Commes des Garçons teases out the softer side of concrete with its latest fragrance

Concrete-themed event
Comme des Garçons launched its latest fragrance at a concrete-themed event in New York
(Image credit: press)

No stranger to boundary pushing, Comme des Garçons has launched an olfactory creation centred on a material close to our heart: concrete.

Rather than focus on its cold, austere and brutalist qualities, Comme des Garçons’ vision of a concrete fragrance is unexpectedly rooted in the soft sensuality of sandalwood. Blended with cedarwood, balsam and musk, and a mélange of spices such as cumin, cardamom, ginger and pepper, this avant-garde riff on sandalwood is a deftly executed disruption of the brand’s own perfume legacy.

Comme des Garçons Parfums creative director Christian Astuguevieille explains, ‘Concrete is really part of the DNA of Comme des Garçons. I was very interested in the contrast between the rawness of concrete and something as refined and luxurious as sandalwood. They are very different, but harmonious as the same time.’

The enticing perfume

Concrete

(Image credit: Comme des Garçons)

Created by perfumer Nicolas Beaulieu, Comme des Garçons Concrete opens with a rich and opulent burst of sandalwood that is interrupted by the presence of a metallic accord, an artificial rose oxide. ‘I knew from the beginning that I needed something disruptive, but to do that in a manner that’s wearable, surprising but fitting the concept is a bit more difficult,’ he says. ‘[Rose oxide] is a molecule that you find naturally in rose oil, but it’s not floral at all. It’s very metallic, green and sharp, and so for Concrete, I really overused it to create this disruption.’

Rich, woody and yet a little unsettling, the enticing perfume is bottled in a concrete version of Comme des Garçons Parfums’ signature flacon. Each glass bottle is dipped in concrete by hand and exudes a porous, natural quality – quite the contrary of what the material is typically known for. The collision of all the juxtapositions; between the bottle and its material, the concept and the actual fragrance, represents Comme des Garçons’ spirit to a tee.

Beaulieu sums it up perfectly, ‘To me there’s always something surprising or almost disturbing in CDG fragrances, that’s what I find interesting. There’s something catchy, which you’re not sure whether you like or don’t like at first, but you always come back to it.’

Cement mixers

The installation featured ten functional cement mixers

(Image credit: press)

The New York event

There was concrete galore at the New York event

(Image credit: press)

Cedarwood, balsam and musk

Lightly toned concrete reflects the fragrance’s softer notes: cedarwood, balsam and musk

(Image credit: press)

The new fragrance

The new fragrance was also unveiled concurrently at London’s Selfridges, in collaboration with artist Graham Hudson

(Image credit: press)

Selfridges

Detail of Hudson’s installation at Selfridges

(Image credit: press)

INFORMATION

For more information, visit the Commes des Garçon website (opens in new tab)

Pei-Ru Keh is the US Editor at Wallpaper*. Born and raised in Singapore, she has been a New Yorker since 2013. Pei-Ru has held various titles at Wallpaper* since she joined in 2007. She currently reports on design, art, architecture, fashion, beauty and lifestyle happenings in the United States, both in print and digitally. Pei-Ru has taken a key role in championing diversity and representation within Wallpaper's content pillars and actively seeks out stories that reflect a wide range of perspectives. She lives in Brooklyn with her husband and two children, and is currently learning how to drive.