosphere and unique decor combining Zen-like simplicity and futuristic touches. Called Iunx (pronounced ‘Yoonks’), this amazing perfume gallery, created in 2003, is sponsored by Shiseido, with the interior designed by Francis Giacobetti, Olivia’s photographer and film director father.

The essence of Olivia Giacobetti’s Iunx range is revealed in her own words when she says that “In ancient Greek, Iunx refers to the fascination and seduction of aromas. …. Fragrance moves towards a unique way of combining simplicity, innovation and technology.” Ten androgynous fragrances in the Iunx range (please see my reviews) are light eau de toilettes, more similar to eau de colognes. They are designed to be light splashes, linear and simple. Like most Olivia Giacobetti’s creations, they showcase her ability to render a certain essence, a radiant simplicity.

The dark interior of the boutique is dominated by a lily pond, surrounded by unusual installations that allow to sample fragrances in a highly interactive way. Tester cones through which the scents of lotions, creams and shampoos can be inhaled, candle sample sticks permeated with luscious scents are some examples of the ways Iunx discovery takes place.

Right behind the lily pond, one finds a glass installation holding large fragrance flacons, illuminated only by opalescent light. Fragrances are tested by a button being pressed under each number, releasing a just scented paper strip. When one is ready to sample fragrances on the skin, helpful sales associates dressed in slim black ensembles lightly touch cabintes with concealed doors, revealing rows of tester sprays.

It is definitely one of the most pleasant fragrance shopping experiences I have had—leisurely, quiet, a respite from the world outside the boutique’s walls. I cannot recommend a trip there highly enough.

The stars of the range, in my opinion, are the room and body products which are of high quality and come in a wide range of tantalizing and unusual fragrances from exotic flowers, luscious fruit to smoky woods. Shower gels have scents such as courgette (zucchini) flower, melonseed, linseed and wild rice. Moreover, Longan and Rum and Date Honey shampoos are luscious and leave hair subtly scented and soft. The candle collection is definitely worth exploring, with scents like White Lily (Lys Blanc), White Yucca (Yucca Blanc), Galangal, Papyrus, Saffron (Saffran), Red Sandalwood (Stanl Rouge), and Sugar Cane (Canne A Sucre), to name my favorites. Every candle I have had was enchanting, releasing potent and long lasting fragrance lavishly into the air. Furthermore, Iunx Ozmotek system designed to scent a room is likewise great. I especially liked Vapeur Rose and Vapeur de Sucre, a scent of delicate red roses heated by the sun and a mouthwatering flowery caramel, respectively.

Finally, the sensory experience is complemented by Iunx macaroons, with flavors like Ambre Blanc, white amber (vanilla, white sandalwood, rose petals and mandarin), Havana (white tobacco, rum, honey, spices, saffron, and vanilla), and my favorite Madras (rose, saffron, mango pulp, green almond, cardamom, sandalwood and black cumin).

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14 Comments

  • LaureAnne: N, D and I went together to IUNX last summer and had a fabulous time. It really is quite a nice boutique. I got impatient with the fragrances, though–they are ridiculously light. It is too bad because, when I could smell them, they were lovely! They obviously could be made to be (even slightly) stronger and I wish the manufacturers would do that. I, for one, would buy repeatedly! We liked the body products, too. I bought for others last time but this fall, I’ll go back and find something for myself.
    V, OG wasn’t the nose for La Chasse aux Papillons, was she? June 28, 2005 at 6:08am Reply

  • julien: They are very pleasant to wear,soft and like real eau de cologne.
    Very good quality,but for what they are(i mean,not real perfumes),it’s too expansive. June 28, 2005 at 8:29am Reply

  • MC: I like the ash shampoo, it has a powerful whiff of feu du bois which lasts all day. I wish she would create a perfume based on this scent. It has the same note as Dipyque’s Feu du Bois candle, and it also appears in Olivia Giacobetti’s candles for John Galliano and Bottega Veneta. One of my favourite scents: I love misty, autumnal odours.

    In autumn the Iunx boutique replaces its lily pond with a patch of closely-packed wheat stalks, it’s very pretty. June 28, 2005 at 8:35am Reply

  • Victoria: L, I find that fragrances are indeed too light, with the exception of L’Ether EDP. I liked some of them enough to buy, but I do not know whether I will do it again. La Chasse Aux Papillons was done by Anne Flipo.

    J, I agree–for what they are, these are too expensive.

    M, I love how Iunx changes its decor reflecting the seasons. I am usually in Paris either in the winter or the summer, therefore I have missed the autumnal decor. I love the smells of autumn, being born in September. My most vivid memory is going to gather autumnal leaves with my mother to press inside books. I am excited about Olivia Giacobetti new fragrance for Frederic Malle, which is supposed to be based on leather. Moreover, the new Bottega Veneta candle is supposed to be a precursor to a personal fragrance. Very exciting! June 28, 2005 at 10:03am Reply

  • Robin: What a lovely post, V, I feel like I have been there.

    I very much like a few of the IUNX scents, but have to agree that they are too short lived to consider purchasing from the US. Just not worth it with the current exchange rate. I would love to try the candles though. June 28, 2005 at 10:10am Reply

  • Victoria: Yes, I would rather buy candles, instead of fragrances. I wish some of these scents came in perfume form. I love her Santal Rouge. June 28, 2005 at 10:19am Reply

  • MC: A Bottega Veneta personal fragrance based on the candle would be perfect. I have the candle, but it has been too hot recently to burn. It smells of lapsang souchong, rain, iris and woodsmoke, and is very delicate and poetic despite these punchy elements.

    I’m Anglo-Irish so dank, drizzly weather and its associated scents are in my blood, so to speak!

    I wonder when her new fragrance for F Malle is due? I heard that there was a good chance it would appear before the end of the year, after a tuberose by Dominique Ropion (hello Robin!) June 28, 2005 at 10:31am Reply

  • Victoria: When Robin and I were last at Barneys, we were told that Dominique Ropion’s tuberose will be available in August, while Olivia Giacobetti’s leather fragrance is closer to the end of the year. I cannot wait!

    As for lapsang souchong note, it is one of the my favourites in OG fragrances. I detect it in Dzing! (will review on Friday) and Tea for Two. It is a perfectly autumnal note, without melancholy associations. June 28, 2005 at 10:43am Reply

  • mreenymo: I remember your posts on MUA and reviews of the IUNX EdT’s, V. They were, as always, well written and spot-on in the descriptions.

    I would love to try her body products, as I may be more of a soap/shower gel/lotion/body cream junkie than a fragrance junkie. Well, almost…And those macaroons!! That’s what I really want to try. :):)

    Hugs! June 28, 2005 at 12:03pm Reply

  • Victoria: Yes, macaroons were delicious! However, I have to admit that my favourite macaroons are from Pierre Hermé’s boutique at 72, rue Bonaparte.
    xoxo June 28, 2005 at 12:43pm Reply

  • Woodcock: I’m not the biggest OG fanatic but the IUNX store is beautiful. It’s heaven in black lacquer. My favorite in the Iunx eaux is the L’Eau Interdit, which is the one that smells like clean, very distilled absinthe. My sister got the melonseed bath gel, which I like to borrow when I visit her. Also there’s a lemon/pink ginger lotion in clear gel form, which smells very astringent when applied on the skin, and is nice to wear on humid days. June 28, 2005 at 3:10pm Reply

  • Victoria: I love L’Eau Interdit, which is among my favourites in the EDT range. I never used to like anise until I tried it, and now I cannot get enough of this note. I also really like water gels, especially the one you mention. I wish I had some on hand right now, since it would be perfect in this June heat. June 28, 2005 at 3:27pm Reply

  • julien: Dear victoria,for what i know from my different sources,the idea of a leather perfume for fréderic malle has been deleted.
    It’s about to be now a tubéreuse fragance but i don’t know if Olivia is the one chosen to make it.
    Let’s wait and see…my favorite ones from frederic malle are MUSC RAVAGEUR and IRIS POUDRE. June 28, 2005 at 3:42pm Reply

  • Tania: *snort* Yoonks! June 28, 2005 at 3:56pm Reply

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