Zero, launched in June of this year, is the newest addition to the venerable stable of rule-breaking Comme des Garçons perfumes (see our feature about the Comme des Garçons Parfums universe here). As its name implies, Zero is about reduction, subtraction, minimalism. (It also happens to be one of our favorite Smashing Pumpkins songs, and the Helvetica font of Zero’s packaging reminded us of vintage Smashing Pumpkins t-shirts). Rei Kawakubo has previously expressed her frustration with excess of fashion, particularly with its omnipresent logomania and unconsidered consumerism. This perfume could be seen as another expression of the same philosophy, though you may be within your rights to wonder whether anyone concerned with minimalism and reduction should be adding another artifact to the planet.
But high scruples notwithstanding, what does reduction mean in Zero? Well, there are fewer ingredients, minimal packaging, and a simplified signature CdG bottle that refuses to stand, which still feels like a fresh idea after all these years. The ingredients will sound familiar to the diehard CdG Parfums fans – rich, natural cedar wood (hand-harvested and extracted using hydroelectric power, according to the press release), bergamot, musk, and vetiver, finished by “an overdose of synthetic rose.”
How does it translate in real life? To our noses, the eau de parfum does open with a mix of rose, musk and cedar, and it’s a fascinating smell, because it does not exactly feel minimal but not overbearing either. But once it settles, what lingers most is a very pleasant, intimate note of cedar, underscored by the vetiver. This makes sense, as cedar is a central ingredient in CdG perfumery, but here it’s very subtle as opposed to an overdose of it (this is a compliment) in something like CdG Black. The verdict: if CdG black is your winter perfume, Zero will make for a perfect summer complement.
Zero, eau de parfum 100ml, $165 / 155 EUR / 125GBP
Available at all Comme des Garçons boutiques and all branches of Dover Street Market.