"A fragrance that couldn't exist in a bottle that shouldn't exist..." reads the press release for the new scent from Comme des Garçons, in characteristically opaque style.
The bottle "that shouldn't exist" is designed by the company's founder, Rei Kawakubo. It is part hand-blown and nestles in a white CdG box. It feels lovely, pleasingly dimpled and organic, although it doesn't do anything so banal as stand up on a shelf, say. You have to lie it on its side at which point it resembles a bizarre sea creature.
The juice itself is as strangely beautiful as any follower of this extraordinary brand could wish for. Here's CdG's description.
"An imaginary flower constructed linearly, the fragrance opens with the man made organic composites of aldehydes and safraleine, opening up to hawthorns and derivations of lilac before exploding in a riot of flower oxides."
In fact, first impressions bring to mind Chanel No 5's decidedly confrontational younger sister. It is powdery and, yes, flowery but unlike anything floral that nature intended. The sweetness of purposefully elusive blooms are undercut by notes of "industrial glue" and "brown scotch tape". "A flower in Scotch tape," is how the brains at CdG sum it up.
In the end, this is a typically abstract and contrary affair and one that is also extremely original, and that is no mean feat in a market flooded by bland new scents that are as easy on the nose as they are unremarkable. In Paris last month Comme des Garçons celebrated its imminent arrival at its Trading Museum concept store, with a series of faux ads/short films shot by Katerina Jebb, and starring Tilda Swinton, Marisa Berenson, Kylie Minogue and Kristin Scott Thomas. The latter was captured, in true clichéd style, twirling against a backdrop of a Paris sunset.
Finally, the name of the product is Comme des Garçons which not only suggests this one's close to Kawakubo's heart but is also as straightforward as the end result is anything but.