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Citrus scents and Spring are obvious pairings. Similarly, Hussein Chalayan’s collaboration with Comme des Garcons (CDG) to create Airborne also makes sense. Both are edgy but often construct surprisingly accessible collections. The concept behind Airborne from Chalayan is compelling, in that he wanted to create a scent that captures his journeys from Cyprus to London, its notes morphing as it travels airborne from its Mediterranean origin to the urban landscape. Chalayan’s parents separated when he was young, with his father in London and his mother in Cyprus. So I can only imagine this fragrance as being quite personal for Chalayan.

Like many journeys, Airborne’s isn’t quite as straightforward as its listed notes suggest. I definitely do smell lemon and neroli in its opening but there’s also something else unusual there that always piques my interest. I suspect that this might be the listed mastic lentiscus resin note that creates an artificial light effect. This undercurrent strips Airborne off its natural greenness, lending to it a tension and a darker edge. It glows, even in sunlight, but never is its light pure. The crispness of juniper berries and cedar that come in later does nothing to dampen the synthetic nature of the scent. Airborne’s neon lights only begin to fade once the fragrance is well and truly on the verge of being completely airborne. Apparently, the flight time from Cyprus to London is just over four hours, which is just about the time Airborne’s journey lasts on my skin.

I love CDG fragrances. CDG 2 was the first “niche” fragrance I ever purchased and since then, my CDG collection has only grown considerably. So, I must admit that I am not entirely objective when it comes to CDG scents. Whilst I do feel that Airborne succeeds in its vision, I also know that this is a scent that will never be “personal” to me. I find it jarring at times, never soothing and obstinately uncompromising. Yet, there is an undertow that draws me back to it time and time again.