His partner in crime Virgil Abloh may have been busy in Paris, but Byredo founder Ben Gorham capped off a week of U.S. appearances in Los Angeles, where he continued to celebrate Elevator Music, the capsule collection designed in collaboration with Off-White, at Barneys New York Beverly Hills. Commissioned by Abloh and Gorham, the multipronged project premiered in Paris in March with an immersive art piece by Carsten Höller, the artist responsible for the 2004 installation “The Elevator” that is a favorite of Gorham’s. It has since been to Selfridges in London, Barneys in New York and will next travel to South Korea.
The product produced in tandem with the art is available exclusively at Barneys and Byredo stores, and includes an eau de parfum, hair perfume and hand cream, as well as several styles of canvas and leather bags, and unisex ready-to-wear pieces.
The West Coast public appearance and private Freds dinner was attended by Barneys creative director Matthew Mazzucca, Tomm Miller, Shay Mitchell, Jen Atkin, Greg Chait, Paige Elkington, Maye Musk, Myles O’Neal, Stephanie Shepherd, Brandon Thomas Lee, Nolan Funk, Chase McQueen, Juliette Labelle, Mirtha Michelle, Jamie Sanchez, Snoh Aalegra, Matt George, Tavia Bonetti, Laura Polko, Joanie Del Santo, Moise Emquies, Ali Pew and Rachel Marlowe.
For Byredo, which is coming up on its 12th anniversary, Gorham said, “We’ve been pretty active in Asia lately. We’ve grown a lot, quickly, in the last five to six years. Building teams with the right people has been a big priority.”
Yet his approach is still deliberate, not rushed. “Our business, even though I say fast, is slow in relation to what people are doing today. It’s about being meticulous focusing on quality,” he said.
Leather goods, which launched three years ago, have been “a big project and a work in progress” that involve many trips from his native Sweden to Italy, to work with craftsman “getting product to a certain level.”
Of his nine-year friendship with Abloh, which began before the launch of Off-White, Gorham said, “I think the maturity of both businesses and the fact that we have logistics and teams that can handle these ideas, made the timing pretty good, then it turned out with Virgil’s new gig, the timing was perfect. This basically came out two weeks before he went to LV.” Despite Abloh’s new role heading men’s wear at Louis Vuitton, Gorham said, “He’s still with it, on the text messages he sees what we do. His success is very much about his humility and his connection to people, so I’m glad to see him maintain that.”
As Abloh previously explained in WWD of their project, “What we tried to do is capture a scent that was sort of elevator music for your life, for you. Elevator music is, in my mind, a metaphor for the space for Ben and I to describe our freedom. Both of our projects, by the nature of how we started them, give us freedom to do and define a space.”