So designer Jun Takahashi of the ‘cult’ fashion house Undercover makes dolls. They’re called Graces, and he makes them out of metal and teddy bears and light bulbs and other things. According to Takahashi,
The Graces spontaneously come out of me, genuinely, while making clothes is something more calculated, an entire process that requires teamwork. But doing both allows me to keep a balance in my creativity. Therefore, it makes sense to me to have everything linked.1
The fragrances, made in collaboration with Comme des Garçons, are conceptually linked to the dolls, and there are reportedly limited edition bottles (you can see them here if you scroll down) decorated with similar fabric elements. Holygrace (shown below right) is for the mother doll, and is supposed to be “a perfume of elegance, soap freshness and poison”. It starts with citrus and hot peppery spices (the notes: bergamot, ginger, pink pepper, cardamom, jasmine, frankincense, pimento, ambergris, vetiver, vanilla and styrax), and dries down to a softly spicy, somewhat clean incense with amber and light hints of vanilla. It’s quite wearable and perfectly unisex.
The Independent recently included Holygrace in their list of the ten best spring fragrances, noting that “…it’s a quirky scent, smelling of damp Renaissance churches and incense”.2 Now, admittedly my bar for quirky is set rather high — and who better to blame for that than Comme des Garçons? — but I did not find it nearly as quirky as the dolls that inspired it, and if you want the damp Renaissance churches and incense, I’d think you’d be far better off with Comme des Garçons Avignon. I confess that elegance and poison weren’t the first attributes I thought of either, and I’d be hard pressed to say what did come to mind: I just didn’t find Holygrace nearly as interesting as the other collaborative scents from Comme des Garçons, and I kept forgetting what it smelled like when it wasn’t actually on my skin.
Holygrapie (shown below left) is linked to the child doll, and “reflects the smell of babies, kindness and sensuality”. It starts with milky spices cut with a bit of tart fruit (the notes: ginger, tangerine, rhubarb, black pepper, iris, ylang, nutmeg, frankincense, cedar, sandalwood, vetiver, styrax and patchouli), and for a few minutes I thought I was going to love it, but it very gradually turns sweet, and it takes on that particular smell of baby products (powder and wipes) that some people love, and that other people (people like me) find absolutely nauseating when it’s on their own skin. Mind you, this is no Love’s Baby Soft, and it’s arguably a quirkier fragrance than Holygrace, but all the same, I found it nearly unbearable to wear.
As always, I hope someone who has tried these and loved them will comment and tell me how very wrong I am.
Comme des Garçons + Undercover Holygrace and Holygrapie are available in 50 ml Eau de Toilette. For buying information, see the listing for Comme des Garçons under Perfume Houses.
1. Via Now Unveiling | Undercover’s Jun Takahashi at the New York Times
2. Via The ten best spring fragrances at The Independent.
Note: top image found at Boing Boing.