If Johana by Keiko Mecheri were a shoe…


Being parfumistas we accept that most perfumes are unisex and even those that lean towards masculine or feminine designation might be worn by any gender. The same way there are no strict rules as to which genre of perfumes should be worn in which environment or on which occasion (breathing conditions permitting).

It might be a nice contrast to put on, let’s say, a vintage Vol de Nuit extrait while wearing jeans and sneakers and running mundane errands or to use some faint and subtle skin scent with a statement evening gown. But we often think of perfumes in terms of the occasion, something like:  office-friendly, night out, beach walk or my best friend’s wedding. I thought about that while trying to classify my recent favorite – Johana by Keiko Mecheri.

It’s not an elegant and graceful Dior New Look 1947 ready for an evening in symphony (even though Luckyscent describes Johana as “elegant perfume” – I disagree).

Dior New Look and Shoes

But, on the other hand, neither it is a carefree and relaxed Estee Lauder Bronze Goddess on a tropical vacation.

Estee Lauder Bronze Goddess and Shoes

Following the idea above, to describe how I see it, I pared Johana with shoes. This perfume is more than just comfortable casual loafers but rather fun and playful (well, as far as “playful” goes for my clothes) Mary Jane shoes. Johana is a dramatic but at the same time airy perfume. It doesn’t make a shocking statement but keeps grabbing my attention as I wear it.

Keiko Mecheri Johana and Shoes

When I was planning my visit to MinNY last Fall I had no intention to test Keiko Mecheri line. Did I have any particular reason? Not really, it’s not one of the lines I’m boycotting. Other than MinNY having plethora of other brands to which I normally have no access, there is that strange feeling that there are too many perfumes in the line – and until then I haven’t tried a single one.

How did it happen that after I’ve tested a dozen of Xerjoff‘s, all available Mona di Orio‘s, as many as I could Miller Harris‘ and many other perfumes I ended up leaving with Amour de Palazzo on the wrist and a single sample of Johana in my bag? It must have been fate!

In several month I went through a couple of samples, liked the perfume more and more, went to MinNY site hoping to buy it, panicked since not only they didn’t have it in stock any longer but I also couldn’t find it on the brand’s website – I thought it was some kind of an unannounced limited editions or promptly discontinued perfume. So when I saw a partial bottle of Johana sold in one of the FB perfume-related groups I immediately grabbed it. It’s available again from MinNY and Luckyscent (it’s still not mentioned on the official website!) but I’m glad I got it.

Rusty and Johana

Johana by Keiko Mecheri – created in 2012, notes include Japanese chrysanthemum, galbanum, rose, wisteria, iris, cocoa, patchouly, incense, vanilla and sandalwood. I love most of these notes in perfumes. In Johana I cannot smell any of these! But I really enjoy this perfume even without being able to deconstruct it. Or maybe because of it?

If you want a real review, I liked very much Brian’s take on it (be patient, it takes a while for this site to load – I don’t know what widgets they use there but each time it’s a pain…)


Images: my own


65 thoughts on “If Johana by Keiko Mecheri were a shoe…

  1. He, he, I really like your perfume/shoes pictures! :)
    And from the one with Johana, I’m pretty sure I’d like the perfume too.
    I have a high opinion of the Keiko M. brand, I just wish it were available here…


  2. You have some really great shoes! :)
    I didn’t get into the Keiko Mecheri line for the same reason as you, too many bottles seem so overwhelming, but maybe I should give this ine a chance…
    Lovely post, Undina!


  3. I won a fb on a draw and samples were included and I loved them all….agreed though, there are SO MANY perfumes in this line! Sound like you found a winner (I like the notes of Johana as well:)!)


  4. Where to start? Excellent pics and idea with the shoes, and the perfume images it conveys is perfect- better than reviews:-)
    I’m completely with you on not trying KM, and I can’t explain why, although, they are difficult to come by here (read, I’d need to buy samples, and where to start with such an oeuvre?)
    So, you too Undina, fall for that, partial bottle from a fellow perfumista- thing! And even better, the ‘oh no is this being DC’ed/ LE-thing, yay. I can’t tell you how relieved I am, when even you, who calculate and plan every FB buy (it seems), does this, I feel a little better about my perfume buying habits. Thanks:-)
    Lastly, this one sounds gorgeous, if I ever see it, I shall make sure I’ll test it.


    • Asali, I’m glad you liked the idea and the implementation – I enjoyed figuring out how to do that.

      As much as I’d like you to feel better, I have to point out that I did plan to buy a FB, couldn’t find it and then went for a partial bottle. Though right now I’mactually considering the purchase of a partial bottle for which I had no plans… So go ahead, feel better ;)


  5. Those perfume/shoe pics you’ve put together are great!

    How funny you can’t detect any of the listed notes, but I agree that can be part of the appeal. A really well blended perfume that is more than the sum of it’s notes – like Puredistance 1, say – can be a joy.


    • Thank you, Tara!
      I’m sure that people with better noses than mine would be able to pick out notes. But I keep training and maybe one day… Meanwhile I’ll just enjoy what I smell.


    • For my nose it doesn’t smell sweet at all but I’m known not to smell some type of sweetness. So if Le Labo Santal 33, SSS’s Tabac Aurea or Guerlain Angelique Noire smell really sweet to you, this one might too (or not but you wouldn’t know unless you try it).


  6. I have been intending to try this line for a year now. I’m attracted to the lovely bottles and there’s a reasonably priced sample set on their site. Something else always seemed to jump ahead of the line though, maybe because I’d never heard anyone profess love for one of the scents? Now that’s changed…:)


  7. Dear Undina

    A splendid photo-essay, those pics are truly witty and yet convey so much.

    I adore chrysanthemum, though I always think of the hyper-realism of Private Collection, but have a rocky history with the cocoa, vanilla, incense type of accord you describe… definitely one to try: perhaps when I am in MinNy.

    I’m also curious to know which brands you are boycotting and why? Perhaps you’ve covered this already…

    Yours ever
    The Perfumed Dandy


    • Thank you, TPD!

      Currently I’m boycotting six brands and two perfumers. I was actually thinking about writing a post about it. Maybe I will. But so far I’m just spreading a word – whenever a topic comes up.


        • I’ll let this one slide – just in case you want to come back and explain yourself in more than just a passing by snark remark but I should warn you that I’m not too patient and if you plan to be just trolling I will not tolerate it.


          • I don’t care if you post this or not, considering you sound I’d say 50 years old give or take, you are quite immature. I suggest you take the stick out of your ass, life is too short. Cheers.


            • Why do you consider it immature of Undina to boycott a line? I think what’s immature is the way you’re attacking her.

              Undina is a thoughtful, kind and beautiful woman — and no, she’s not 50, but I am, so I’ll be the old hag who scolds you. This is your first comment here, yes? And you leave this kind of remark. You ought to be ashamed.


        • 1) What is wrong with you? How utterly rude and tacky.
          2) Not that it matters, but Undina is nowhere near 50.
          3) Boycotts can be very effective ways to push policy changes.
          4) Allow me to reiterate: you are being a weirdo, and not the fun kind.


          • Ari, you’re sweet, thank you. Don’t worry, I do not think this, ahem, gentleman will be participating in the upcoming conversations: I have no tolerance for that kind of behavor and I’m too old (take a look in the latest post ;) ) to naively expect that after a start like that there might be a meaningful dialog.


  8. Ingenious post, Undina. I very much get the feeling, or sensibility, of Johana by seeing those casual but very striking Mary Jane shoes. I love Mary Janes, btw … I have a really cute pair in black with a heel and scalloped cut-outs.

    OK, back to perfume (before I get ideas of raiding your shoe closet, because now, of course, I want your Mary Janes … and that gorgeous cat who seems to like them, too). ;) I’m unfamiliar with the Keiko Mecheri line. I did sniff a bunch of them at a department store in Sweden, but that was three years ago, after fatigue had set in from sniffing my way through perfumes at two other stores. The Swedish perfumista I was with (who, coincidentally, was named Suzanna) had a couple Keiko Mecheri favorites … and considering how elegant her taste was in all things, and now this post from you, I’m thinking I should order some samples sometime.


    • Thank you, Suzanne. I’m sure we’d find some other interesting perfume/shoes pairing in our closets (beyond the obvious one for Jul et Mad’s perfume ;) ).

      Rusty was very curious about my preparations so I had to keep him behind the closed doors (he wasn’t too happy). Once I let him in heimmediately wanted to rearrange the scarf I used as a backdrop.


  9. Ooh, Camper! I have some oxblood Camper ankle boots that are 13 years old and still going strong. Timeless, that brand.

    Love the angle of your post and the coordinating colour scheme of your shoes. And Rusty’s tentative sniffing of the whole ensemble.

    I have yet to find a perfume by KM to love, though I must say I rather fancy those notes too – well, the drydown in particular.

    Fun piece!


    • Those are not just Camper – those are Twins (have you noticed that left and right are different?)

      I like when it happens: you sniff a perfume for the first time and suddenly like it a lot. It doesn’t happen to often to me.


  10. Brian’s review had me really wanting to try this perfume, now you like it too! A good sign. Like you, I had ignored this line, not so much because of any bad feelings toward them but just because they have so many perfumes it’s hard to know where to start.


    • I thought that maybe the brand was out there for a long time but, from what I can see, it’s relatively new. So there is no good reason to have about fourty perfumes in the line within four years. I wonder if it brings better sales for a new niche line than just 5-6 perfumes.


  11. Love your Mary Janes (and your great pics and Rusty as usual)!

    Haven’t tried any Keiko Mecheri yet — something about the descriptions always leads me to think “too sweet” or “powdery.” Unfortunately my local perfume store doesn’t have Johana yet.

    Re Brian’s site: I used to find it almost impossible to load when I used Explorer, but it loads instantly in Chrome.


    • Thank you, Lindaloo (and a treat goes to Rusty).

      None of the stores here carries any KM’s perfumes so any testing for me would be a guessing game. It’s a lot of work to choose something that you might like when nobody is testing the line (according to the most comments above).


  12. First things first – a big hug to the lovable Rusty!

    As to shoes and perfume, I never thought to pair them! I do love your mary janes!

    I have never tried any of the Keiko Mecheri’s (nor the Montales nor the Maison Francis Kurkdjian although the Kurkdjian may get remedied tomorrow).

    I feel lemmingish…


    • Rusty got a tummy rub (for whatever reason he appreciates that more than hugs ;) ).

      Keiko Mecheri has to do some serious outreach! It looks like less people tried this line that didn’t.


  13. I love the pairing of perfumes and shoes. Genius, inventive, original and, also, very evocative of your overall point! As for KM, I have 2 or 3 samples of her perfumes but, somehow, I’m never motivated to test them. I’ve come closest to being tempted to try Damascena, and even brought it out last week, but everything I’ve read emphasizes that KM perfumes are super sweet and powdery. (Oh, and with iffy sillage/longevity often being mentioned, too.) So, given those 3 things and my personal tastes….. hm.

    I read above that you said KM has put out 40 perfumes in 4 years. My jaw is on the ground. Bloody hell!! I only consistently hear of about 7-8 of them with the main ones being: Damascena, Cuir Cordoba, Damascena, Loukhoum, and some Violet something.


    • Thank you, Kafka! I’m glad you liked my idea.

      I tried Damascena and it’s absolutely not for me: I can’t take that straightforward rose.

      I was wrong about Keiko Mecheri: the brand exists for much longer – since 1998. And Fragrantica has 52 fragrances in their database for this brand.


  14. Those shoes! I love the black pumps. And the sandals. And the mary janes. As for the perfume, I’m glad to hear there is a real winner in the KM line. I had ordered a bunch of samples a while back and was not wowed with any of them. This one sounds very nice, though.


    • Thank you, Natalie, I like all those too (even though right now I can wear only mary janes).

      With 52 (!) perfumes in the line it should be hard to randomly choose several of those that would work for you.


  15. What a great idea! The perfumes and shoes are laid out so nicely here. Not to mention I love, LOVE Mary Janes. I’m really not familiar with Keiko Mecheri, simply because there are so many perfume lines out there that I never got into it. But I’ll have to try Johana.


    • Thank you, Joan. I also keep skipping whole lines just because there are so many of them. But when I read that one of my blogo-friends likes some perfumes I feel tempted to try them.


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  17. Really great Undina!

    I love the idea behind! How did the idea cross your mind?
    The Keiko really goes with the purple flip-flops or balerinas..what are they? :)
    Now you catched me to think about my shoes… :)



    • Thank you, Juraj!

      I tried to figure out how to properly describe Johana. Even though I disagreed with Luckyscent about it being elegant, I wanted to do it justice since I think it is a beautiful perfume. So as I was looking for a comparison point for “though not elegant but not overly casual” – and the idea with shoes just came (owning all those nice shoes also helped, as you can imagine ;) )


  18. Love it! Those are some killer heels, Undina! And I absolutely am crazy for the Camper twins. What great shoes!

    I have to say that I have had zero luck with Keiko Mecheri. Even the Bespoke ones. They just evaporate on my skin and 20 minutes later, I am just kind of angry.

    But I haven’t smelled Johana (or don’t remember it), but will make a mental note to give it another chance the next time I see it (the line is also carried by my hair salon).


    • I’m officially envious! So, you live in the city where not only some high-end perfume stores carry niche lines but hair salons as well?! :)

      I love twins! It’s good I don’t live close-by a Camper store – it would have been a huge competition (for resources) to my perfume hobby. As to the heels… If I were to try to wear them now they would be killers and not only figuratively speaking. But I still hope to be able to wear them when my back is better.


      • I hope you back gets better soon, Undina! Back and neck pain are the worst.

        Yes, my salon carries Andrea Maack, Tauer, and Keiko Mecheri. But I usually am doused with Rose Chyprée before I even make it to the Keiko display.


  19. The photo with the orchid sandals and Bronze Goddess is outstanding, Undina! Please give beautiful Rusty a treat and/or tummy rub on my behalf. I also haven’t paid much attention to Keiko Mecheri. For some reason I was under the impression that KM was a particularly expensive line, but now that I look on Luckyscent, it’s actually relatively cheap compared to other niche brands.


    • Thank you once again, Ari! (Rusty is vey thankful as well). I hope your finals are over soon – we miss you (and Zelda).

      I was also pleasantly surprised by KM’s prices. Now I wish some stores around would start carrying it.


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    • These are from Camper, it’s from their Twins series. Unfortunately, they change their line-up every season and it’s almost impossible to find the ones that you liked but hadn’t bought (ask me how I know :( ).


  21. Still hope you post one day (if you haven’t done so already) the brands/perfumers you are boycotting….I do that myself with not only brands/perfumers but bloggers as well. If something doesn’t sit right with me, I as the consumer or reader has the right to say “no”.

    I already know how you feel about Bond no 9 based on a comment you made and your reasoning was rational enough for me to see this brand in a different light so I think it is of value to others to know what they are buying and who they are supporting. Kudos to you for that :)

    Liked by 1 person

    • I actually planned that post for a while but just never came around. Besides, I know that my friends might enjoy some perfumes without knowing “the story” so I do not want to ruin it for them :) But I still might write it one day: I’m keeping a list ;)


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