Byredo, the Stockholm-based luxury perfume house founded by Ben Gorham in 2006, has been cleverly working away to ensure that it moves into the crème de crème league of parfumiers.
In addition to the maison’s own range of highly sought after fragrances created by Ben and renowned perfumers Olivia Giacobetti and Jerome Epinette, the company has notched up an excellent roster of exclusive and special collaborations. And, rather unusually, these collaborations have never really been a simple matter of traditional fashion licensing.
For example in 2009, Byredo created M/Mink in collaboration with the well-known artist/designer duo M/M (Paris) aka Mathias Augustyniak and Michael Amzalag who are equally known for their collaborations with top fashion designers and pop musicians and their following in the international art world. Literally taking their process of one in which the movement of the brushes and medium of the artists should act as an inspiration for the fragrance, M/Mink was born out of a conceptual process that is far more akin to any contemporary art process than industrial perfume production. M/M (Paris) presented Ben Gorham with a block of solid ink purchased in Asia, a photograph showing a Japanese master practising his daily calligraphy, and a large Utopian formula created by Augustyniak on Korean traditional paper as the starting point for the new fragrance.
A heady and decadent mix of adoxal and incense and a base of patchouli leaf, clover honey and dark amber, it is yet another example of Ben Gorham’s underlying approach that his perfume house should reflect his Indian heritage as much as the crispness of fragrances we associate with Sweden. Whether it does or does not actually smell like ink upon first appearance continues to be a matter of debate. But what is far more important is that Byredo would want it to smell like the ink that is such an inherent part of its birth; to produce a perfume that reflected an entirely different approach to the ancient art of fragrances.
This similar conceptual mentality is something that underlies the production of all Byredo fragrances. And, even if a number of the perfumes from the company’s own line have less poetic stories attached to their creation, they nonetheless always reflect a certain combination of a global olfactory palette and a strong idea underlying their creation. Perhaps this is why they end up so specific and why Byredo’s signature approach has won it many expert fans.
Since then there have been similar collaborations, such as the fragrance for Acne, the luxury jeans brand that is the epitome of Scandinavian cool, and a collaboration with Fantastic Man, the very particular international men’s magazine based in Amsterdam. With both of these, once again, Byredo demonstrates that it is less interested in becoming the mere producer of a fragrance for an existing name but rather a core ingredient brand for collaborations with those equally known for their strong creative visions.