There’s a new, niche fragrance brand on Vogue‘s radar: IIUVO. Founded by London-based Tomi Ahmed and Leo Gibbon, it features round-edged, glass square bottles imprinted with a black Ō on its front and encasing distinctive fragrances like Soigné, Gilot, and Fonteyn, that call to be blended. The founders Leo Gibbon and Tomi Ahmed’s long term strategy to build IIUVO into a global brand that “pushes boundaries and evokes emotions beyond the existing surface-driven narrative,” beckoned a closer look…
How did the brainstorm to launch IIUVO come about?
LG: The first conversation on scent came from a time in 2014, when I bumped into Tomi outside Dover Street Market. I noticed he had bought a candle and wanted to see which one. He showed me the Comme x Monocle Hinoki candle and said it was for a girl he was seeing. I suggested he buy the Byredo Vanquish instead, to which he was surprised and taken back. A week later we met up and we naturally dived into another discussion on olfaction. That’s when he really began quizzing me about my interest and knowledge surrounding scent. From this conversation (subconsciously), IIUVO was being brainstormed as we started talking about our own concepts, interpretations, and how we could create our own world in the fragrance realm.
Can you describe the story behind the branding and the meaning behind the name ō and IIUVO?
Leo Gibbon: The ō derives from the original latin spelling for IIUVO, which is iuvō. IIUVO means to aid, assist, gratify, please, or delight. Traditionally, an iuvō would be used to describe anything that enhances or improves. The act of ‘iuvō’ is something we hope to achieve in whatever form of expression we embed the brand within. When we added the second “I” to create our own version of the word, we lost the ō and used it as our brand identity/branding.
One fragrance, Fonteyn, is described as “a scent of tender delicacy, laced with depravity.” How do you formulate your stories?
Tomi Ahmed: I guess everything we try to formulate needs to have some sort of personal resonance with us and reflect what we feel. Fonteyn [after prima ballerina Margot Fonteyn] stemmed from an obsession with things that were ominous, yet delicate. We lent from the medium of dance and film, Margot Fonteyn and Stanley Kubrick respectively, but especially Stanley Kurbrick’s visceral visual language.
LG: Every scent comes from a personal place of resonance. What I love about Kubrick’s work is his ability to combine something so dark with something so beautiful. From his early photography series in Chicago to his last films, he created the most beautiful aesthetics that had an underlying nuance that was so dark. In the Nocture 1970 dance performed by Margot Fonteyn, the exact same feeling was evoked when watching it; it was as if Kubrick himself had directed the video. This is where the name came from. Fonteyn was designed to have dark, earthy notes combined with slightly more sweeter notes to create a perfume of mystery. A scent which you couldn’t depict exactly what is in the scent or what you like about it. It is meant to entice you. LN-CC, Selfridgeds & Co, Machine-A, Browns, Harrods, Liberty, London; Murkudis, Berlin; The Recollection, Antwerp; Anchoret, Hong Kong; Edition One perfumes £135. Candles from £50. IIUVO.COM