Blog post by Gwen
Comme des Garçons store in Chelsea, New York Photo: perfumeniche.
The first time I went to the Comme des Garçons store in Chelsea, New York, I was on a mission. A friend had asked me to pick up a bottle of Comme des Garçons for them and I was happy to do it. I had the address, but nowhere was there a sign for Comme des Garçons. After a lot of “Is that it? Doesn’t look like it?” “Well, that’s the address…” I got there. Why the confusion?
The Chelsea store looks like part of mechanic’s shop, and you enter the store through an aluminum tunnel. Inside, the walls are slick white, with not one right angle in the place – all the better for changing your attitude and allowing you to appreciate what is on offer. In short, it was not what I was expecting to find.
Well, it is what one should expect from Japanese fashion designer Rei Kawakubo, the unconventional Japanese fashion designer who favours an unconstructed ascetic often called ‘anti-fashion’.
Kawakubo never formally trained as a fashion designer, though she did study fine arts at Keio University. Her Comme des Garçons label, of which she is the sole owner, is wildly successful and she controls every aspect of her brand from package design, to advertising to store interiors.
In 1994 she decided to add perfume to her range and had Mark Buxton create Comme des Garçons. I smelled it for the first time that day in the shop Chelsea and bought a bottle for myself there and then.
What makes it so full bottle worthy? It opens with a spicy, medicinal note, not a sharp antiseptic one, but warm, more like Tiger Balm than antiseptic. This passes and warm and spicy cardamom and cinnamon stay behind. A cedar note adds a woodsiness to it all before notes of rose, black pepper, clove and nutmeg show up. These play off each other beautifully never allowing the scent to get too floral or too spicy. Incense and sandalwood at the drydown give it a smoky softness. This fragrance has presence, but it isn’t loud or hard. There is just nothing else like it
Here’s the thing about Comme des Garçons – it’s different, not what you’d expect, not what you are looking for, but what you hope to find.
Check out Comme des Garçons in our Shop.