Gold rush

The streets of London may be mythically paved with gold, but Mayfair and Soho positively reeked of the substance this week, following the launch of the new Comme des Garçons fragrance, 8 88, with a special, invite-only launch event in Soho and pop-up preview store in Mayfair’s Burlington Arcade.

With the 8 88 perfume seizing the gold theme with both hands, the Japanese brand’s nearby retail flagship, Dover Street Market, stood its festive ground, and has launched a Christmas installation and product range, entitled Sparkling Party. Rather than get too Posh or Elton about it, CDG drafted in a typically eclectic roster of stars to bring some wit and grit to the theme.

Among them, NYC-based graffiti artist Kaws, aka Bryan Griffiths, has created this year’s limited edition Christmas packaging for the two signature CDG fragrances. These, with T-shirts, wallets and satchel bags bearing a specially created caterpillar-like tag, fills one of the store’s regularly changing display spaces, The Hut Box, which occupies one of the ground floor windows. Kaws has also contributed a mural for the wall alongside the entrance.

Kaws fans will be keen to get their hands on this latest clutch of limited editions, by a graffiti artist who made his name designing T-shirts and trainers for Bape, and now for his own label, Original Fake, as well as toys for Kid Robot.

Yet Kaws’ fragrance pack, comprising a black pen illustration on a sheet of A4, heat-sealed into plastic with the iconic, pebble-shaped silver fragrance bottle, along with a rubbery gold mannequin, doesn’t quite create the same excitement as much of his best work.

Nor does it really live up to the fashion and perfume house’s new gold 8 88 fragrance bottle, or to CDG’s Christmas editions from previous years, as a trip to the basement of the 8 88 preview store in nearby Burlington Arcade attests. Old stock of past limited editions are being sold off there until the pop-up closes this Friday.

Previous Christmas packs include 2006’s Party Monster, a black bottle sporting tassels and sequins, and another version, packaged in a bottle wrapped in bright red, heart-shaped sculptural plastic. Yet in the spirit of conscious consumerism that’s rapidly attaching itself to this Christmas’s retail flurry, CDG has perhaps put its finger on the right button.

With the Kaws name attached, these are destined to become collectibles, whether they serve as the wrapper for a perfume or not. l

The Kaws installation and products are at Dover Street Market until Christmas. The 8 88 fragrance will not be launched until 17 March 2008, but is available at the preview store until Friday.

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