Sunday, January 4, 2009

Violet meets Space: Commes des Garcons - Stephen Jones

There's a funky new 'fume on the streets.  And it endeavors to stamp itself as different in everything from its packaging to its marketing to its olfactory presence.  And, by joe, I think it's working.  

Packaging:  It's like a hat in a hat know, the kind with the netting, that goes with your tailored suit?  (That's suit with a skirt, as in old time Dior?)  And I've got to say--as one who has a few of those hats lying about just for fun--I like the packaging.  I generally don't go for kitsch or gimmick...unless it is well executed and/or relevant to what smell is inside.  As shown in photographs, at least, this one is working for me.  I'll need to go find a real bottle and report back.  

Marketing:  The copy says "a new perfume directed by Stephen Jones and produced by Commes des Garcons.  Many perfumes have an "artistic director" or some such, and a "nose" who actually creates the thing.  But being so upfront is not typical (we know that this is how the Goutals work, but don't often hear about it in general).  I understand "producers/artistic directors/directors" from film & theater.  I have no idea how influential Comme des Garcons was as "producer," and the influence of a given producer on the "product" you see on a movie screen will vary.  So does the "product" they bother to attempt -- think Cubby Broccoli with a Bond film, Merchant Ivory with a costume.  Nor do I know how strongly Stephen Jones affected the juice.  But a director's influence will vary, too -- but for a sense of difference, check out Franco Zeffirelli vs. Baz Luhrman doing Romeo and Juliet.   That said, clearly somebody had a vision, and something of a statement was carried out.

Perfume:  Violets.  Meteorites.  Magma.  Yup, OsMoz lists a "meteorite accord" up top, and a "magma accord" in the base.  I think what CdG is calling "meteorites," I am smelling as "ozone."  And magma in my nose is dry dirt.  But you know what?  They're there.  From my sniffing notes:

The first thing I note is that on a day when I have a few collected samples in front of me, ready in their mailers, it is the CdG SJ that offers a hint of scent when I take it out of its mailer.  And again, a bit more so, when I take the vial out of its protective little sealed bag.  By the time I circle back around to try to open the vial--which was, btw, quite tightly stoppered, and required a little extra english to get it open--I have tantalizing little mini-hits coming my way.  And what has been suggested by these successively increasing hints turns out to be true of the opening:  potent. true violet. dirt. skank. air and beyond.

Emphasis at the top on dirt, air, and odd skank.

But, comes the sun...well, violet.  So what breaks through isn’t all bright, high, and sunshiney, but rather pure, natural, green/purple, lowish down, and refreshing/comfortable.  It’s coming.

Now, almost an hour in, I have a most interesting violet on my wrist.  It is pretty tightly woven with other elements...something green, something dirt, with that odd ozonic skank dancing about ever so lightly (so lightly that I’m not sure I would have caught it as such had it not been such a prominent voice in the opening).  I’d really like to go out smelling like this...reactions might include “Nice...what?,” which I like to think of as a way to describe me.  ;)

Good heavens, 1 1/2 hours in, I put my sniffer up...a hint of...soap???  Try again...ah, it seems that was a cumulative impression...when I break it down, it’s everything from before, but it’s like when the vegetables start breaking down in the soup...certain spots in the pot are a little bit of everything.

What does it all add up to?  A perfume that I like in my head, but am trying to figure out if I connect with emotionally.  Obviously, if I'm asking, the answer so far is no.  But this might be a "learn to love it" situation...and while some immediate grabbers, like Chergui, have remained on the love list, others were merely passing infatuations.  I will come back to this sample...and am pretty sure a decant will be ordered.  Full bottle worthy?  Not sure yet, though if you are a bottle nut, this one's a good 'un.  Freaky juice fan?  This doesn't have the asphalt & rubber you can find hiding in Creed Love in Black (yeah, I KNOW, weird to hear that kind of thing from Creed), but then again, it develops, speaks, and hangs on more strongly than the Creed.

I'll be exploring other violets for the next few months, still on the search for the perfect one for me.  But you should try this; it might be the perfect one for you.

Notes per OsMoz:

TOP: violet leaves, meteorite accord, clove
HEART: violet, rose, carnation, jasmine, heliotrope
BASE: magma accord, gaiac wood, cumin, vetiver


Rose said...

Hello- I madly want to try this. I'm not sure why except that I love the strangeness of CDG's stuff and them doing a violet is very exciting.
I have never found my violet scent. I like Penhaligon's bath violet bath oil but think it's too sweet for a perfume. This sounds dirtier, although the skank could be too much.
Interesting indeed!

ScentScelf said...

I madly want to love it! I'm going to keep trying...I thought my ideal violet would involve some smoke, some earth; still waiting for that, too. But I'm having fun in my search. :)

To be fair, I don't dislike the skank in this one (and we all know I am not inclined to like skank AT ALL); it's clearly dancing around in there, though. It's certainly worth a few whirls around the dance floor.

Meanwhile, I'm sticking with basic violet when I feel the the Norma Kamali I wrote about a couple of months ago...Liz Zorn Violets & Rainwater...and Sonoma Scent Studio Wood Violet, which to me is really nicely done. (But I'll be writing more about SSS in the future...)

Jenavira13 said...

Interesting, the violet I am waiting to smell is the new Galliano.

ScentScelf said...

Hmmm....going to go look that one up...

Nathan Branch said...

Have you given the Tom Ford Black Violet a spin? Definitely not skanky, but not sweet and pretty, either.

Actually, it strikes me as very mossy and green, though it eventually winds up woodsy and warm.

Musette said...

You know my intense love for Violets and Rainwater - let's see how this stacks up. Can't wait to sample it and the packaging sounds delightful!


ScentScelf said...

No, the only thing black of Tom Ford's I have tried is the orchid. As I recall, that was...peculiar; partially because it was not the dark & stormy I was expecting.

Mossy & green are happy places for me, as are woods & warm; sounds like I need to hunt some down and give BV a whirl.

ScentScelf said...

Indeed I do know your love of Violets & Rainwater! Am busy stalking a couple of other violets right to come in about a week... ;)

Good thing I'm only a conceptual sucker for packaging. Honestly, I get really annoyed that most interesting bottles are not, as it turns out, good for displaying the goods.

Rose said...

Have been struggling with internet access this week! Jenavira and Scentscelf I have tried the new John Galliano, albeit in a scent hall and just one spritz so not a proper test. I was very dissapointed, it is nothing like his Diptyque candle. I think he is a genius but the scent... not so much...

ScentScelf said...

Ah, Rose, so you got a chance with it. Sorry it disappointed you...but you already know that I am not surprised. I really, really want to get into this, but can only seem to admire it and have fun with it. Great date; no relationship potential seen. Yet. ;)