10 Minutes with: Ben Gorham of Byredo at NM NorthPark - Neiman Marcus
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10 Minutes with: Ben Gorham of Byredo at NM NorthPark

Regina Campbell

March 30, 2015

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Since launching his Byredo fragrance collection nine years ago, Ben Gorham, still seems a little surprised his career path led him to the heady world of eau de parfums. Born in Sweden, reared in Canada, and college educated in New York City, the hulking 6-‘5” former European Division 1 basketball player has an unusual flare for creating intriguing, dimensional fragrances—scents so unconventional, they’ll make you want to come a little closer.

Here, the tatted fragrance designer gives us some insight on his passions, his muses, and the memories that form his evocative blends.

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NM: Your favorite tattoo?
BG: I have two: I have one for my 6-year-old daughter, Ines, and I’ve added another with the name of my 6-month-old daughter Anouk.

NM: Can you name a particular memory that you wanted to emulate in scent?
BG: Yes, Green. It was my first fragrance. I wanted to capture the way I remember my father smelling. And Bal d’Afrique, based on my father’s diaries. He lived in Africa in the ’60s. I blended the ideas of African culture with dance of the ’20s. It’s one of the best-selling fragrances.

NM: Any muses, influencers?
BG: My wife. She’s so picky—impossible to please. It’s good, because she raises the bar. I have a lot of friends in fashion and have great respect for what they do—Riccardo Tisci with Givenchy, Kris Van Assche men’s designer for Dior, British designer Jonathan Anderson.

Byredo Personal Appearance with Ben Gorham

NM: Can you name a favorite fragrance from your collection?
BG: They’re a bit like children. I love them all equally.

NM: Many of your fragrances recall places you’ve been. Do you have a favorite city?
BG: Right now, it may be Tokyo. I’m fascinated by the shift in the city; it has this old facet and this young vibe at the same time.

NM: What about a favorite restaurant?
BG: Mathias Dahlgren in Stockholm. Matias, the chef, is an anomaly in Northern Europe—constantly evolving. Anyone traveling to Sweden should try it.

NM: Besides developing fragrances, what are your other passions?
GH: Running. And I’m starting to love skiing—the Alps are just two hours away. And I really like paddle boarding.

NM: So what’s the next place, or memory you want to capture in a bottle?
BG: I was at an event in Houston and had this train of thought—to capture experience smells that maybe no one had ever smelled before. I though it might be interesting to interview an astronaut, to play around with the idea of space travel. Then later, I pulled out a card from my pocket that read, “Call me, I’m the astronaut’s wife.” So maybe that means something.

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