Iman Remembers Husband David Bowie With “Love Memoir”

By Terrance Turner

Jan. 8, 2022

Today would be rock musician David Bowie’s 75th birthday. He married Somalian supermodel Iman in 1992, and the two were married for 24 years until his death from cancer in 2016. Today, Iman honored her late husband on Instagram with a throwback picture of the two embracing, with the hashtag #BowieForever. Iman recently launched her first-ever fragrance, “Love Memoir”, and last month on HSN, she revealed that Bowie was her inspiration for it.

“Well, when my husband passed away, I’d actually just started wearing his fragrance, so just to have it close to me. So he loved a particular fragrance by Tom Ford that was vetiver [a perennial bunchgrass plant]. So in this fragrance, definitely, there is vetiver, because I wanted the fragrance also to have something that would remind me of him. But also it has bergamot [a plant producing a green citrus orange-like fruit], black currant [a shrub known for its edible berries], obviously vanilla, and beautiful rose — rose because I wanted to have something to celebrate his heritage, which is English, and the bergamot and the black currant reminded me of Florence, where we got married.” (The two married in Switzerland in April 1992, but that June they had an official ceremony in Florence, Italy.)

Iman and David Bowie at their wedding in 1992.

“But being in the house by myself was…I could smell my husband in every room, because I was wearing his fragrance. And in front of me everyday, I was lucky enough — and, you know, privileged enough, really — to have witnessed the sunsets every night. So I would sit there at the end of the day and watch these beautiful sunsets that a couple years ago would have brought tears to my eyes in a different way, by thinking ‘I wish my husband was here to witness it with me, to watch this beautiful sunset with me.’ But this past year, what it did was actually I started watercolor because I started painting, and I’ve never painted in my life. So I started painting just to capture that beautiful sunset. And actually the carton of the fragrance and the box that this whole three-piece that comes in is actually one of my watercolors.”

Iman’s new fragrance, “Love Memoir”. Photo from oprahdaily.com.

“I started stacking stones on my property, and that’s a very deliberate action,” Iman continued. “You have to have patience. But also, it’s calming, and there’s something spiritual about it.” The amber bottle reminded her of the sunsets she wished to watch with her husband; the top of the bottle is hammered gold, which reminded Iman of her native Africa.

But there’s another meaning to the stones. Iman said that the stacked stones were originally called kerns, and “in the old, old tradition, it was used for memorials, a site for a memorial like someone who passed away. So it used to be that instead of graves, they would do stacking stones. But also what I love is that in other cultures — especially in the old days when people would go to countries that they didn’t know and they would be hiking — they will leave stacking stones for the other people behind them to know that they were on the right path.”

The HSN host commented: “To be able to have such a unique and amazing love affair — and it’s eternal — is…it’s all we have. Love is all we have,” she said. “And I love this one quote you said recently: ‘love and memories’. You know, at the end of the day, you have love and you have memories, you know? You can have all the goods in the world or have nothing, and all that’s really at the very end, is love and memories — which you have so many wonderful memories and so many happy moments and so, so joyful. You can see that in the photographs, in the pictures [of Bowie and Iman], and it’s evoked through this beautiful storytelling.”

The fragrance is called Love Memoir. “One of the reasons people have been asking me,” Iman said, “because they were very surprised — first of all, when they heard ‘love memoir,’ everybody thought it was a book,” she laughed, “and I said, ‘No, it’s not a book.’ But the — what I was trying to say about the memoir is that memoirs are like memories, and like — when you’re reading pages — that’s how for me, memories are. They’re like tucked between our hearts and our minds. That’s where they live,” she said. “So what I really wanted is to share with you something that is really it’s not just unique to me. I think what we really have to remember — and one thing that I really learned this past year — is that there is nothing individual. We are really universal, especially when it comes to emotions — especially when it comes to specific emotions, which is love and grief. If we are lucky, I always say — at this moment, after this year — I always say: if we’re lucky, we will experience both, because it’s inevitable. The grief is inevitable, because death is part and parcel of life. But if we are lucky, we will have love. And eternal love —  something really devotional. And so that is what I really wanted to share.

People wanted to know about my love story with my husband that was — that I… I really cherish. But this is what’s going to sustain me for the rest of my life is the memories I had with him. And what I really wanted to impart to the customer is that, yes, I have been like you, but maybe a lot of you have had someone who’s very close to you that has passed away, but the memories are everlasting. That is what is truly, truly unique. And that is what’s going to sustain us, and that’s what we really should remember. I know — I have to tell you, some days are harder than others. But,” she added, “I’ve come through to understand, is that: instead of me thinking about, ‘I wish he was here,’ I think about: ‘How wonderful, that I had 26 years with him’.”

Iman and David Bowie. Photo from Harper’s Bazaar.
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