By and  on October 12, 2007

LONDON — Comme des Garçons is cooking up fragrant collaborations.

The avant-garde fashion and fragrance house is branching into producing and distributing scents for other brands and designers under its Comme des Garçons Parfums PARFUMS label.

The firm already has inked deals with milliner Stephen Jones, fashion label Undercover, stylist and socialite Daphne Guinness and Monocle magazine. Their scents will bow over the next year in Comme des Garçons' existing retail network of 500 to 600 doors, with Jones' effort set to be the first to appear in stores in July.

"For us, it is very coherent," said Adrian Joffe, president and managing director of Comme des Garçons Parfums. "We have always liked the idea of collaborating and working in synergy." He added that the move is a logical step for Comme des Garçons Parfums, which boasts a lineup of 45 fragrances and rang up wholesale volume of $3.3 million in its most recent fiscal year, 32 percent over the prior 12-month period.

"Over the years, we've had a few people who have asked us if we could do a fragrance for them," Joffe said. "Suddenly, it seemed like a good idea."

Joffe likened the new project to a laboratory, where each scent's juice and packaging is made according to its creator's specifications. "I won't have creative input, unless they ask me," said Joffe, adding Christian Astuguevieille, who acts as a liaison between Comme des Garçons and perfumers, will be on hand to help guide the process. "Because we don't have creative limits ourselves, we provide a service [without] creative limits for the people we work with."

Due to that carte blanche philosophy, Joffe said selecting the right people to work with is key.

"We will only work with people who have their own vision," he said. Jones, who was mum on details, said his scent will be a combination of futurism and rococo.

"I've been waiting all my life to do it," he said.

Guinness also is keeping details of her fragrance under wraps. "It will be one of the fragrances that I wear — I mix all of my own scents," she said."We like to work with visionaries," said Joffe, noting other names could be added to the roster in the future.

An initial run of 5,000 units of each of the collaboration scents will be produced.

The new fragrance project is independent of Comme des Garçons' licensing deal with Puig Beauty & Fashion Group. Under that agreement, Puig produces and distributes the brand's Comme des Garçons 2 and Comme des Garçons Man scents. The two companies will introduce a third fragrance starting in March.

Comme des Garçons continues producing and distributing scents as part of its Parfums PARFUMS business, which will include the collaboration projects. It also comprises its "series" collections of scents, which are introduced on an ad hoc basis, and is set to grow in January with Energy C. As well as a number of other scent collections, also under the Parfums PARFUMS umbrella, is Luxe, a two-unit line of uberprestige scents, which hit stores this week in Paris and London.

"With Luxe, the idea is to use the best money can buy," Joffe said, adding the line was introduced based on creative impetus rather than for marketing reasons. "We never do market research. If we did, we'd never launch anything."

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