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Comme des Garcons

Comme des Garcons opened the perfume shop section of their fashion designer business in 1994 with the launch of Comme des Garcons.  Originally founded in 1969 by Rei Kawakubo (along with her husband Adrian Joffe) and located in Tokyo, Comme des Garcons later opened the Paris part of their business.

Comme des Garcons means "as boys" in French, and they have a distinct look. Originally successful in the women's fashion area, they started the menswear portion of their business in 1978.  Comme des Garcons is known for a playful, funky vibe, with varying themes, like the destroyed look in the 1980s, the lumps and bumps collection in 1997 (bulk and balls on the clothing), and the 2006 fusion of feminine and masculine clothing.

Celebrities with a similar offbeat style over the years have been fans of the Comme des Garcons brand, like Chloe Sevigny, Kanye West, Tilda Swinton and Alexander McQueen.

When they first introduced perfumes, they kept the same offbeat style in their fragrance. Their first release bearing just their brand name and created by perfumer Mark Buxton, is still one that many regard as a masterpiece.  It is a unisex spicy resinous chypre with notes of labdanum, cedar, styrax, galbanum, sandal wood, carnation, hay, black pepper, frankincense, cinnamon, geranium, cardamom, nutmeg, Turkish rose, French honey and coriander.

Comme des Garcons' 2012 fragrance release was Comme des Garcons A New Perfume, with a synthetic tribute to industrial glue and brown scotch tape.  Yeah, it does sound pretty weird, but it is strange addictive, like mimeograph paper.  Funny to think how we have a weird mental association with some odd industrial-type smells that are almost comforting. Well, that's a psychological discussion for a therapy session.

The best-selling perfumes in the Comme des Garcons line, at least in our store, without question are the incense series, launched in 2002.  It was part of a longer Parfums Series 2000 centered around a single topic - incense, sherbet, synthetic, sweet, red, leaves.

Comme des Garcons Incense Series 3 includes five fragrances - Avignon, Kyoto, Zagorsk, Jaisalmer and Ouarzazate.  When we were in Morocco, we were so excited when we went through the City of Ouarzazate, otherwise known as Little Hollywood in Morocco. Pronounced war-za-zaut. Each of the incense fragrances is themed on the incense smells used in a culture, as each area has different substances, while they feel somewhat the same, calming and meditative.  Zagorsk, from the Russian monasteries is much more pine and green.  Avignon is High Mass in the cathedral.  Jaisalmer is more spiced, which is typical in India, using guaiac wood. Kyoto is lighter in the Japanese style, with more cypress and teak.  Ouarzazate is pepper and clary sage over labdanum and Kashmir wood - yeah, Rock the Kasbah!

Comme des Garcons has accumulated a wide range of fragrances that are unlike anything else, and despite being able to say that their fragrances are designer perfumes, their perfumes are much more niche in every way and shouldn't be classified as designer at all. Unique, thought-provoking, sometimes ugly in a weird beautiful way, they have taken all of the elements they bring to fashion and carried it into perfume.

Try Comme des Garcons Incense Series 3 sample set to experience the best-selling fragrances from this line.