With the enigmatic and visionary Rei Kawakubo as creative director of the Paris-based fashion brand (she would never call her creations “fashion”), Comme des Garçons fragrances could never be ordinary. The eponymous EDP established the company’s unconventional approach to perfumery in a big and spicy way in 1994.
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More than twenty-five years later, Comme des Garçons Rouge EDP arrived on the market. Both designer and niche, the company has had its fair share of ups and downs over the decades.
This is to be expected when releases range from the downright anti-perfumes such as Series 6: Synthetic Garage EDT (2004), with its kerosene smell, to the more approachable Floriental EDP (2015).
Does Comme des Garçons Rouge live up to the brand’s creative and innovative reputation?
Scent Notes (according to the brand)
Pink peppercorns, Indonesian ginger (top notes); beetroot, Egyptian geranium leaves (heart notes); incense, patchouli, cistus (base notes).
Born and raised in Grasse, France, the award-winning Nathalie Gracia-Cetto has earned praise for her designer and niche creations.
These include Fragrance du Bois Oud Jaune Intense Parfum (2013), Ex Nihilo Love Shot EDP (2016), Tom Ford Soleil Blanc EDP (2016), Rochas Moustache EDP (2018) and Paco Rabanne 1 Million Lucky EDT (2018).
The pharmacology graduate also created Radish Vetiver EDP for Comme des Garçons’ Clash Collection in 2019, so is familiar with their aesthetic.
In typical conceptual style, the brand’s website describes Comme des Garçons Rouge as “a ceremonial clash of contrasts. A radical revelation of blazing harmonies. Through deliberate overdose and rapturous expression, Rouge presents an unexpected unison.
An olfactive congregation of desire. The archetypal associations of the colour Rouge seen and subverted through the distinctly disruptive gaze of Comme des Garçons.”
Packaging & Presentation
The glass pebble-stone bottle makes a bright impact. Originally designed by Marc Atlan, it’s now considered a design classic. It comes in an equally attention-grabbing red cardboard box.
Beetroot! Yep, the root vegetable stands out in the opening and pretty much throughout the scent’s progression. Its innate earthiness is given a spicy, rosy, slightly sweet twist with a pink peppercorn note.
There’s more spice from zesty ginger. Its freshness is enhanced by the Egyptian geranium leaves, with their minty and gently metallic profile.
The intrigue doesn’t stop there. Incense makes its presence felt, without being overpowering. Its resinous smoke is complemented by the muskiness of patchouli and cistus.
There’s no shortage of fragrances with the word “rouge” in it and packaging to match. But Comme des Garçons Rouge is not just another marketing gimmick and proves the brand has not lost its edge.
While the beetroot is prominent, it’s treated and blended in such a clever way, there’s a good chance, you could love this fragrance even if you normally hate eating the vegetable.
Who Would Like It
If you’re looking for something different, but not outrageously experimental, this unisex scent could appeal to you. It achieves a fine balancing act of pleasing long-time Comme des Garçons fans, while not alienating potential new devotees.
Where To Wear It
More versatile than you might think and because it’s not overpowering, it can be worn in creative and corporate office environments. It works well across warm and cold seasons too. And would make for an ideal talking point with a new date!
Similar Fragrances To Consider
Can’t get enough beetroot? Demeter Beetroot Cologne delivers on its name at a very reasonable price.
As part of its 60th anniversary celebrations, Diptyque has just launched Kyoto EDT, which features a beetroot accord in combo with vetiver, incense, and rose notes.
Spanish leather brand Loewe takes it to a new level of sophistication with their Beetroot Home Fragrance.