Ben Gorham of Byredo on creativity and inspiration

The founder talks to Julia Wray about his creative process and the popularity of niche perfumery

Stockholm based fragrance house Byredo is the brainchild of fine arts graduate Ben Gorham, who works with perfumers Olivia Giacobetti and Jerome Epinette to bring his ideas to life. Byredo’s latest composition Flowerhead draws inspiration from Gorham’s cultural heritage and is inspired by his own imagined Indian wedding ceremony.

What is your creative process?

A lot of the work I’ve done in the past has started off with specific references – personal memories and things associated with my background and upbringing – and as I became more experienced in the craft of making a perfume the dialogue with the perfumer evolved into a common language. I was able to venture outside of these specific references and to develop a fiction.

What is the story behind Flowerhead?

A few years ago I developed a lot of interest in my heritage, which is part Indian – my mother is from India – and this project was sparked six years ago when I gave away my cousin at her Indian wedding, which was my first traditional Indian wedding. This fragrance was about capturing the idea of an Indian bride, rather than just the wedding and I called it Flowerhead, because it was really the fictional memory that I can imagine from my own Indian wedding. The idea of marrying someone you don’t know was very interesting. There’s anxiety and excitement, and I described this person as a ‘flowerhead’, because the bride is completely covered in floral hair arrangements.

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