THE UNEXPECTED ESSENCES OF COMME DES GARÇONS PARFUMS
Don’t let the French name trick you: Comme des Garçons is a Japanese company, just like its founder, Rei Kawakubo. Everything in this company is unconventional, even its name (“Like the boys”). Would you like to smell out of the ordinary? Then Comme des Garçons’s perfumes will help you get off the beaten path.
Asymmetrical cuts and dark colours: Comme des Garçons’s garments
Comme des Garçons parfums, born in 1994, is the child of a fashion house with the same name, whose garments follow a precise motto: going beyond fashion itself. That’s why the colours you find on Rei Kawakubo’s clothes are black, grey and white – but a few others have recently joined the group -, and show an asymmetrical cut. Indeed, the company’s name mirrors the idea which gave birth to the brand: at first the company only produced garments for women with postmodern lines, sometimes even masculine. An example? In 1996 Comme des Garçons presented a collection of garments (Dress Meets Body, Body Meets Dress) with bulges on the hips, back and belly: the media renamed it Lumps and Bumps.
From the surprising Odeur 53 to the intriguing Comme des Garçons Play: how a perfume becomes unconventional
This experimentation with shapes, patchworks and unusual blends of classic and modern fabrics finds its perfect companion in the perfume line Comme des Garçons parfums, because:
- they’re unisex perfumes: Rei Kawakubo’s clothes, too, play with both male and female elements, in order to transform common canons of beauty, and her perfumes are no less so. These fragrances join the intensity of typically male essences, as for example vetiver and patchouli, to the delicacy of female ones, mainly derived from flowers;
- the inspiration behind them is original: the best example here is a perfume like Comme des Garçons Odeur 53, which doesn’t try and copy any perfume existing in nature, but rather invents a new one. After uncapping its bottle, you’ll meet 53 different fragrances: fire, mountain air, coal, sand dunes and many others, trapped in a single perfume by a modern technology, replicating the smell of inorganic materials. Don’t expect it to be a strong perfume, though: its uniqueness lies in the careful combination of all these essences in a delicate, warm and sweet fragrance which will linger on your skin for a long time;
- they combine traditional essences to create innovative perfumes: take Comme des Garçons Play Red, for example (but the Black and Green versions follow the same idea), a mix of flowery and fruity notes (red mandarin, cherry, geranium) with a fiery touch, provided by cinnamon, saffron and pink pepper. People love it because of its chic and playful side and because it’s a perfume you can wear with a casual style, with a t-shirt and a pair of jeans;
- they revisit ancient perfumes: Comme des Garçons Eau de Cologne Series 4 is the modern version of an 18th-century perfume, Eau de Cologne, whose central element was citron. There are 3 versions of it, but Citrico is maybe the most similar to the original fragrance, even though it features the sweetness of orange flowers and rose, too, as well as the masculine note of sandalwood. It’s extremely light, so particularly suitable when perfume must be a thin veil on your skin, like in summer;
- the packages are refined and particular: those of the Play collection, for example, show the logo of the t-shirt line with the same name, whose heart-shaped trademark was designed by an artist from New York, Filip Pagowski.
To reach such levels of uniqueness and unconventionality, Comme des Garçons’s perfumes require a long period of research, first-hand raw materials and expert hands and noses. Sometimes the latter belong to perfumers such as Antoine Maisondieu, the nose behind Black Pepper, in other cases to big names in the field of fashion and design, like Grace Coddington (Comme des Garçons Grace) and Pharrell Williams (Comme des Garçons Girl).