Issey Miyake Pleats Please : Fragrance Review

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Most perfumery output today can be divided roughly into the children of Angel and the children of Light Blue: Angel, as in Thierry Mugler and Light Blue, as in Dolce & Gabbana. On the fringes of the Angel and Light Blue families, you have an ever popular white floral clan that once upon a time was sultry and dark like Hermès 24 Faubourg and is now pretty and coy in the manner of Juicy Couture and Elie SaabIssey Miyake’s Pleats Please belongs with that group, even though it speaks with a Light Blue accent and also has Angel’s patchouli. It’s a cosmopolitan perfume counter citizen.

issey-miyake-pleats

Pleats Please was created by Aurélien Guichard, the same perfumer who interpreted peach as a decadent dessert in Bond no 9 Chinatown and made lilac modern in Gucci Guilty. The opening is a mix of juicy apple and orange. Imagine chilling apples in the fridge near the freezer compartment and then taking a bite out of the icy, crunchy fruit.

Without skipping a beat, Pleats Please jumps into the rose and jasmine, which are pale and pastel toned. It’s an abstract floral accord, which sometimes makes me think of tuberose and at other times of violet, but the rose with its honeyed core is distinct. The jasmine isn’t too squeaky clean, which makes Pleats Please more interesting. Even when you reach the musk and vanilla in the drydown, you notice floral nuances.

Like Juicy Couture, Pleats Please is less of a pastry than a nectar drenched flower. It’s a much sweeter fragrance than I ordinarily like, but it moves seamlessly from one stage to the next and maintains its glittery, bright character without fading. The interpretation is not new, but the quality of the composition is fine. Pleats Please isn’t likely to end up in the pleiad of classics, but for an undemanding, “girly as they come” perfume, it’s a good choice.

That being said, it won’t be your cup of tea if you don’t care for perfumes like Light Blue, Marc Jacobs Daisy or Narciso Rodrigez For Her. And Juicy Couture, of course. Pleats Please makes no qualms about upping its dose of fruit and taking notes from other big white floral successes. On the whole, it’s crisp, juicy, and scintillating; it’s a fun blend. I will take it any day over Valentina, Nina or Lola.

Issey Miyake Pleats Please Eau de Toilette includes notes of Asian Nashi pear, peony, sweet pea, cedarwood, patchouli, vanilla, and musk.  The fragrance is available in 30ml, 50ml and 100 ml bottles.

Sample: my own acquisition

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55 Comments

  • Rachel: Ha ha! “the children of Angel and the children of Light Blue.” I prefer the children of Light Blue, Angel is my nemesis. July 11, 2013 at 8:44am Reply

    • Victoria: I don’t dislike Angel, and some of its children are among my favorites–Serge Lutens Borneo 1834, Prada Intense, Coromandel. On the other hand, I love the original Light Blue more than some of its subsequent variations. July 11, 2013 at 9:36am Reply

      • Rachel: I love Coromandel and I’m starting to like patchouli more, but Angel is too sweet. My coworker used to wear it: it made the whole cubicle smell even when she wasn’t there. July 11, 2013 at 10:44am Reply

        • Victoria: Angel is definitely one of those sillage monster perfumes! If you don’t like it, it’s hard to remain indifferent. July 11, 2013 at 2:58pm Reply

  • Alexandra C: Great article Victoria!! Thank you. July 11, 2013 at 9:42am Reply

    • Victoria: Glad that you liked it, Alexandra! :) July 11, 2013 at 10:23am Reply

  • Cornelia Blimber: Pleats Please reminds me of Scarlett (Cacharel), also of Via Lanvin, but sweeter. Pleats Please is to my nose richer and more interesting than Scarlett, I clearly can smell lathyrus in Pl Pl, one of my favourite flowers. I don’t know Light Blue, must try that one!
    It’s always interesting how you can place the perfumes in a timeline. From your articles I realized how important Angel has been in the history of perfume. July 11, 2013 at 9:54am Reply

    • Victoria: Thank you for a comparison! I don’t know Scarlett that well, but when I smelled it on blotter the other day, it definitely reminded me of a score of other things. Do try Light Blue, if you have a chance. Even if just to know where most of new perfumes originate. It’s fun to draw these lineages, and the truth is most perfumes, even great classics, are inspired by something else. For instance, Lanvin Arpege was a riff on Chanel No 5, Shalimar–on Coty Emeraude. The difference from mere copycats is that they’ve offered a new expression, a new sensation to an existing theme, or even improved on it. July 11, 2013 at 10:27am Reply

      • Rachel: What about Chanel No 19 and Goutal Heure Exquise? They smell almost the same to me. July 11, 2013 at 10:45am Reply

        • Zazie: Connections between perfumes are fascinating: despite relying on objectiveness (to some extent), sometimes the relationship depends greatly on one own very subjective impression.
          Between HE and n.19 I smell an abyss, yet I know many people “link” them!!! July 11, 2013 at 12:04pm Reply

          • Yuki: I can’t wear No 19 but love Heure Exquise, so go figure. They don’t smell identical to me either. July 11, 2013 at 12:30pm Reply

          • Victoria: I agree with you. While the relationship itself is there (Chanel No 19 and HE belong to the same group), it doesn’t mean that they smell exactly identical. Also, when we compare side by side, we will always notice differences first. It’s just the nature of our nose. For instance, in a professional setting, you would smell several times these two perfumes, changing in the order in which you smell them. Which is why the fragrance finders apps are, by and large, useless. They identify family, without helping a customer figure out if the fragrances actually smell alike. Just to give you another example, Mitsouko and Narciso Rodriguez for Her actually share the same family according to some classifications, but they are nothing alike. July 11, 2013 at 3:11pm Reply

        • Victoria: They’re definitely in the same family–green floral, with a strong green top note (from a material called galbanum), which contrasted with iris. This strong element gives them a very recognizable character. You could say that HE is a variation on No 19. July 11, 2013 at 2:59pm Reply

    • sara: i like perfume timelines too. it’s like tracing genealogies. July 11, 2013 at 11:50am Reply

      • Victoria: That’s exactly it–every perfume belongs to a family and then to a sub-group within that family, and it’s interesting to see what fragrances inspired others and set new trends. July 11, 2013 at 3:04pm Reply

  • Ann: What a great review. Not too long ago I sniffed Pleats on a blotter… among several other perfumes… Those hurried perfume counter scent checks on the way to somewhere else are like when you are searching for a song or news on the radio and you go up and down the dial. Mostly you get snippets and static but occasionally you hear something that makes you want to dial back to check out the program. Pleats was just snippets and static for me. Now I want to go back and listen. Even if I would never buy the perfume, I wish I’d caught the crisp apple, rose, jasmine, girl-band jingle! July 11, 2013 at 11:01am Reply

    • Victoria: It’s one of those perfumes that smell so familiar and likable that they may not leave a big impression. But it’s also nicely crafted and it wears nicely. I wore it next to La Petite Robe Noire Eau de Toilette and Dahlia Noir L’Eau and it trumped both of them. LPRN had a weird artificial candy flavor phase before it settled down, Dahlia Noir’s drydown was really bland, but Pleats Please maintains its bubbly, sparkling character and never veered from it. It also didn’t smell cheap. July 11, 2013 at 3:02pm Reply

      • maja: I tried this the other day but it was milion degrees outside, I was hungry and tired and – didn’t like it. :) I also found the bottle a bit too much. Guess I should go back. A propos LPRN edt: it is completely different from edp (which I like) and unwearable for me. Maybe it’s the apple note? July 13, 2013 at 4:15am Reply

        • Victoria: The drydown was ok, but there was a phase when it smells so much like artificially flavored fruit juice that I couldn’t bear it. I don’t mind the EDP, but the EDT was disappointing. July 13, 2013 at 4:54am Reply

  • Marika: I’m happy to read you liked it too. I got a bottle of Pleats Please as a gift and it’s a nice summer perfume. It’s not too sweet for me and lasts well. July 11, 2013 at 11:36am Reply

    • Victoria: I’m glad to hear this, Marika. Enjoy this nice gift! :) July 11, 2013 at 3:03pm Reply

  • sara: i wasn’t crazy about it, but it was nice enough. the bottle is really cute! July 11, 2013 at 11:51am Reply

    • Victoria: It’s much nicer in person than I expected from the photos. July 11, 2013 at 3:04pm Reply

  • Eric: I’ll go with Light Blue, it’s less offensive than Angel (sorry Angel fans). In an ideal world though, I could live without either. July 11, 2013 at 12:09pm Reply

    • Victoria: I can understand that, but I would never want to be without these two, if only because many of my favorites were inspired by them. July 11, 2013 at 3:12pm Reply

  • Natalia: Thank you for a great article, as always!
    With Light Blue, it was love at first sniff for me ) With Angel, it took some time but, eventually, I surrended to it as well. Angel has been living on my shelf for years since then and will probably continue to do so. But I got kind of tired of Light Blue after I finished my first 25 ml. bottle. Reading about it now, however, I feel the desire to go back to it again. It IS a wondeful fragrance after all.
    As for Pleats Please, I did try it but was unimpressed. I thought it was nicely done but it left me completely indifferent. July 11, 2013 at 12:20pm Reply

    • Victoria: Light Blue is a fantastic summer scent, and I often receive many compliments on it. I seem to break it out whenever it gets hot, and its crisp apple and amber veil feels refreshing. July 11, 2013 at 3:14pm Reply

  • Erin T: Count me among the Angel fans. I’d take either the Mugler OR 24 Faubourg over any of the others every day of the week and twice on Sunday. I tried Pleats Please and didn’t find it offensive, so I agree with your last statement about taking it over Valentina, Nina and Lola, but then I think of that Luca Turin anecdote: “Very nice… but why not nothing?” ;) July 11, 2013 at 1:27pm Reply

    • Victoria: Those three (Valentina, Nina and Lola) had so much promise, but they just didn’t catch me. Well, apart from Nina’s bottle, but it didn’t help much, since the perfume is so cloying, sugary. July 11, 2013 at 3:16pm Reply

    • Austenfan: Great quote!

      Have yet to try this, and doubt if I will make a great effort to do so. July 11, 2013 at 4:29pm Reply

      • Victoria: If I remember your favorites correctly from your comments, I don’t think that Pleats Please is worth your while. :) July 11, 2013 at 5:38pm Reply

        • Austenfan: I will undoubtedly try it if I come across a tester. I just won’t go out of my way to find it. (I actually really dislike the name, perfectly silly of me, but it somehow manages to get on my nerves.)

          The only Miyake I wore for years is L’Eau. I don’t really like it anymore but I remember how strange and pleasing I found it at the time. Do you know if it has been tampered with a lot? It seems very harsh these days.

          Le Feu I missed completely. Which is a pity. July 12, 2013 at 12:01pm Reply

          • Cornelia Blimber: I agree, the name is horrible. i won’t tell my associations. July 12, 2013 at 12:24pm Reply

          • Victoria: It’s different, yes. I’ve just tried the new L’Eau d’Issey Absolue, and I surprised myself by liking it. It’s a mix of jasmine and honey, with L’Eau d’Issey’s signature marine note. July 12, 2013 at 3:19pm Reply

  • minette: i may have to try it simply because that is a kickass bottle. seriously, look at the work that went into it, and the production. nicely done.

    not saying it’s the most gorgeous bottle i’ve ever seen, but i am saying it’s one of the most interesting bottles i’ve seen in a long, long time. it should definitely get points for design.

    the scent doesn’t sound too bad, either. sometimes a pretty girly scent is what you need. July 11, 2013 at 2:42pm Reply

    • Victoria: The facets of this bottle are the most interesting part, and it also made me wonder what the production costs must have been like. The heavy lid is also nice. July 11, 2013 at 3:17pm Reply

    • Mer: I got a bottle of Scarlett (granted, it was down to 15 euros), just for the bottle. Hah. For shame. July 15, 2013 at 12:00pm Reply

  • Annikky: I have to admit I mostly got fruity-flowery syrup out of this one, but I tried it on paper: must investigate if it smells less sweet and more complex on skin. In any case, there are much worse things out there and I agree with Minette about the bottle, it’s great. July 11, 2013 at 3:18pm Reply

    • Victoria: I think that if you aren’t a big fan of Juicy Couture and the likes, it won’t be a revelation, and yes, it’s sweet. When it comes to fruity and bubbly, Cacharel Amor Amor is still my favorite, or at least, one of them. July 11, 2013 at 5:37pm Reply

  • ralu: Victoria, how interesting (and accurate) that you are dividing new releases into children of Angel and Light Blue. I like both but it took many, many years to finally appreciate Angel.

    Unrelated to this, have you ever tried Musc by Bruno Acampora. I’d be curious to hear (or rather read) your thoughts. :) July 11, 2013 at 5:13pm Reply

    • Victoria: Angel wasn’t a love at first sniff for me either, but it grew on me slowly.

      I haven’t tried Musc yet, and it’s still on my to sample list! July 11, 2013 at 5:39pm Reply

      • ralu: I have a bottle of the EDP. Would you like a sample? July 11, 2013 at 5:43pm Reply

        • Victoria: That’s such a kind offer, Ralu! No worries though, there is a store nearby that carries the line, I just need to visit there. July 11, 2013 at 5:44pm Reply

          • ralu: How nice to have a store that carries that line and I’m assuming other niche brands as well. Sometime I wonder if I shouldn’t just open my own perfume store in Boston. July 11, 2013 at 6:01pm Reply

            • Annie: Ralu,
              I’ll come shop there if you do! July 11, 2013 at 7:52pm Reply

            • Victoria: You really should! :) July 12, 2013 at 6:21am Reply

  • Nina Z: It is so fascinating to hear about the roots of contemporary fragrances, and to be able to understand them in context (in addition to responding to them viscerally). When Angel first came out, I found it delicious but also so candy-like that I felt too embarrassed to ever wear such a thing. Perhaps Coromandel, which is one of my favorite fragrances, is a more grownup version? Anyway, I’m very glad it came to be and glad I’m lucky enough to own a vat. It does make me wonder about what the next groundbreaking fragrance will be that will inspire the next generation of perfumes. I find it exciting–for their to be greatness, there will have to be a lot of mistakes…. July 11, 2013 at 5:57pm Reply

    • Victoria: True! For instance, to create a new, original scent or a variation on something that exists, one needs to know the market. On the other hand, many perfumers (mostly those working independently or for small niche houses) choose not to know the market and create simply based on their own impressions and ideas. If you work for a big corporation, you have no choice, as often clients come in with specific requests–we would like a new fragrance, use perfume X, Y, Z as your benchmark. Of course, you also operate in a completely different area and you market test, so knowing the market output is essential.

      I also see Coromandel as a more grown up version of Angel, although it retains mostly the Angel’s patchouli, rather than the gourmand part. Same with Borneo 1834, which explores the natural chocolate-like nuances of patchouli. Both have such delicious, sensual characters to me, even if a bit moody and dusky. July 12, 2013 at 6:21am Reply

  • Dao: Hi Victoria, what a great article. I love to relate fragrances in this manner and I will definitely go and smell Pleats please again with your perspective. At first thought it was lacking some character although great bottle. As for N°19 and Heure Exquise they were totally cousins. Thrilled to observe I was not the only one to enjoy the closeness. A quick question: Coco Mademoiselle seems so unique and recognizable. Are there some other fragrances that you could relate to? Thanks! Dao July 12, 2013 at 4:35am Reply

    • Victoria: That’s true, it could have had more character, but I think that they were going for commercial and likable. Glad that you liked the post. :)

      Coco Mad was such a huge trendsetter, and off the top of my head, Chanel’s own Chance (Eau Tendre version is a daughter of Light Blue though), even Coco Noir, Miss Dior Cherie. I’m smelling right now Givenchy Ange ou Demon Le Secret EDT, and it reminds me of Coco Mademoiselle a lot. July 12, 2013 at 6:29am Reply

      • Dao: thanks Victoria! I’ll check them then, have a nice we! July 13, 2013 at 12:19pm Reply

  • Michaela: I tried it the other day because my friend Miruna liked it a lot and reviewed it positively. It is is sparkling and sweet and efervescent, but it takes a white floral lover to make it work. I don’t know all the notes but I thought there was some tuberose and maybe orange flower… I find it not connected to the traditional the Miyake spirit. Definitely for those who crave white flowers. I am glad I tested it and I think it is better than Elie Saab or Flash, it is more personal, funnier and somehow easier to accept. But again, tuberose, orange flower and the like have never been my cup of tea, so I might be biased. Did you notice the sweetpea? It is marketed as a mainly sweetpea fragrance but I didn’t smelled it that much. July 19, 2013 at 4:23pm Reply

    • Victoria: It didn’t stand out to me as much, and the floral part is really more of an impressionistic accord. July 19, 2013 at 5:28pm Reply

  • minette: so i finally tried this one (what, it’s only been more than half a year!) and i really like it! there is a green, cut-stem quality to it that keeps me engaged. it reminds me of that andree putman scent preparation parfumee for some reason! and it moves between that steminess to a creaminess that i really like. i know there is fruit in there, but the florals carry it. this is very pretty. and easy to wear. January 23, 2014 at 8:43pm Reply

    • Victoria: Thank you for sharing your observations, Minette! Yes, pretty and wearable is a good way to describe it. I like wearing it time to time when I’m in a mood for something lighthearted. January 24, 2014 at 7:37am Reply

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