Comme Des Garçons, ‘like the boys’ has long been considered avant-garde in their approach to fragrance creation. CDG fragrances like Odeur 71 advertise perfume notes such as hot lightbulb, electricity and lettuce juice. Like that kooky girl in your high school class you passed off as “faking it” only to realize four years later that she was still kooky and maybe it wasn’t an act, Comme Des Garçons have been pushing the boundaries of perfume for some years and I have just begun to accept they are generally interested in describing their fragrances in slightly unusual ways. Perfumer Mark Buxton who has since released his own line of fragrances created many of their better-known creations such as Comme Des Garçons 2 and White. I am a big fan of their Series 3 collection (2002) that was devoted to the five main spiritual teachings of humanity. Kyoto in particular is a beautiful fragrance inspired by Shintoism. The meditative cedar notes are very grounding. Dover Street Market was launched in 2009. Comme Des Garçon’s creator Rei Kawakubo says “I wanted to create a kind of market where various creators from various fields gather together and encounter each other in an ongoing atmosphere of beautiful chaos”. The Dover Street name also refers to CDG’s own Dover Street store that resembles many of the guerilla pop up stores that were launched in various international cities inline with the brand’s anarchistic values. As a fragrance Dover Street Market sums up all that is Comme Des Garçons. A beautiful collision of different elements. Masculine and feminine. Old and new. Indulgence and austerity. East and west.
This style of fragrance is quickly becoming a sign of its time. Transparent incense, bright, not heavy, citrusy cologne with exotic green notes, spice and resins. Dover Street Market has a bright hesperides opening: Mandarin and bergamot. Refreshing pine and juniper notes are like an early morning walk through a forest. Pepper and cinammic notes create the spice before giving way to labdanum, cistus, cedar, patchouli and some synthetic woods that really turn up the volume on the wood-o-meter. Dover Street Market has a simple slightly orchid-like floral note that brings it from being overly masculine towards more unisex territory.
Young and hip, Dover Street Market will appeal to the fashion forward teenager and to those in their twentys. Because it actually smells good guys in their thirtys should also appreciate it. Especially those who are trying to escape the ozonic sporty fragrances. This one says, “I do have a gym membership, but I also like to read books”. Great for winter and worn with natural fibres such as wool, cashmere and cotton, I often connect Dover Street Market with Diptyque’s John Galliano room spray said to be reminiscent of a fireplace, birch wood embers smouldering in a countryside loghouse.
Perfumer: Shyamala Maisondieu
Bottle designer: Rei Kawakubo
Release date: 2009
Typology (via Fragrances of the World): Dry Woods