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August 29 2014

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Stephen Jones Thinks Outside the Hatbox

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stephen-jonesA party at the Trading Museum Comme des Garçons this week in Paris celebrated British milliner Stephen Jones’ second fragrance collaboration with the house: Wisteria Hysteria. “It’s truly the counterpoint,” he said, his first eau being a violet-based scent. “I really wanted to do something that wasn’t a rose perfume or a jasmine perfume, but something a bit more esoteric.” The wisteria growing outside his home in London served as the inspiration, particularly the second flowering of the bloom that occurs in August. “Where before you might have a thousand flowers, it will only produce twenty the second time—but the scent of those is extraordinary,” he explained. “They smell peppery, almost like a carnation, and they’re unbelievably rich.” Combined with the resinous oils that have become a CDG signature, the final aroma is warm but not heady, clean but seductive. The composition was entirely Jones’ vision, a rarity in the fragrance business. “I remember reading a book by Luca Turin where he talks about Sarah Jessica Parker going in with this oil and that oil [for her perfume], and they said to her, ‘You’re doing a white floral, babe.’” The celebrity scent, however, is about churning out hundreds of thousands of bottles for the masses, whereas this is decidedly more niche. “What people want is individuality, that’s why they buy hats. It’s not necessarily the hat itself but the whole experience: They love the box, veiling, and these little bits of finishing.” And if you love the hat honcho’s chapeaux, you’ll particularly enjoy the coffer (a scaled-down hatbox) stuffed with white netting that holds the flacon. The summer breeze that blows the alluring aroma through the milliner’s home may come and go, but this bottle will re-create the olfactory experience year-round.

$165, available at the Trading Museum Comme des Garçons, 54 Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré in Paris, alongside an exhibition of fourteen Stephen Jones hats, including the first chapeau he created for the label’s Fall collection in 1985. The fragrance launches stateside in the Comme des Garçons boutique in New York City’s Dover Street Market next week.

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