Joy Division

Ben Gorham

The brains (and nose) behind Byredo, Ben Gorham reveals the dark art of standing out in the world of scent

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Perfumes are often inspired by happy memories. But Ben Gorham, founder of Byredo, is willing to mine the shadows in the quest for fragrance inspiration. In his own words...

On his perfume 1996, inspired by a photograph by Inez and Vinoodh:“The image featured an angelic child. She was white, had red lips and her eyes were rolled back in some euphoric state. But the more you look at the picture, the more disturbing it becomes.” - as told to the South China Morning Post
Shop 1996

On Seven Veils:“There’s this biblical reference I remembered from Catholic school, ‘Salome’s dance of the seven veils’, that I thought was a very extreme tale of seduction. She dances and she takes off these seven veils and she is granted this man’s head on a plate. So it’s like sex and seduction and death. It’s a spicy vanilla; it even has carrot in the top note.” – as told to Into the Gloss
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On using divisive materials:“The animal notes and the animal character, they have this facet of beauty and ugliness at the same time, so that’s quite interesting, because it’s disturbing in a way, but in combination with other raw materials it becomes very beautiful. It’s kind of like the synthetic notes for milk – by itself it’s quite disgusting, but add it in with notes of perfume, and humans associate it with comfort.” – as told to Into the Gloss

On his love of Francis Bacon:“There is something about the darkness in his work, the relationship with life and death – his paintings contain a lot of the feelings I started experiencing when I became an adult.” – as told to How to Spend It, Financial Times

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