I missed all the meteorite/magma hype surrounding this release and was able to approach it with an innocent nose.
A strip lit violet explosion (the flower more in evidence than the leaf), this is a soapy, aldehydic blast, that will bathe you in a cool mauve light. Curious, as the main counterpoint here is clove, a note that typifies warmth, but the experience of this perfume is of being in a chilly temperature-controlled black-lined room with that mauve light playing. At times almost grapey (as in grape flavour soda or sweets), it’s calculatedly dotty. A bit of heliotrope skulking in the corners, adds a trace of knowing mournfulness.
I find such sweet, soapy creations easy to wear, perhaps a little too easy to truly love them. And, indeed, with subsequent wears, as my nose grew familiar with it, the excitement level flatlined.
I don't like the smell of it. To me SJ smells synthetic-soapy-fruity. I am fully aware that most 'natural' smelling fragrances nowadays are made from synthetics, but this one doesn't try to hide the synthetic smell, and with an initial blast of aldehydes it becomes too much and nauseating for me.
Aldehydes and what smells to me an awful lot like myrrh pop right out when I apply the Comme des Garçons fragrance for Stephen Jones. (Is this myrrh smell-alike the note that they call “meteorite” in the press release? Or perhaps the “magma?”) The combination results in a very dry, astringent accord in something like the style that noses Bertrand Duchaufour and Mark Buxton have brought to this line before.
Stephen Jones remains bone dry as it develops, but its midsection reveals an assortment of spices – most notably clove – alongside the stark woods and incense-like notes. The violet touted in the official descriptions takes its time emerging, but when it does it is a big, big blossom, though thoroughly pressed, dried and ground down to powder. Once the woody violet accord at Stephen Jones’s heart takes shape it plays along in a linear fashion for quite some time. The closest thing to evolution that I perceive here is the violet note growing slowly but steadily louder until the dry (How many times can I use “dry” in one review?) wood and vetiver basenotes take over.
The overall vibe here is extreme austerity, and if you enjoy the stony texture of, say, Dzongkha or Avignon, this new scent will probably appeal. I myself would take either over this, especially at $175 US for 55 ml. Stephen Jones exudes the same attitude as the black-clad twenty-somethings who crowded the underground clubs of SoHo in my youth (yes, waaaaay back, when SoHo actually had underground clubs). It’s an aura of “cool” so intense you might as well just give up trying and admit you are a hapless member of the middlebrow bourgeoisie. I can’t decide whether wearing it makes me feel chic, or like a poseur. You’ll have to decide for yourself.
Stephen Jones opens with a blast of aldehydes, icy violets, and the listed "meteorite" note, which does come across as heavily mineral, like super-dry, heated lava rocks. As the semi-fizzy, soapy aldehydes calm down, a confident carnation/clove note joins the voilets. The heart and drydown also has a far-off dry woodiness.
It's strange that a perfume of such freeze-dried austere overtures would be so comforting and enveloping, but it really is. It's perfect for me for daytime wear. Despite its noticable sillage, it doesn't overpower - instead, I find that it creates a polite future-world-space-floral aura around me. In that regard, I'd liken it to Mugler Cologne, but with MC's signature sweet steam note replaced with a light clove.
Feminine/Masculine? Who cares? Stephen Jones wears well regardless.
Stephen Jones by Comme des Garcons - a somewhat cold and metallic scent, which augurs an astringent and detached, futuristic vibe, reminiscent of isolated indifference.
Initially one is treated to an icy verdancy from violet leaf, akin to grass clippings with a nuance of greenness from cucumber. A cool, mineral accord, akin to iron shavings and weathered peebles, swirls about. And, magical aldehydes impart their soapiness and effervescence. Transitioning to the heart, an antiseptic clove infuses the fresh opening with its smoky spiciness and a faint, charred wood nuance. After a bit, a floral melange of sweetly spicy, vanillic carnation, sweet velvety rose, tutti-fruitti jasmine and powdery, cherry-vanilla heliotrope encase the scent, and segues to the awaiting base. Guiacwood, with its honeyed-rose sweetness as well as smoky and rubber nuances, commingles with black cumin with its pungent spiciness and hint of strawberry. An earthy vetiver, with its grassy and clumped dirt vibe, presents. And, a clean aldehyde sweeps in with its freshly-laundered linen aspect. A somewhat enigmatic drydown ensues. This unique and unisex composition has average projection and longevity, 6-7 hours.