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  1. #1

    Default CdG: The House of Complicated Simplicity

    Well, as I was wearing CdG 2 MAN today, I was thinking that we should start a referendum on Comme des Garcons, the house of complicated simplicity.

    To be honest, I've only tried CdG 2 MAN and CdG Series 1: Tea, and both are excellent, but I do want to try a lot of other CdG scents.

    So, in the spirit of past referendums on Calvin Klein, Thierry Mugler, and Hugo Boss, I thought: why not one for CdG?

    Your thoughts, please...

    (Note to mods: sticky this and other forthcoming House Referendum threads until the end of June.)
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  2. #2

    Default Re: CdG: The House of Complicated Simplicity

    CdG bores me silly. Way too overrated.

  3. #3

    Default Re: CdG: The House of Complicated Simplicity

    Quote Originally Posted by Killer Vavoom
    CdG bores me silly. Way too overrated.
    I read enthusiastic comments/reviews about Creed, CdG, etc, my heart breaks for not knowing any scent from them. Then in the very last minute before commiting suicide there comes one with an opinion like this. Huhh, one life saved.

  4. #4

    Default Re: CdG: The House of Complicated Simplicity

    Quote Originally Posted by Sandy
    [quote author=Killer Vavoom link=1149179982/0#1 date=1149180142]CdG bores me silly. Way too overrated.
    I read enthusiastic comments/reviews about Creed, CdG, etc, my heart breaks for not knowing any scent from them. Then in the very last minute before commiting suicide there comes one with an opinion like this. Huhh, one life saved.[/quote]


    Don't put the shotgun down yet... Comme des Garçons is my favorite house; It's really the biggest inspiration I've ever had to investigate perfumery. If not for CdG, I would have been bored with "colognes" a long time ago. They are the one house out there that always pushes the boundaries.

    What is interesting about CdG is that they have a very "naturalistic" sense about them as opposed to a "romantic" feel. They don't try to bundle the world up in a palatable package at your doorstep; rather they meet you half-way. The scents are not built upon typical pyramids. They don't push the usual buttons. They don't conform to you-- you have to slip into character a little bit to wear them. Not for everyone...

    Check them out.

  5. #5

    Default Re: CdG: The House of Complicated Simplicity

    CdG also started my obsession. My favourite house too.

  6. #6

    Default Re: CdG: The House of Complicated Simplicity

    Quote Originally Posted by Indie_Guy View Post
    I read enthusiastic comments/reviews about Creed, CdG, etc, my heart breaks for not knowing any scent from them. Then in the very last minute before commiting suicide there comes one with an opinion like this. Huhh, one life saved.

    Don't put the shotgun down yet... Comme des Garçons is my favorite house; It's really the biggest inspiration I've ever had to investigate perfumery. If not for CdG, I would have been bored with "colognes" a long time ago. They are the one house out there that always pushes the boundaries.

    What is interesting about CdG is that they have a very "naturalistic" sense about them as opposed to a "romantic" feel. They don't try to bundle the world up in a palatable package at your doorstep; rather they meet you half-way. The scents are not built upon typical pyramids. They don't push the usual buttons. They don't conform to you-- you have to slip into character a little bit to wear them. Not for everyone...

    Check them out.[/QUOTE]

    I realize you wrote this almost a year ago, but this is the first time I've read it and have to say I think it is one of the wisest posts I have read here since joining. You captured my thoughts exactly about the house and what I love about it. They do seem to push the boundaries and do not operate like the others. I really think without the existence of the incense series and the synthetic series, my enthusiasm/obsession for fragrances would not be the same.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: CdG: The House of Complicated Simplicity

    I've found CdG, like so many other houses, to be a mixed bag. Some CdG scents are terrific in their take-no-hostages way (Carnation), some are nice, but conventional (Sequoia, Palisander), and some are just too silly to bother with (the Guerillas).

    It's certainly a line worth exploring, especially because the makers are willing to take risks, and risk is a rare and precious commodity in the world of fragrances.

  8. #8

    Default Re: CdG: The House of Complicated Simplicity

    CdG fills an important niche in the perfume world (pun intended). I may not want to wear most of their scents, and a lot of them can be quite simplistic, abstract and silly at times, but the perfume industry would be a less interesting and fun place if CdG were to go out of business. I view them as the niche equivalent of Demeter.
    Last edited by zztopp; 7th May 2007 at 04:33 AM.
    -

  9. #9

    Wink Re: CdG: The House of Complicated Simplicity

    CdG is all about 80's fashion deconstruction. For sure, times have changed - Serge Lutens, CB I Hate Perfume, Juicy Couture, etc. But CdG always stays true to its original aesthetic. As precious as it may seem, in these post-post-modernist times, integrity is worth something. IMHO, "now" is about making it, as Courtney Love sang, "so real, it's beyond fake". In reality, isn't Jicky just as avante-garde as Guerilla 2? To each, his own.
    Last edited by Kevin Guyer; 7th May 2007 at 06:55 AM. Reason: capriciousness!

  10. #10

    Default Re: CdG: The House of Complicated Simplicity

    Judging by the number of scents per house in my wardrobe, CdG is my #1 house.

    After all these years and CdG scents the original Comme des Garçons EdP is still the one I love most.

    On the whole my favourite Series would be Incense Series. Kyoto is the most easy-to-wear, Avignon the most church-like one.

    But I also do love the hot, spicy Red Series, especially Harissa and Carnation, and the chlorophyllic Leaves Series.

    The only Series I didn't warm up to were Guerrilla Series, which I found very disappointing.
    "Wovon man nicht lesen kann, darüber muss man schreiben."

  11. #11

    Default Re: CdG: The House of Complicated Simplicity

    Overrated? Eh...is there any basis for your opinion? I have to question this perspective.

    Overrated in what sense? Their concept is original. They are daring. I can only think of two CdG scents perhaps that seem remotely similar. Their bottles are different. From the red series to the incense series, I think this house has distinguished itself as a unique and novel brand that separates itself from the rest. I am not saying this is the best house in the universe, but to say it is overrated is suspect.

    TNMA
    "Why not seize the pleasure at once?"
    -- Jane Austen (Sun, and Mercury in Sagittarius)

  12. #12

    Angry Re: CdG: The House of Complicated Simplicity

    The only Series I didn't warm up to were Guerrilla Series, which I found very disappointing.[/QUOTE]

    This is a good sign Tig: Especially the name Guerrilla for a perfume is extremely stupid and insulting. I won't buy them.

  13. #13

    Default Re: CdG: The House of Complicated Simplicity

    Quote Originally Posted by Waldemar View Post
    The only Series I didn't warm up to were Guerrilla Series, which I found very disappointing.
    This is a good sign Tig: Especially the name Guerrilla for a perfume is extremely stupid and insulting. I won't buy them.
    The name makes sense, I think, in relation to their retail spaces. (The Guerrilla stores are temporary storefronts established with little fanfare and minimal decor, in neighborhoods far from the typical fashion centers -- so the term "guerrilla" fits to a degree.) Of course, it's questionable whether the fragrances have any intrinsic link to this concept. But I don't see why anyone should feel "insulted" by their name.
    Spray it, don’t say it…
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  14. #14
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    Default Re: CdG: The House of Complicated Simplicity

    I'm glad I bought decants of the incense series. Now the house is a cloud of real incense and smoke alarms be damned. A silly comment from Kelly Ripa introduced me to Japanese incense of which I was totally ignorant of.

  15. #15

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    Default Re: CdG: The House of Complicated Simplicity

    Quote Originally Posted by tigrushka View Post
    Judging by the number of scents per house in my wardrobe, CdG is my #1 house.

    After all these years and CdG scents the original Comme des Garçons EdP is still the one I love most.

    On the whole my favourite Series would be Incense Series. Kyoto is the most easy-to-wear, Avignon the most church-like one.

    But I also do love the hot, spicy Red Series, especially Harissa and Carnation, and the chlorophyllic Leaves Series.

    The only Series I didn't warm up to were Guerrilla Series, which I found very disappointing.
    Simply amazing, tigrushka! My thoughts on this House nearly mirror exactly your post above. I remain most impressed by EDP, though it has started to smell a bit disjointed to my nose; still the best fragrance to help one get over a cold! I'm having a hard time deciding which of the Incense Series I like the absolute best; they're all superb, and the experience of wearing them is so dependent on the ambient surroundings (e.g., temp, cloudy/sunny, humidity, etc.).

    Jeff

  16. #16
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    Default Re: CdG: The House of Complicated Simplicity

    I am a certified card carrying member of the CdG Fan Club - this line (along with Hermes) got me involved with fragrances AND MORE IMPORTANTLY lead me to Basenotes!

    Like the previous comments, I think the Incense Series (all 5 of them) are the best of the best. I own 2 of the 5 - and I have plans to own the 3 others by the end of this year!

    Other favorites of mine are: Odeur 71, 3, Vettiveru, Calamus (Leaves series), the Sherbert Series, White, 2 Man and Carnation. Some I respect deeply but don't love are: Guerilla 1, Sequoia, Palisander and Sticky Cake. And yes, I hate a few too: Odeur 53, 2 and Guerilla 2.

    However, there are MANY MORE that I want to try: the Synthetic Series, Lily, Rose...the list goes on.
    Last edited by mikeperez23; 8th May 2007 at 04:54 PM.

  17. #17

    Default Re: CdG: The House of Complicated Simplicity

    I'm a big fan of Odeur 53 and 71......From the Insense Series.....Kyoto.....and CdG 2 EdP.
    And also CdG 2 Man.....Gary

  18. #18

    Default Re: CdG: The House of Complicated Simplicity

    The concepts from CdG are interesting, but their perfumes are not as transcendental as their marketing makes them out to be. Odeur 53 and 71 for example aren't space-age scents, I wonder how many people buy their "dust on lightbulb" or "electricity" descriptions. 53 drydowns to something very similar to CK's Truth for men. 71 is like 53 but is sweeter and has a woody texture. Most of their scents have a 'cosmetic' smell, almost like Chanel.

    CdG is the only designer house that can claim to be niche because they are not available everywhere. They can also get away from being "artificial" because they're an anti-perfume brand.

    That being said, I like CdG.
    They smell detached, unemotional, clinical like an avant-garde art museum. Like most abstract art, its all bullshit but I like it because its not easily accessible.

  19. #19

    Default Re: CdG: The House of Complicated Simplicity

    And if it were for AVIGNON alone - I feel very much respect for independence of this house. They create noble trends rather then following popular ones. Exclusiveness by taste!
    Last edited by narcus; 11th May 2007 at 09:18 AM.
    'Il mondo dei profumi è un universo senza limiti: una fraganza puo rievocare sensazioni, luoghi, persone o ancora condurre in uno spazio di nuove dimensioni emozionali' L. V.

  20. #20

    Talking Re: CdG: The House of Complicated Simplicity

    Quote Originally Posted by Killer_Vavoom View Post
    CdG bores me silly. Way too overrated.

    It´s my top fragrance house, had fabs reviews and they´re in the top of difference.
    In my opinion they create perfect perfumes so way extreme sometimes, true!, but something new, away from convencionalism.
    At the end of the day, we smell something and we make it our own, it becomes part of our personality what we want to express. Who doesn´t want to smell different to the rest of the crowd??.
    I like comme des garçons cause they´re opposite of the rest, they´re risky. I´m a risky person,and i love it, especially when i spray on me their fragrances.
    Read my perfume reviews at: http://perfumenoparatodos.blogspot.com/

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  21. #21

    Default Re: CdG: The House of Complicated Simplicity

    Like for their clothes, CdG is a love or hate house I think. And also their scents, despite how much they can be rulebreaking and innovative, they can be surprisingly unconventionally and pleasant or weird and annoying.
    For example I really luv Tea (which is my over all favourite tea scent) from the series 1 as long as I find annoying the 2 man or I find fantastic the CdG 2.
    The incense serie and the red serie are beautiful too (zagorsk, avignon, kyoto, palisander, harissa, carnation) while I find quite annoying the sinthetic serie.

  22. #22

    Default Re: CdG: The House of Complicated Simplicity

    Interesting that nobody has commented in detail about the Synthetic Series which is for sure one of the most unusual line of frags on the market. As a whole the series is like a punch in the face and against everything the traditional idea of fragrances is about. From Garage to Soda to Dry Clean, every one of them is at best very interesting and at worst just silly.

    CdG is a japanese avant garde fashion house and their fragrances largely represent that. While a series like the Incense line is not avant garde it demonstrates what vision and ability is behind CdG.

    I am a huge CdG fan. Every one of their frags is at least interesting and never boring and mostly downright amazing. Only one company can go from synthetic masterpieces like Odeur 71 and 53 to down and dirty scents like the incense series and back to the scent of a Dry Cleaned pair of pants. Simply Amazing
    Last edited by mentallo; 11th May 2007 at 06:52 PM.
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    WANTED buy/swap: Creed "Acier Aluminum" , L'Occitane "Eav des Bavx", Comme Des Garcons stuff especially "Dry Clean"
    -----------------------------------------------------------------------
    Current Top 10: TM Cologne, Mark Birley, Dzing, Vetiver Extraordinaire, Geir, Divine's "L'Homme de Coeur", Penhaligons 'Endymion",
    Creed Original Vetiver, Diptique Tam Dao, Hugo Boss "Spirit"

  23. #23
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    Default Re: CdG: The House of Complicated Simplicity

    Quote Originally Posted by mentallo View Post
    Interesting that nobody has commented in detail about the Synthetic Series which is for sure one of the most unusual line of frags on the market.
    The Synthetic Series I have yet to sample - I think I'm saving it for a special occasion...I have always been fascinated with the line and it's reviews here and elsewhere. I only have a sample of Garage (untouched in my wardrobe) and I have heard real good things about Tar and Skai. Soda and Dry Clean do not get much love...

    I think the concept, packaging and aesthetic are brilliant - I look forward to giving them my full attention in the very near future.
    Last edited by mikeperez23; 11th May 2007 at 09:20 PM.

  24. #24

    Default Re: CdG: The House of Complicated Simplicity

    Since I'm in the process of buying a house, I can't really spend a lot on perfumes, more's the pity. If I could: Kyoto!
    De gustibus non est disputandum

  25. #25

    Default Re: CdG: The House of Complicated Simplicity

    These guys are different in a nice way for me. Some of the best uses of incense (IMO) can be found in Zagorsk, 2 Man, and Avignon. If you like Cinnamon, their Sherbet Cinnamon is a must try. And if you enjoy the smell of a newly installed Cedar fence, or if you like the drydown of Noir Pomegranate but prefer a sharp looking red bottle over Jo Malone's crystal salt shaker look...Sequoia might be for you.

    Cheers, and have a great weekend all!

    Mike

  26. #26

    Default Re: CdG: The House of Complicated Simplicity

    I´ve gradually completely revised my view on this house. From considering it highly pretentious and "overrated", it is now one of my absolute favourites. I´ve always enjoyed their simplistic and innovative packaging though, especially the older ones. And perhaps my growing fondness for CdG could be somewhat relativisticly explained in the fatigued fragrance enviroment of today. But a better guess is that many of their fragrances simply are more complex and wearable than one would think on first try. Complicated simplicty is indeed a perfect description.

    My favourites are:
    I´m also particularly fond of the whole Incense series (in depth reviews on 3 of them below): these are fantastic, perfectly crafted, evocative and excentric yet subtle and a joy to wear.

    Red Series: Harissa - cocky and spicy but cool at the same time, an intoxicating cocktail.
    Sequoia - excellent woody aroma, slightly herbal and sweet with that dry cedarish-base that lingers forever. Smells very masculine and professional, no problem to wear with a suit.

    Rose - another great uni-sex rose to compliment Hammam Boquetand Diptyque´s L'Ombre dans L'Eau. Extremely gentle and playfull. This sose is like a soft, powdery floral caress with some sweet raspberry and clean musks.

    Cologne: Vetiverru, another great vetiver choice for those of us who aren´t actually too fond of that damn grass (the other being L'Occitanes Vetyver). Soft, subdued vetiver with added sweetness and some sparkling citrus notes. This is such a pleasant wear - truly fantastic. A smooth and fresh summer classic that unfortunately not enough people seem to have discovered.

    Comme des Garçons 2: Heavy woods with that cool, metallic japanese ink note. The dry maté in the base is lovely too.

    But as I mentioned, the Incense series is definitely the standout line by this house IMO.

    Avignon:

    I Recently purchased Avignon together with Jaisalmer and Quarzazate from this fine series. It´s impossible not to admire CdG for their great integrity and artistic approach to making fragrances. This was especially true before the sweet-series and the recent guerillas, which are fine as well, but a bit too mainstream. No other house (fairly large that is) could or would put out a series like this. There´s such a leisure cool and above all strong sense of luxury to the concept of exploring variations of a theme such as incense in 5 different premium fragrances. No Demeter fragrance library here, these are all standalone scents with great character. The different nuances balancing the incense range from sweet to woody, smokey and smoulderingly spicy.

    Avignon is definitely the most straightforward "churchey" one of the lot. The comparison to Etro´s Messe de Minuit must be made. They are certainly similar, but I would argue that Avignon is far superior and above all much more wearable. MdM stays with the gothic theme during it´s entire progression, never leaving that catholic mass groove. Whereas Avignon is significantly softened by the vanilla and chamomille that appear quickly alongside the frankincense and myrrh. The subtle vanilla also prevents it from becoming to cold and musty. Avignon could be described as a mix of MdM and Gucci Rush, with the originality of the first and the pleasant powdery wearability of the latter.


    Jaisalmer:

    For me, Jaisalmer is easily the most challenging fragrance in this series. I suspect there´s a good amount of raw vetiver in there. A note that with it´s earthy and soily qualities certainly is not a favourite of mine. I do however like this fragrance anyway. Like the others have pointed out, it is intensely smokey and spicy. I too get images of campfires and charred pieces of wood when wearing it, and I like it! Jaisalmer is intensely dry, a bit dirty and very masculine, would not want to smell this on my girlfriend. Like many CdG´s it is an aquired taste, so don´t buy blind. It´s siblings, Quarzazate and Avignon are mucher safer bets if you´re into incense and want a cool avantgarde approach to it. Jaisalmer´s staying power outlasts both of those easily though.

    Ouarzazate:

    If Jaisalmer is the most challenging and Avignon the most eccentric in the Incense series, Quarzazate is their playful cousin. Carefree, light and very easy to wear. There´s a strong bergamot note in the opening that stays with the fragrance during it´s evolution. This adds an orange like dimension to it and also makes it smell a bit like a hot cup of tea. Additionally the incense is much more muted here than in the others. I partly agree on the comparison to Gucci pour homme. They definitely share a dry cedar base, but there is very little pine or smoke in this one. More of a fizzy, slightly herbal and optimistic addition to this excellent range of CdG´s. Not great sillage but stays on the skin for a long time.

    /MMM

  27. #27

    Default Re: CdG: The House of Complicated Simplicity

    Matt, awesome post and a great description of the Incense Series. It's pretty much a given that the Incense Series is the best thing that Comme des Garçons has done-- I always said it would be REALLY cool if the next Series was... Incense II. They could do five new types of Incense from other places-- maybe some inspired by places in the Western hemisphere. They could use stuff like copal. I'd pee my pants if I ever saw that there was going to be an Incense II series.

    I was thinking about what to wear to a Morrissey show on Tuesday... maybe one of the Incense Series. The only ones I really wear "out" are Kyoto and Jaisalmer, though I have all five. Maybe Avignon. One time I wore Avignon under a black YSL blazer to an art show and for some reason, I reminded myself of Moz.

    I probably shouldn't but...

    On a very crazy side note... this has to do with CdG Dry Clean-- I was wearing it at work the other night and suddenly I detected something about it that reminded me of Kingdom. No it wasn't cumin or anything like that, but it was something dirty and sexual. And then I thought back to what my brother said when he sniffed Kingdom blind-- "This smells like p*ssy" Which is odd because now that I recall, he said the SAME EXACT THING the first time he sniffed Dry Clean. I never made the connection until BAM, it hit my nose. (Which is also funny because once, when I worked at a video store, a returned videocassette came tumbling violently back through the drop box slot and my creepy boss picked it up and looked at it cautiously. He sniffed it and proclaimed, "Ted, this smells like p*ssy. Smell it" ( I'd rather not have, but I had to do what he said 'cause he was my boss!)

    Even though the "notes" are not even close to being similar, there IS to my nose a "dirty" similarity. Yes, I think there is definitely something bordering on musky and carnal about Dry Clean-- even though it's so clean, kind of like the S-note in Mugler Cologne. Seriously, if you are somebody who almost likes Kingdom, but finds that it goes too far-- try Dry Clean. Whereas Kingdom is a "hooker eating a burrito", Dry Clean is that smell of a fresh-from-the-bidet stripper grinding away just inches from your face. I was once confused by reading a review of Dry Clean in which someone said it would be perfect for a night out in Vegas in a Canali suit-- I didn't get it but now it makes total sense. Dry Clean, it took me a while to figure it out. Sometimes it smells like an old box of musty clothes, but you have to try it.

    Dry Clean. It's Kingdom after a good 'ol backyard hose-down.

    OK, now that I've soiled this thread, I probably need to go to confession ( It IS Sunday morning). Maybe I'll just get out my Avignon.

  28. #28

    Default Re: CdG: The House of Complicated Simplicity

    Hehe, yeah Avignon should be sufficient instead of the confession booth.

    Haven´t sampled the synthetic series enough, just remember one of them, Skai perhaps, reminded me of Tommy T which I actually like a lot in all of it´s artificially forced freshness glory.

    /mmm
    ps. on a side note everyone should get the new Modest Mouse album, We were dead before the ship even sank - excellent. ds.

  29. #29

    Thumbs up Re: CdG: The House of Complicated Simplicity

    As others have confessed, CdG is the fragrance house that got me into fragrances too a few years back and also led me to basenotes. I really respect the Incense Series, Red Series, some of the Green and Synthetics as well - truly original. It is my favorite fragrance house because they really push the edge while creating excellent fragrances and fun concepts which relate to real life and dreams for today. Their fragrances accept the world as it is or was rather than trying to create an idealized dream. Although they may have strayed from brilliance when they launched the Guerilla Series???. CdG is in a "what have you done for me lately" situation with my fragrance opinion meter. But, give them credit, the Comme d Garcon fragrance elves created a very original postmodern fragrance group.

    Foetidus made an interesting comment in his Kyoto frag review that sums up many of the CdG fragrances - "The incense in this one is quite diaphanous and I first thought that it was background, until I realized that the whole scent is background." Most of CdG fragrances are background, mood, aura, and part of the real false world as it is, rather than creating a fictional false world. My favorites from CdG are Kyoto, Avignon, Palisander, Sequoia, Cinnamon, Odeor 71.

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