The maestros of the unexpected have again tackled a quotidian material and managed to tease apart the surprises that lie within the banal. Comme des Garcons’ Concrete is, straightforwardly enough, housed in a grey shell of poured concrete, but uniquely hand-formed. Freed from the streets beneath our feet, concrete becomes a material worthy of observation and appreciation. And the enclosed scent, too, reveals in its first puff what happens when stereotypes are shattered.
The first moments of Concrete are shocking – from this weighty concrete pebble, one would expect a harsh industrial scent, but instead, a cloud of soft-focused sherbert, melting in the street, greets the senses. This is Comme des Garcons at its most subtle, honed in on the slightest of details. In the ambiently fruity, lactonic haze, there’s a metallic zing, contributed by rose oxide. Lightly spicy, with cinnamon and cardamom, this is a strange, fizzing scent. And as it progresses, the creaminess grows drier. There’s an “aha!” moment when the mind connects the dots, and it becomes discernable as the most velvety of woods – sandalwood. What Comme des Garcons describes as a “deconstructed” sandalwood, Concrete is a scent that is more than the sum of its parts – identifiable, but still beautifully quixotic in its alignment. The industrial made natural, and nature deconstructed.