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  1. #1
    Serpent
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    Default Guerrillas in the Mist: Whither Comme des Garçons?

    After escaping Saks in Beverly Hills without the Antidote - still not arrived - I passed through Barney's to catch up on two releases I've missed: Comme des Garçons' Guerrilla 1 and Guerrilla 2.

    Guerrilla 1 begins somewhat sharp and odd, like a strange spiced fruit scent. There's also a bit of that sharp, bright, somewhat metallic smell from Comme des Garçons 2 (and now Terre d'Hermès). It's got that crazy, we're-being-weird quality that's characteristic Comme des Garçons. But right beneath, it's clearly fruity-floral. Guerrilla 2 is even weirder. It's burns the nose in a way I could not help but hold back the paper strip in surprise. The sales associate attributed it to the ginger, and perhaps that was it. But if so, it's the heavily spiced ginger of a Jamaican root beer. With a power line dropped in it. (It's probably the abundance of pepper - you really feel it here for once.) There's also something somewhat... raw in it. It's unpleasant. For a fan of those uncomfortable, thought-provoking Comme des Garçons scents, this is a welcome return to form. For a brief moment. As shocked as I was, I was pleased. Guerrilla 1 was infinitely more "wearable," but Guerrilla 2 was more traditionally "Comme des Garçons."

    I held onto the two strips to see how they would progress, but, sadly, by the time I was in front of Burberry a block away, I couldn't tell one from the other. They had both become bland, pleasant, rather - for loss of a better term - pretty fruity-florals. I recalled what I wrote upon reading the note lists the first time, that they would either be really unique, intriguing scents or end up smelling like Coco Mademoiselle. And, well, they kind of smelled like a lighter version of Coco Mademoiselle. Not that that's a bad thing, but that's not something I'd really expect from the company that put out Comme des Garçons 2, the Incense series, the brilliant Synthetic series, Odeurs 53 and 71...

    But then I think about Comme des Garçons 2 Man, a terribly commercial scent that is too eerily similar to Gucci pour Homme, which predated it by around a year. And then there's the whole Series 7: Sweet, a sad exercise in regurgitating gourmands and orientals in tiny quantities, with low complexities and concentrations, and at high prices. (At both ScentBar and Barney's, the sales associates have noted the poor reception Series 7 has received from the public.) And now we have the Guerrillas, fragrances meant to represent the spirit of the temporary stores in offbeat locations in one-off cities not known for being fashion capitals. I find it strange that the perfect smells to embody this aesthetic are very pretty floriental scents that could easily also pass for the latest celebrity "pink" scent (shock effect top notes aside).

    What has happened to Comme des Garçons? They used to be the ultimate in iconoclastic designer perfumery. And now... pretty pink perfume? (Albeit in a black bottle with seven other little fake bottles.) First Costume National sold out with Scent Gloss. Then Alexander McQueen followed. (Okay, he's part of the soulless Gucci Group. It was to be expected. But MyQueen? Who would have thought the mastermind of "Highland Rape" would ever have made that?) Chanel had been sliding for years, and Allure Sensuelle was just the final nail in its coffin. But Comme des Garçons? It seemed impossible this stubbornly individualistic company could ever become so crass to release scents like Series 7: Sweet or the Guerrilla line. But they have.

    I always hold out hope whatever comes out next from Comme des Garçons will be a return to its gloriously weird and unique past. But it seems clear that they want these scents to make money - as Series 1: Leaves, Series 4: Cologne, and Series 5: Sherbet likely did not do - and they are only using their hard-earned reputation to sell these rather unspectacular scents now.

    Sadly, Etro - the one design house whose fragrance aesthetic rivaled Comme des Garçons' in eccentricity - has announced they are breaking with their resolutely unisex fragrance policy and making gendered fragrances with their newest release, Dianthus. I hope this does not begin a new era of mediocrity for that excellent house as well...
    Last edited by Serpent; 20th August 2006 at 05:43 AM.

  2. #2

    Default Re: Guerrillas in the Mist: Whither Comme des Garçons?

    Quote Originally Posted by Serpent
    I held onto the two strips to see how they would progress, but, sadly, by the time I was in front of Burberry a block away, I couldn't tell one from the other.
    It's funny ... I was expecting the same thing based on LuckyScent's description of them. They list the basenotes as being identical: Vetyver, cedarwood, and musk. However, after receiving both samples, I found them very different after the drydown. #2 seemed more feminine than #1. It's probably the raspberry that sticks around (although it smells like rhubarb to me) and gives it that feel. I found #1 to be much more wearable also ... but DEFINITELY not something I would spend that kind of money for. Absolutely no WOW factor at all ... for either. Not only were the scents a letdown for me, but the packaging design is horrible too.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Guerrillas in the Mist: Whither Comme des Garçons?

    What has happened to Comme des Garçons?
    I’m glad someone else is asking that question. I have not tried the new line, and I am not really excited to run out and find it. I think what always excited me about their fragrances was the notion that the fragrances themselves managed to live up to the iconoclastic ideals of the company. The products were as good as the marketing, even transcending it at times. I could even forgive them 2Man. I don’t wear it, and I didn’t buy it, but I tried to have confidence that it wasn’t just the sell out that it appeared to be. Then the Sweet series just flat out disappointed. I still try their products when I can, and recently purchased Vettiveru, but they will need to release something with more substance for me to truly come back as a fan. The hype just seems so much greater than the fragrances now. Thanks for the review.

    -Slim

  4. #4
    trumpet_guy's Avatar
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    Default Re: Guerrillas in the Mist: Whither Comme des Garçons?

    Serpent,

    I expected a no-holds-barred review, but even Chanel is slipping?
    I still hold the house in high esteem, fragrance-wise. How many designers
    are there left that would meet your standards?

    I have to say, Chanel is a cut above so many. How many other designers
    bring out so few scents (at least in the men's line) and keep them around
    for so long? Pour Monsieur, PM Concentree, Antaeus, Egoiste. This is a
    pretty impressive record. And on the women's side. No. 5, No. 19, Coco,
    I remain impressed.

  5. #5

    tigrushka's Avatar
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    Default Re: Guerrillas in the Mist: Whither Comme des Garçons?

    I haven't had a chance to try these two yet but the notes alone sounded very, very disappointing when I read the descriptions. Pretty tame stuff from a formerly rebellious house that prefers unbeaten paths.

    But I must say that I enjoy the Sweet Series very much (with the exception of Yucky, sorry, Sticky Cake). I wasn't so impressed with them at first, but I have worn them a lot and grown into them. They are cosy, they are spicy, they are playful and fun cartoon scents. After the Synthetic Series the Sweets were a totally unexpected turn with their cutesy candy pink boxes with clear plastic "windows" and toy-like bottles and they are the polar opposite of those uncompromisingly urban and "polluted" scents in their stern BIB packaging. So I would say that the Sweets were a consciously un-Comme des Garçons Series!

    Though I have no high hopes for the Guerrillas, I will still try them when I manage to get samples of them.
    "Wovon man nicht lesen kann, darüber muss man schreiben."

  6. #6
    Serpent
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    Default Re: Guerrillas in the Mist: Whither Comme des Garçons?

    Quote Originally Posted by trumpet_guy
    I expected a no-holds-barred review, but even Chanel is slipping?
    Have you smelled Chance? And then the eau de parfum version? Yikes! Or the sugarbomb that is Allure Sensuelle? And how many times can they rejigger Allure Homme? Make a new fragrance, already! Chanel is trying to chase a young market and is losing touch with is history. Classics like No. 22 and No. 19 are being sidelined as Jacques Polges wrestles with trying to make a gourmand. (And fails.) Chanel doesn't need to make a gourmand; they just need to resurrect their classics and market them properly. No. 22 is as modern and youthful today as it was when it was created.

    I think Chanel is the greatest fragrance house ever. No. 5 alone puts them there, but follow that up with Cuir de Russie, No. 19, Coco... Forget Guerlain. Forget any other designer. Creed isn't fit to like their stilettoes. But with the last few releases... It's scary. Chanel needs more Une Fleur de Chanel-type releases. That is the true spirit of Chanel. As for the men, they seem convinced Americans only want Allure Homme spinoffs, they only want fresh and clean. Antaeus and Égoïste are so hard to find here.

    Chanel has signed Christopher Sheldrake - the nose behind Serge Lutens' old great scents - as a creative advisor recently. I think this is a sign that they may realize something is wrong. Or that Polges is planning his retirement soon and is looking for his successor. Hopefully Sheldrake will steer away from this wan, watery scents and back towards true Gallic elegance like Pour Monsieur Concentrée and Cristalle. But lately, yes, Chanel has slipped, and slipped badly.

  7. #7
    trumpet_guy's Avatar
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    Default Re: Guerrillas in the Mist: Whither Comme des Garçons?

    Well, that's sad news. You are more knowledgeable on this than I.
    I'm not as pessimistic about the men's side as you are, in that I quite
    like Allure Homme. AH Sport seems a bit redundant, but acceptable.

    They probably look at Acqua di Gio's sales and ask, "Why couldn't that
    be us?" To which we reply, "AdG already exists. We don't want you to
    become that." Anyway, I wish this house the best of success on the
    fragrance front.

  8. #8
    Serpent
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    Default Re: Guerrillas in the Mist: Whither Comme des Garçons?

    Quote Originally Posted by trumpet_guy
    I'm not as pessimistic about the men's side as you are, in that I quite like Allure Homme. AH Sport seems a bit redundant, but acceptable.
    I have no problem with Allure Homme as a scent itself, but, after Platinum Égoïste - which I really personally dislike but can sort of see as fitting in the Chanel aesthetic - and Allure Homme back-to-back, a little more variety would be nice. It's been seven years now since a brand-new men's scent that isn't a summer Allure Homme or a sporty Allure Homme has come out, and it's been sixteen years since a non-citrus scent has debuted for men from Chanel.

    While we're waiting, Chanel, why not relaunch Égoïste? Maybe remake that famous, iconic commercial? As an aspiration brand, Chanel has never been hotter in America. This could be the time for it...

  9. #9

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    Default Re: Guerrillas in the Mist: Whither Comme des Garçons?

    I think CdG scents are not very "well made", in the sense that they are not rounded, polished and does not smell delicious. Even their sherbets and sweets are kind of raw, undone, chaotic, disturbing. They are not what we expect perfumes to smell. If one is looking for a superb and harmonious and luxury scent, CdG is not the best one to choose.

    It is not only that the notes are wierd, it is about ideas, constructions... The point is where is the thin line between an amateurish composition and a good one. I think, for example, the EdP, Sequioa... are def. the good ones. Maybe bc it smells "natural", "organic", I mean unforcelessly, not "just for the case of being hard".

    These qualities, raw, chaotic ... could be found in the Guerrillas as well. But I think that they might be one of those too hard scents. G2 is more "organic" in a way, but G1 is just unpretty, and one can't find a "strong" thing in there. Maybe I don't like blk pepper, tho:-) The dry down is floral and spicy. It is weird. The undone concept of a scent is worked into perfection in Comme's other scents, one might want a litle bit more from these new scents indeed.

    I think the sweets are wonderfull, I wear it and wear it and can't have enough. It is a diet sweets:-)) BunrtSugar and Wood Coffee is ab.fab.
    http://blogsorbeta.blox.pl: CdG Series 8 Energy
    (Oct. 3rd).

  10. #10

    tigrushka's Avatar
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    Default Re: Guerrillas in the Mist: Whither Comme des Garçons?

    Quote Originally Posted by nqt
    I think the sweets are wonderfull, I wear it and wear it and can't have enough. It is a diet sweets:-)) BunrtSugar and Wood Coffee is ab.fab.
    Those two are my fave Sweets, too!

    I ordered samples of Guerrillas today...
    "Wovon man nicht lesen kann, darüber muss man schreiben."

  11. #11

    Default Re: Guerrillas in the Mist: Whither Comme des Garçons?

    I got the Guerrilla samples today from a friend who got tired of them. I definately see why... Never have I've been so dissapointed with a Comme des Garçons fragrance before. Or maybe I wasn't really, after reading comments here this was what I was expecting. But still dissapointed that they released something as bland as this. Guerrilla 1 is extremely unoffensive, even though the things Serpent said are true. But I felt all those characteristics are very toned down. Guerrilla 2 packs a bit more punch and make my stomach turn really. It has the same damp feeling as Sequoia, which I really dislike. But this one goes fruity instead of woody.

    I don't have much else to day really. I could see myself wearing #1, but I could not see my self paying much cash for it. It would only end up in my wardrobe because of the fact that it is a CdG scent that would like nice beside the rest of mine.

  12. #12

    Default Re: Guerrillas in the Mist: Whither Comme des Garçons?

    I disliked sequoia at first, but then I came to like it, even though it's kind of monochromatic or whatever "single note" almost

    the guerrilla samples arrived a couple of weeks ago I tried them and quickly forgot about them, there was nothing particular going on . . . to come back to them for. . .forgettable when the ad copy suggested something really militant or whatever!

  13. #13
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    Default Re: Guerrillas in the Mist: Whither Comme des Garçons?

    when my samples arrived, i was brave enough to dab a little #1 on my wrist. within 2 minutes, i was in the bathroom scrubing my arms. the smell was metal and simply revolting on my skin. i was so disappointed! come back to me cdg, come back!

  14. #14

    Lightbulb Re: Guerrillas in the Mist: Whither Comme des Garçons?

    hmmm, I saw these on lucky scents and got a sample of #2 GUERRILLA
    It just let out a little whimper of pepper , maybe pimento ? on the open
    and then just turned into this clean non-descript *thing* I'm a HUGE intense
    and incense bent nose , the CdG Incense series was fantastic beyond my wildest dreams ! leaves ( as in TEA ) was great too - Guerrilla #2 even has
    a faint vinyl smell as some CdG's do - yeah , kinda' like somebody took that
    avant-garde CdG vinyl note *weak* and mixed it with Polo sport ! Pih !
    *rolls eyes* just could'nt get anything out of it - but on a diplomatic closure -
    I can see where the generic clean thing would appeal to some- as for me ?
    Incense , An entire Chinese tea warehouse half burned to the ground , labdanum/cistus, attars , oakmoss ,vetiver, rare woods and resins with a pinch of citrus keeps my heart beating !

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    Default Re: Guerrillas in the Mist: Whither Comme des Garçons?

    I was at Barney's the other day and did smell Guerilla 1 and 2. When I sprayed G1 on left wrist, I said: "ahh floral" , G2 was more CDG 'synthetic" hard to figure out scent. I would probably get the G1--but for the price ( which went up ) I did not buy it. Im running out of the Comme des Garcons parfum ( 1994), should I come back to buy anything , I'd go back to the first one. I remember purchasing it at Maxfield here in L.A Fall of 1994. The window display was unforgettable. A mannequin in a hospital bed with the comme des garcon bottle wrapped in plastic bag being administered intraventously. Now that's Rei Kawakubo!
    "A great perfume is a work of art, it can lift our days, haunt our nights and create the milestones of our memories. Fragrance is liquid emotion. And that never goes out of fashion. " MICHAEL EDWARDS

  16. #16
    Serpent
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    Default Re: Guerrillas in the Mist: Whither Comme des Garçons?

    Quote Originally Posted by aubrgene
    I would probably get the G1--but for the price ( which went up ) I did not buy it.
    That's the other thing that really is grinding on me: As the creativity seems to go down, the prices are going up and up and up. Prices for all the series from Leaves through Synthetic held relatively steady and affordable in the mid-sixty-dollar range, then, suddenly, with Sweet, boom! Guerrilla is even more expensive. Yeah, Comme des Garçons is pricing itself not like a fashion designer but like an artisanal perfumer now. Great...

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