10 posts tagged "Ben Gorham"
Very little excites us quite like when a new Byredo scent crosses our desk—for a few reasons. First and foremost, it’s a pretty rare occurrence; founder and creative director Ben Gorham isn’t much for oversaturating the market with his incredibly well-conceived eaux, so they launch fairly sporadically, making them that much more desirable. Secondly, well, they’re incredibly well-conceived; we’re fairly picky about the scents we’ll actually wear (appreciating a perfume and living with one are two entirely different beasts), but there are a few Byredo creations that have worked their way into our arsenal, most notably 2011′s Seven Veils. The latest—which launches next week, on the eve of the official start of spring—is appropriately floral-centric. Called Inflorescence, the rose and pink freesia top notes give the scent a super fresh start, which becomes richer and almost creamy, courtesy of hints of magnolia, lily of the valley, and jasmine as they mingle with the warmth of the skin. It remains unclear when spring will actually grace us with its presence—particularly on the winter-weary East Coast—but a few whiffs of this certainly create the illusion of its arrival.
Available March 20 at www.byredo.com.
Last year, Byredo’s Ben Gorham ventured outside of his collaborative comfort zone to create a new fragrance that was less of a joint partnership and more of a tribute. With the release of Mister Marvelous—a mandarin leaf, neroli flower, green lavender, black amber, and white cedarwood eau—Ben Gorham immortalized a hair hero nonpareil: Christiaan Houtenbos. The Dutch-born coiffing star made a name for himself as an army barber while stationed in Curaçao before moving to New York in the sixties, taking the editorial world by storm in the seventies, serving backstage duties for Calvin Klein and Comme des Garçons in the eighties, and christening the undercut in the process; 40 years later, Christiaan remains one of fashion’s most sought-after stylists. “I’m just a singular character,” he insisted once when we had the pleasure of interviewing him. “I want to live like a painter or a writer who doesn’t have a secretary and just does what he’s supposed to do. [But] people keep asking me all these questions—I might start writing a book for myself.” For now, he’s picked up a pen for a different cause: to personally sign 200 limited-edition boxes of his namesake scent, which has been given an orange makeover—Christiaan’s signature color—and will be available on Byredo’s Web site next week. While Gorham has talked about adding other installments to his Mister Marvelous franchise, for now Christiaan remains the one and only.
When Ben Gorham launched his Byredo Seven Veils fragrance last fall, we couldn’t have been happier. On a perpetual quest for a new signature scent following the end of a love affair with L’Occitane’s Eau des Baux for men, we were surprised by just how much we loved the carrot, pimento berries, Tahitian vanilla flower, vanilla bean, and tiger orchid scent. Sworn haters of vanilla perfumes, this one somehow managed to be spicy and earthy rather than overwhelmingly sweet; it’s been our go-to ever since. At the time of its debut, there were rumors that Gorham was also planning to introduce a series of limited-edition scarves designed in collaboration with M/M Paris to go along with the fragrance—”veils,” if you will, that you could spray with the scent, thus offering a totally different fragrance-wearing experience. This week, the silk accessories have finally hit shelves at Barneys—in very limited quantities (there are seven different prints, each of which was screened onto 25 scarves) and packaged with a limited-edition bottle of Seven Veils. It’s pretty much the perfect, all-inclusive Mother’s Day gift. Bring your own card.
$430, available at Barneys New York.
Since discovering Byredo a little over two years ago, I’ve been on a desperate search to make one of Ben Gorham’s exquisitely composed eaux my own. I entertained a brief love affair with the Bal d’Afrique, Gorham’s bergamot, neroli, jasmine, black amber, and vetiver flacon, before exchanging pleasantries with Gypsy Water, his fresh juniper berry, incense, pine, and vanilla parfum. Then it was onto Blanche, the white rose, violet, peony, and sandalwood scent that Gorham designed in homage to his girlfriend. While all three are gorgeous fragrances, none of them stuck. Bal d’Afrique and Gypsy Water skewed slightly too masculine for my pheromones, while Blanche proved too rich for everyday wear. But all good things come to those who wait, as they say. I am proud to report that I have found a new signature scent in Byredo’s recently released Seven Veils. Inspired by the biblical tale of Salome’s dance of the Seven Veils, the spicy oriental boasts typically unisex notes, like carrot and pimento berries, blended with warm, feminine essences of Tahitian vanilla flower, vanilla bean, and tiger orchid. I usually hate vanilla-scented perfumes, but the sweetness here is diffused but the spicy, earthy top notes, resulting in a musky finish that is never cloying. My one complaint is that the intoxicating juice doesn’t last as long as I’d like it too; if I had my way, I could smell it from the minute I put it on in the morning until I turned in for the night. I can only hope Gorham is working on an extrait as we speak.
Oud is many things to many people. To the musically minded, it’s an almond-shaped, intricately embellished stringed musical instrument from the Middle East; to those who imbibe, it’s a style of medium-bodied brown Belgian beer; and for the linguists out there, it’s simply the Dutch word for “old,” or “archaic.” For the perfume community, oud is an exotic and incredibly rare oil made from the wildly fragrant resin of the Aquilaria tree, also known as Agarwood. Originally from the Assam region of India and now found throughout Southeast Asia, the fragrant elixir has been prized for thousands of years for its purported spiritual, mystical, and aphrodisiacal powers. A bevy of noteworthy perfume companies have given the magical extract a starring role in their eaux; there’s Pure Oud from By Kilian, Oud Wood by Tom Ford, and Midnight Oud by Juliette Has a Gun. This week, Ben Gorham, the brains behind Byredo, adds his own pair of oud-centric blends to the pot. Accord Oud is a heady blend of smoky and sweet with notes of blackberry, saffron, clary sage, patchouli, and powdery musks to round out the composition, while Oud Immortel feels like an ode to the ingredient’s exotic origins with potent notes of incense, cardamom, papyrus, Brazilian rosewood, tobacco leaves, and moss. Is it an aphrodisiac? As far as we’re concerned, totally. From the second we spritzed each onto our skin, it was love at first smell.
Byredo Accord Oud and Oud Immortel, $195 each, www.barneys.com.