EXCLUSIVE: Johan Lindeberg Talks BLK DNM Perfume 11, “A perfect Unisex Scent”
Johan Lindeberg has cool cred in spades. After spending the early part of the 1990′s in a leadership role at Diesel, he left to create his eponymous line (J. Lindeberg), spent time as the creative director of Justin Timberlake’s pet project William Rast, and built Paris68, a creative consulting agency and womenswear line of the same name. Then last year Lindeberg shifted his focus once again to BLK DNM, a denim-driven line of wearable basics that have become a uniform for many a downtown dweller. Now, he’s adding a fragrance to his résumé with the brand’s Perfume 11, launching tonight at The Webster in Miami (the store is also playing host to parties for vbeauté, Dsquared² and Vman, and Pringle of Scotland). But before the festivities got under way, we caught up with Lindeberg to talk fragrance notes, art-inspired mood boards, and why “2011 is the new 1968.”
Why add a fragrance to the BLK DNM portfolio—and why now?
A fragrance is a core ingredient for any comprehensive brand identity. We really liked the idea of adding such a crucial component early in the process, with the right partners of course. I decided to make BLK DNM a more personal expression than I had ever done, so it felt important to also manifest that in a scent.
Did you have a fragrance background before you embarked on this olfactory experiment?
I left Diesel before the fragrance was launched, and with J. Lindeberg I never had the opportunity to do one. So I thought to start with a perfume within the first year of the launch would make the foundation of BLK DNM much stronger.
BLK DNM’s clothes have such a cool easy vibe…
Thank you. I really appreciate that comment as I wanted to create clothes with a natural attitude this time around.
Was it hard to translate that sentiment into scent?
Everything I do with BLK DNM is more personal than anything I have done before. It is definitely more purely about my personal taste than ever before; I only do things I really like myself and I just love this scent. It’s a perfume I want to wear everyday. So it came really naturally.
What about it speaks to you so much? Are there any specific notes you definitely wanted to be in the composition?
I have always used perfume with character. I don’t like perfume that’s too strong or too sweet—it gives me a headache—so I wanted incense because it has a spiritual meaning to me. I have always had candles and incense in my home. I also wanted musk as it was a scent that I connect with the seventies in my hometown. The black pepper stands for attitude. And cedarwood grounds the perfume. I really think it’s a perfect unisex scent.
Where does the name, Perfume 11, come from?
Everything I do with BLK DNM has a number, as I got tired of using names on products. One night I woke up and felt it had to be number 11 instead of number 1. I really feel that 2011 is such an emotional year. 2011 is the new 1968. What’s happening in the world is incredible—revolution in the Middle East, riots in the U.K., the Wall Street occupation, financial crisis, earthquakes. I grew up in a university town in the south of Sweden, and when I was a child the political and idealistic energy was really strong and it influenced my life. I’m proud of being a brand of 2011 and I feel more inspired than ever in my life. I feel values are changing and people are getting conscious, and it’s a time to express yourself and be creative.
What compelled you to launch the scent at Art Basel—and at the Webster, of all places?
Art Basel is a week of high energy and I feel that the art world and fashion world really connect. The Webster is a beautiful conceptual store and an inspiring environment, and [owner] Laure [Heriard Dubreuil] is a lovely person and a great friend. It just felt natural.
Is there anything in particular on your must-see list while you’re in Miami?
I normally walk around and shoot my favorite pieces with my camera. Then I put the images together on a board; it’s a great way to curate my taste. I will post my 20 favorites on our blog, Blkdnmcloseup.com.