August 29 2014

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This Doll Smells Like “Freshness And Poison”


Some men have inner demons; Undercover‘s Jun Takahashi has his Graces. The lamblike stuffed dolls the Japanese designer invented a few seasons ago have stayed with him ever since, popping up in Undercover’s fashion shows (they sometimes perch on the shoulder of a dress), their own gallery exhibitions, and, soon, at the Diane Pernet-curated SCOPE Markt. And they were out in force in Paris last night for the launch of Undercover’s first fragrances, produced and distributed by Comme des Garçons. The two scents, Holygrace and Holygrapie, are themselves inspired by the dolls: “Grace is the mother and Grapie is her child,” says Takahashi, himself the father of two. Holygrace, designed to evoke “elegance, soap, freshness, and poison,” is a sweet and spicy blend with pink pepper, jasmine, vanilla, and amber notes. Holygrapie, for which Takahashi aimed to capture a baby’s smell, includes ginger and rhubarb, nutmeg, sandalwood, and patchouli. Both scents come in old-fashioned, heart-shaped bottles with a bouquet printed on the inside. For Wednesday night’s launch at Paris’ L’Eclaireur, Takahashi staged a doll-making demonstration with music from his pal Kan Takagi, one of the pioneers of Japan’s hip-hop scene and a member of the duo Tiny Punks. As Takahashi and two assistants worked feverishly to stitch together a two-foot Grace with a collection of fake furs, white teddy bear parts, and what looked like miniature motorcycle lights, the crowd browsed limited editions of the fragrance, bottled in flacons wearing Grace suits of their own, complete with curly tails, antennae, and diamanteé necklaces. Standard-edition buyers who snap up the scents at their wide debut in May will have to create their own outfits, but a video of Takahashi creating the dolls (one of which is pictured below) should point the DIY way.

Photos: Courtesy of Undercover

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