Comme des Garçons is a fashion house with a serious determination to be different. In an area of London where designer shops proclaim their names as noticeably as possible — Chanel, Prada, Gucci, Armani, Dolce & Gabbana, Yves Saint Laurent, Hermès and countless others — Comme des Garçons hides their status in a rather utilitarian-looking shop with no mention of their name at all. You could walk past Dover Street Market and assume it’s a charity shop (which is what thrift stores are called in the UK).
Inside, the utilitarian feel prevails, with rough wooden floorboards and a general feel that the goods have been hastily unpacked from a cardboard box and may not be there tomorrow. It’s only when you look closely that you see that everything is ‘different’ and intriguing. Shop assistants are not easy to identify, as they’re often dressed as if they’re ordinary shoppers, with outdoor coats and mobile phones. Finding someone to take your money is a slightly surreal experience; I’m never entirely sure that I haven’t just handed over £50 to a tourist from Nagasaki.
The good news for scent lovers is that the perfume collection is on the ground floor, just inside the main door. All the scent series, plus the new Luxe editions and 8 88, are displayed on a kind of stepped pyramid.
Currently, Monocle x Comme des Garcons Scent One: Hinoki is displayed separately, presumably because it’s a collaboration and not part of the main Comme des Garçons range.
Getting there: Dover Street Market, 17-18 Dover Street, London W1S 4LT, Tel: +44 (0) 207 518 0680. The nearest tube station is Green Park. Dover Street is north off Piccadilly.
Nearby: You’re close to a wealth of fashion/perfume boutiques, some of which are mentioned above. Next door to the Comme des Garçons shop is John Rocha, a high-end clothing boutique that carries the Scent Systems line. Ormonde Jayne is about five minutes’ walk away. Close by, on the other side of Piccadilly, is The Ritz and Fortnum & Mason.
— image & report filed by Nina.
See also: Perfume Shopping in London