Made for Shopping: Byredo x Off-White’s Fragrance, Elevator Music


When the coolest dude in fragrance-making, Byredo founder Ben Gorham, met Off-White’s Virgil Abloh seven years ago, they knew they would eventually do something together. “I was actually at Barneys having a meeting, and they called me from downstairs— ‘Kanye West is here, and he’d like to meet you,’” said Gorham, whose fragrance counter is on the beauty level. “I was like, ‘Are you kidding? I’m in a meeting!’” He quickly realized it was not a joke. “I went downstairs. Virgil was there with Kanye, and we chatted for a while. They were just cool and bought almost every scent I had there.”

Gorham was at a dinner hosted by Daniella Vitale of Barneys New York in celebration of Elevator Music, the new fragrance collaboration between Gorham and Abloh. There’s no irony in the Muzak-inspired name. Gorham and Abloh simply wanted to define a “notion” with their first scent. This floral, woody, musk-noted unisex eau de parfum refers to various styles of soundscapes meant for passive listening while exploring the relationship of luxury products and human perception. A conceptual fragrance, indeed, but, as Abloh noted in an interview, “Much like literal elevator music, we wanted the scent to play background to one’s life.” And the scent? Rather brilliant. (Sadly, Abloh was not present for the dinner in New York. He had a good excuse, though—he was in Cannes at the AmFAR Gala.)

No matter. The two artists were together during Paris Fashion Week in March, showcasing a preview of their full capsule collection, which consists of the eau de parfum, hand cream, and hair perfume, as well as bags, denim, and clothing, with an art installation by Carsten Höller, a German artist who resides in Stockholm. And the crowd? All too cool for words, both in New York and Paris.

sunhee grinnell