By  on January 11, 2008

LONDON — Comme des Garçons thinks it has struck gold — liquid gold, that is.The avant-garde fashion and fragrance house will introduce 8 88, a scent concocted around the precious metal's imaginary smell, starting in February.The fragrance is the first created as part of Comme des Garçons' licensing agreement with Puig Beauty and Fashion Group. Under that deal, which was signed in 2002, Puig also produces and distributes the brand's Comme des Garçons 2 and Comme des Garçons Man scents."[The project] has taken us a long time," said Ana Trias, brand director for Comme des Garçons, which she said did not employ traditional marketing tools, such as consumer testing, in the creation process.That may explain 8 88's conceptual bent."Perfume is about making a dream; it's about a journey into the imagination," said Adrian Joffe, president and managing director of Comme des Garçons Parfums. "One of man's original dreams was to find gold. We worked on an idea of what gold would smell like if it had a smell.""We started with gold — not in the physical sense or money or connected with luxury — but as a raw material, as a mineral," added Trias.Givaudan perfumer Antoine Lie, working with Christian Astuguevieille (a liaison between Comme des Garçons and perfumers), translated that idea into a tangible blend of safraline, a molecular derivation of saffron, pepper wood, curcuma, coriander, geranium, amber, incense and patchouli.The 8 88 bottle, which is similar in shape to the flat flacons with off-kilter spray devices used for Comme des Garçons Man and Comme des Garçons 2, is coated with metallic gold paint. The scent's name — which plays on the number eight's lucky connotations — is emblazoned twice on the front of the bottle.The eau de parfum will be available as 50- and 100-ml. sprays, which are to retail for 52 pounds and 65 pounds, respectively, in the U.K., or $107 and $134 at current exchange. The line also includes incense sticks and a scented candle.Puig and Comme des Garçons executives declined to discuss forecasts. However, industry sources estimate8 88 will generate $10 million in wholesale volume in its first year.Bowing in Russia in February, 8 88 will be rolled out to the rest of the world in March, when it will be distributed in 1,000 perfumeries as well as fashion-oriented boutiques and art galleries.

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