Hot Thing: Odeur 53 by Comme des Garcons

IT IS most bizarre. A perfume that is not a perfume, and yet is an `odeur' being sold as a perfume. Or is it just an odeur? It is called Odeur 53, (imagine saying that, should someone ask `what is that scent?'), it comes from `noses' at the laboratory of International Flavour and Fragrance, and was commissioned by Rei Kawakubo of Commes des Garcons, who is launching it to an unsuspecting public on 11 May.

As a concept, it redefines the whole idea of modern perfume, and the smell is unique too, which is rare. The IFF describes it as `53 abstract notions evoking images, creating your own air around you,' and `a memory of a smell', and after spritzing it around it does seems more akin to a breath of fresh air than an actual smell. This is because it has been made by chemically recreating 53 inorganic smells, such as sand dunes, fire energy, washing drying in the wind, burnt rubber and the freshness of oxygen, using a method which takes nothing from nature, and thus is truly environmentally friendly.

Because it is comes from Comme des Garcons, the bottle (designed by Kawakubo) is clunky and gorgeous, it is highly conceptual, and involves `a process' to gain the final result, which is sure to please Comme fans. More than that, however, this fragrance is the first step away from ozonic scents like the unisex cK One, and the next step towards the millennium. And what's more, the smell, which is also unisex, is quite addictive. A sure Hot Thing.

Odeur 53 will be available exclusively from Liberty, Regent Street, London W1 from 11 May for two weeks. 200ml eau de toilette, pounds 39, 15ml eau de toilette, pounds 13. From 25 May it will be available from leading department stores nationwide. For mail order inquiries, call Liberty on 0171 734 1234 ext. 2445

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