If there’s a colour palette one would associate with Comme des Garçons, it surely would be black? In the 1981 debut show, the house made an impact for its predominant use of black and distressed fabrics. Just over three decades later, the label now has stores dedicated entirely to its Black collections and designer Rei Kawakubo, famously favours a monochrome colour palette.
However, brilliant colour has played a key role in Comme des Garçons' burgeoning line of fragrances. Green, red, gold, white, many showcased in a unique pebble bottle designed by Rei Kawakubo. This summer sees the release of Blue, a series of three fragrances based around three emblematic warm notes of incense, cedarwood and sandalwood. Blue is a colour which has traditionally symbolised calm, spirituality and freedom and was favoured by the late French artist Yves Klein.
Here Dazed Digital speaks exclusively to Comme des Garçons president Adrian Joffe about the ideas behind the new series, the working process and his personal feelings on the colour.
Dazed Digital: What does the colour blue mean to you?
Adrian Joffe: I’m trying to be silly and funny… blue is depressing isn’t it? It’s not used often, not usually talked about in the context of perfume. There are not a lot of natural things that are blue. I can't think of any blue food!
DD: What was the idea behind the Blue series?
Adrian Joffe:The idea came about when we were working on our Amazing Green fragrance last year, and there was originally a green and a blue version. We all loved both of the bottles, which was the traditional pebble shape. We do one each year - we’ve had them in silver, black, red... Rei thought because it was a series of three, it would be interesting to have different shades of blue on the bottle design.
DD: What is so special about the pebble design?
Adrian Joffe: Rei created the pebble design and it’s one we really love; it’s become a classic. It’s so comfortable to hold in the hand and is really easy to travel with. It feels very familiar; sometimes new can be familiar or authentic. We always like to do something new, but something that never changes is always new. It’s paradoxical. With us, it’s always those two things. Some things never change even the values themselves not changing is new. It’s very rare for values in a company to never change. With Rei it’s solid. That’s very special.
DD: What was the idea behind doing a series?
Adrian Joffe: We’ve done lots of series but this was the first series based on moods, so that was interesting. With the moods and how they have to be linked and not be a gratuitous series. We discussed the original perfume with the nose Christian Astuguevielle and he explained there are three basic components of fragrances we like at Comme des Garçons: incense, sandalwood and cedar. There’s no deeper meaning than that really – it’s about what we really like. We decided to approach three different noses (Evelyne Boulanger for Encens; Nathalie Feisthauer for Cedrat; Antoine Maisondieu for Santal) to come up with their own interpretations. Santal took the longest to perfect.
DD: What’s your personal favourite fragrance?
Adrian Joffe: I really like the Cedrat, which combines Itialian cedar, juniper berries, Angelica roots, metallic rose and Virginian cedarwood. A lot of people say the three different scents suit different moods – the Encens is quite dark so people seem to want to wear it at night. I like how they’ve managed to get a cool incense.
DD: What is your relationship with the noses you work with?
Adrian Joffe: We’ve worked with Christian for a long time and mainly he’s the one who works with them. It works well that way - he's brilliant and understands what we want.
DD: How does it feel when a fragrance is finished?
Adrian Joffe: It’s an ongoing process, you feel happy that it’s out and it’s good but it’s not a huge sense of relief like after a collection.
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