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Comme des Garçons

The first time I went to the Comme des Garçons store in Chelsea, New York, I was on a mission to discover their fragrances, but finding the place was a bit tricky. I had the address, but there was no sign, no indication it was store. Why the confusion?

The Chelsea store looks like part of an old 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 we were 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 Chelsea and bought a bottle there and then.

What makes it FBW? This EDP 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 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.

Comme des Garçons is listed in our Decant Store. Decants are $5.00 for 1 ml.


Unexpected scents

I do like CdG Original, but their Hinoki and Wonderwood are two of my unexpected favourites. I'm new to this sniffin' stuff, and if you'd told me I'd favour scents with this much woodiness and sort of antiseptic cleanliness, I'd have said not on your life. But they're amazing! And then, on Saturday, I sampled Stephen Jones' CdG fragrance--holy violet meteor, Batman! Now that was unexpected--and completely amazing. Other unexpected delights: Fire From Heaven by Christopher Brosius (there he is again!) and Black March (ditto). And then in a completely different way, Frapin's dried fruit and chocolate and cognac 1270--I smelled like the most amazing English Christmas pudding ever, and I was completely okay with that! What I'm enjoying most about all of this sniffing around is that I'm learning to really smell. Really, really smell--and in an interesting way, it's making me pay more attention to my other senses as well. Which is kind of neat.

Re: Unexpected scents

What a great comment - this is what is all about! Learning, sharing, exploring perfume yes, but it's what you learn about yourself along the way that is the real surprise.
Keep sniffing, keep exploring - it is a whole new world in so many ways!