Shakespeare posed a very important and loaded question in Romeo and Juliet: “What’s in name?” For Byredo founder Ben Gorham, however, the answer is simple: Not a whole lot—at least when it comes to his latest launch, an unnamed perfume that commemorates a decade in the beauty business. “We built the whole nature of this company on this idea that smell is completely subjective—there is no right and wrong,” explained Gorham. “There’s no reason why a basketball player should be any less qualified than a fashion designer.” Gorham has partnered with NBA stars (Russell Westbrook), designers (Oliver Peoples), and photographers (Inez and Vinoodh) over the past ten years, but now he’s handing complete control over to consumers—and just in time for the first day of Stockholm Fashion Week, the birthplace of Byredo.
“We’ve always created a narrative and a touch point to get people into smelling [the fragrances] and piquing their curiosity, but for this project we looked back and felt like all these people in all these countries had very clear ideas of associations and smells,” said Gorham. “Maybe this launch and this celebration of ten years would cater to the imaginations of all these people.”
Like freshly sharpened No. 2 pencils that signal the return of fall and the start of a new semester, the pristine white label on the signature Byredo bottle is a clean slate, a chance to hit refresh as you turn over your wardrobe. This cocktail of icy gin, spicy pink peppercorn, violet, and woody balsam fir notes by perfumer Jérôme Epinette isn’t designed to fall into a particular fragrance family (like the ever-popular fruity floral genre) or ascribe to either gender, but is intentionally “nondescript,” said Gorham, allowing shoppers to write their own narrative both literally and figuratively. The flacon comes with a set of letters and numbers than can be transferred onto the label. (Here at FU, we dubbed our bottle of unnamed perfume “Unfiltered.” Natch.)