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New Rei Kawakubo Concept to Host Fragrance Launch

Part perfume launch, part shop opening, the gathering Friday will also come with liberal doses of humor.

PARIS — Leave it to Rei Kawakubo to concoct one of the most inscrutable — and therefore unmissable — events of Paris Fashion Week.

This story first appeared in the September 27, 2011 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

Part perfume launch, part shop opening, the gathering Friday will also come with liberal doses of humor, including a fake television commercial for a new Comme des Garçons scent that boasts notes of industrial glue and brown — not clear — Scotch tape.

The 540-square-foot boutique — across the courtyard from the Comme des Garçons flagship on the Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré — is the second location for Kawakubo’s experimental Trading Museum concept, which showcases items to look at and others to buy. The first opened in Tokyo’s Gyre building in 2009.

Housing everything from bullet-shaped ceramics by James Salaiz to shoe-handbag hybrids by A’N’D, the Paris unit will introduce European shoppers to a range of cult and emerging labels. These include new Kawakubo protégé Ganryu, who has his own brand under the Comme des Garçons umbrella in the vein of Junya Watanabe and Tao.

Adrian Joffe, chief executive officer of Comme des Garçons International and Kawakubo’s husband, described Ganryu’s unisex collection, now in its fourth season, as a combination of rock ’n’ roll and streetwear. “He’s taking off in Japan now, and it’s time to bring him to Europe and America,” Joffe said.

Noritaka Tatehana, whose devotees include Lady Gaga and Daphne Guinness, is to display his extreme, gravity-defying footwear designs, some of which can be made-to-order.

Other tongue-twisting designers on offer include Ek Thongprasert, a Thailand-born designer who employed silicon to create an exclusive range of new-look ethnic necklaces.

The fake ads come courtesy of Katerina Jebb, a British-born, Paris-based photographer and artist.

Joffe declined to disclose the name of the new perfume, but said it would be housed in a new flacon Kawakubo designed, the first since her pebble-shaped bottle from 1994. Limited quantities of the scent will be on sale at the party, with a broader rollout to follow.

Described as having a linear structure, the scent includes aldehydes and safraleine; hawthorns and lilac; flower oxides, and hints of musk and styrax, in addition to the glue and tape notes.