Thursday, December 18, 2008

concept & design: KENZO Flower

images from

Not being too interested in Kenzo perfumes, I'm not sure what I was doing on the website. But I ran across these new repackaging designs for the FlowerbyKenzo fragrance. Very striking.

The concept of it is also very striking. In fact I think it is an instance of the idea being far more interesting than the actual manifestation. 'FlowerbyKenzo' is about construction and abstraction, rather than representation. It is the scent of a flower, not a flower of nature, but rather the imagination -- of Kenzo's, that is. Which means, transplanted to an urban environment and vaguely (it pains me) Japanese. The shock of red on a white expanse, in particular. Ideas of purity, fragility, sexuality, and femininity abound.

At this point, I am between aversion and fascination. And I am reminded of the recursivity of Pygmalion-type tropes in these constructions of femininity. The red flower here is the poppy, which is clearly selected advisedly, the poppy having no natural scent of her own. Instead, it provides the blank canvas for his olfactory work of art -- the scent of the flower, of the woman. As Kenzo announces: he has created it.

That made me laugh. But seriously, this polite, prim, powdery little nondescript-nothing of a fragrance has quite the semiotic nerve.

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