Columns Comme des Garçons 2: A Time Machine

Comme des Garçons 2: A Time Machine

03/20/17 10:24:46 (4 comments)

by: Juliett Ptoyan


The visual image of the Comme des Garçons Parfums line was defined by the French-American designer Marcus Atlas (in his portfolio you'll find also packaging for Helmut Lang fragrances, Kjaer Weis products, joint projects with Maison Martin Margiela, Dior, etc.). In 1994, the brand released the first fragrance in a stone-like bottle, and in 1999 Comme des Garçons 2 was released, followed by a number of variations - it was poured over with black paint and covered with purple glitter, placed in a velvety bag, adorned with dots and abstract patterns. All these variations were both externally and internally direct descendants of "2" - during its creation, Mark Buxton worked with a chromatogram of Japanese Sumi ink, and Rei Kawakubo talked about the combination of classical (incense, magnolia, patchouli, cedar) and new (ink accord) ingredients; a compilation which was supposed to bring contrast in the scent.

Advertising photo Comme des Garcons 2
Photo: Traffic Magazine

But the contrast in this case wasn't made by the duo of traditions and innovations, but by Buxton's genius: the most elegant of the "renegades" did such hooligan-ish things already before as well as after it. Comme des Garçons 2 just became another confirmation that the word "genius" in this sentence did not come from nowhere; together with Odeur 53, "deux" (2) gave the green light to that strange direction that even now isn't very common, to which belong, for example, Sartorial Penhaligon`sBitter Rose, Broken Spear D.S. & Durga or the first creations by Blood Concept. Without Buxton's talent, there would have been neither the original Comme des Garçons, nor Salvador Dali Laguna, Scent 79 Man, or, as angular as Buxton himself, the fragrances for Biehl Parfumkunstwerke. A good half of the House of Sillage fragrances, by the way, would not have existed either - all in all quite an impressive range I would say. 

Comme des Garçons 2 is a mercury clot on the outside and inside: in the cold mirror bottle sleep the spirits of Japanese calligraphers, flowing lava and ringing rows of dark bottles with essential oils. The chypre, from head to toe, etched with indelible ink, seems to be constantly looped; it repeats itself - our nose does not have time to grab the ammonia-sweet incense, because here comes the oiled juniper wood with a holographic magnolia against a background that opens like a lotus, rising out of the darkness and smoke. A similar trick, in a simplified version and with even more character, can be found, for example, in Vincent Micotti's Dragon Tattoo or Immortal Beloved (in the first, the transition from the ink phase to the leather one is similar to Buxton's account of sumi, incense and aldehydes, in the second there is an overwhelming alcoholic nuance - the same effect has the aspect of ink at the start of "deux").

Bottle Comme de Garcons 2

The perfume line, which has become the continuation of the concept of "antimode", propagated by Kawakubo for so long and right now hitting the streets of large cities, inherits the cultural codes of the brand even though it has been separated from the fashion direction of Comme des Garçons (since 2002, the collection of fragrances has belonged to Puig). This is evidenced, for instance, by the appearance of the term "commedesgarcon-ish" (dark, smoky, having a conditional connection with Black) and the fact that the brand decided not to abandon the ideas of Atlan: the current style of their products hardly differs from the one started 20 years ago. Earlier, the owner of the license announced the withdrawal of a number of fragrances and the release of a collection in the spirit of "the best, favorite and only for you" - but if in the case of other brands such a resurrection can be perceived arbitrarily ironically, the news about the Comme des Garçons Olfactory Library became a real event: appearances are expected in Paris, Tokyo, and New York.

And at Fragrantica, we are eagerly waiting for it.

Julietta Ptoyan


Julietta is an editor and columnist for who joined our team in 2015 after several years of working in the beauty industry.

She also contributes to Russian glossy magazines as a perfume journalist and has a passion for contemporary fragrances, launched from the 90s til now.

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Still love this scent the pebble shaped object is wonderful it is good to touch and see:):)


Amazing fragrance. Lovely article. :)


This is one of my favorite perfumes


Great writing, and I'm glad to see the aesthetics of the bottle being considered as a matter of course as having a relationship to the product. Not an easy thing to do convincingly.


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