Comme des Garcons has quite carved out a niche for itself in the fragrances that divide opinion. With just as many detractors are there are lovers and devotees. I have friends who swear by the Incense Series 3 set of perfumes (Kyoto in particular) as well as one devoted to Comme des Garcons White. Objectively, I’ve tended to appreciate their composition and aesthetic to an arty, cultured, appreciative audience rather than be wholly bowled over by any releases.
Creative Director of Comme des Garçons Parfum Christian Astuguevieille has been collaborating with Rei Kawakubo and partner Adrian Joffe since 1994 and has carefully built his own idiosyncrasies and his appreciation for opposites into the Comme des Garcons fragrance range. Collaborating with nose, Emile Copperman, Astuguevielle describes Floriental as ‘more of a negative proposal, a negative concept. It is a flower without a flower, an oriental scent without vanilla’. Which all goes to prove that whilst CDG time and again comes up with the goods in both fashion and fragrance terms, it can’t help being bogged down in hyperbole.
The rich cherry red and black, glossy tactile bottle that smacks of Christmas warmth, lives up to its looks in its gutsy spiciness that reeks of mulled wine, pine and a crackling log fire woody warmth. This is a comfort fragrance with artsy indulgence. A behemoth of beautiful ballsiness that intrigues from the get-go. Like Rei Kawakubo’s blood and roses SS’15 collection, Floriental draws on the emotions. And, taking this a step further, the label commissioned the brilliant Nick Knight of www.showstudio.com to relay the fragrance and its ethos in a video that shows roses melting into paint like blood and drenching the screen.
Based around the cistus flower, a flower with no scent, Floriental is created from labdanum, a warm resin, obtained from the leaves and twigs of the cistus shrub,. This radiates the sophisticated vanilla like warmth whilst sandalwood reinforces the impression of Eastern opulence. Woody vetiver adds to its heart while incense, pink pepper and a dose of fruity over ripe plum enriches the whole package.
The fragrance is heady but not overblown. The only detractor is its singularity rather than its reveal. It keeps on giving for sure but there’s no surprise change of pace with wear.
Comme des Garcons Floriental sells for £80 (100ml EDP) and £62 (50ml EDP)