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Fashion Update: Sacred scent

PERFUME launches usually go like this: turn up at exotic location, quaff champagne, spot designer and supermodel 'face' of the fragrance, pick up free gift, head home. But for the launch of Comme des Garcons fragrance, fashion journos huddled behind a screen at the back of the cafe at Liberty, Regent Street, to take part in a quasi-religious ceremony around a table covered in parcel paper. The plain white box was handed around like a sacred object. 'No, no, please, don't open it,' said Adrian Joffe, managing director, as someone tried. Finally the most deserving among us was selected for the task. A smooth pebble of a bottle artfully sealed in bubble plastic was revealed. 'The perfume works like a medicine and behaves like a drug,' said Joffe. 'It is for women and for men.' When we eventually got to smell the stuff, we found it heady with spices and actually rather nice. 'We think it will open a whole new market for fragrance, selling in museums and galleries,' said Joffe. 'Now, would anyone like a scone?'