Virgil Abloh and his fashion label OFF-WHITE seem to make the news every couple of days and following his recent appointment as Menswear Designer at Louis Vuitton, it doesn’t look like the hype is going to die down anytime soon. First announced earlier this year, OFF-WHITE and Abloh’s latest collaboration is with cult fragrance brand and modern luxury house, Byredo, and its founder Ben Gorham.
Aptly titled “Elevator Music,” the collection explores the relationship between products and human perception, examining the amount of information required to understand a product’s purpose and value. “Elevator Music” refers to sounds created for passive listening—like the music played in an elevator—and compares this auditory experience to minimalist products and the subconscious effect that have on consumers.
The “Elevator Music” collection features an eau de parfum, hair perfume, and hand cream alongside four graphic t-shirts, jeans, and a denim jacket. Five bags are also included in the collection featuring coveted OFF-WHITE branding and cable tie labels synonymous with Abloh and Nike’s “The Ten” collection.
The collaborative effort was officially revealed last month at Galerie Italienne in Paris where Abloh and Gorham commissioned an art installation by friend and artist Carsten Höller highlighting the collection. The capsule presentation and installation, titled “The Elevator,” harked back to some of Höller’s previous work inspired by “elevator syndrome” — the notion that upon entering an elevator and selecting a floor, a person distracts themselves with their phone, avoids eye contact, and ignores any other individuals in the elevator. The installation was soundtracked by artist and musician Steve Angello whose audio interpretation of the concept explored further the idea that less is more.
Abloh and Gorham’s relationship dates back further than some might realise and long before Abloh became the name that he is today. “Ben Gorham is one of my longest friends in the fashion industry. We share a common interest in progression,” explains Abloh. “The concept of our collaboration ‘Elevator Music’ was to define emotion with the least amount of effects. Much like literal elevator music we wanted the scent to play a background to one’s life.”
Byredo launched in 2006—about a year after Abloh launched a blog called THE BRILLIANCE—as a fragrance brand but has since developed skincare products, accessories, and leather goods. “I have known Virgil even before the inception of OFF-WHITE so it’s great to be able to finally realize a project together within our respective brands,” says Ben Gorham, founder and creative director of BYREDO. “We have always shared a common understanding that relevance is everything and that the rules of our industry need to be somehow rewritten.”
The collection is available at byredo.com and select retailers including Selfridges London, April 23 to 30; Galeries Lafayette Paris, May 7 to 20; Barneys New York, Madison, May 17 to 31; and Boon the Shop, Seoul, June 4 to 17.