Addictive fragrances, sleek glass bottles, and a monochrome aesthetic shot Byredo to cult status years ago. Launched in 2006 by Ben Gorham, the brand has since moved into body products, home fragrance, and fashion, and now its ultra-chic collection of leather bags is fast becoming as iconic as its fragrant counterparts. Developing slowly so as not to compromise quality and detail, Gorham shares some insight into the collection.
1. The collection was based on pieces Gorham created for himself. “I was getting obsessed with leather as a material. I made a travel collection for myself. Really big bags. Virtually too big for anybody to ever carry. But they were super beautiful. A lot of those styles were scaled down to really functional women’s handbags.”
2. The ethos behind the collection is anti-fashion. “I felt that it was an opportunity to do something that was timeless like a fragrance. That we would develop slow and meticulously in terms of quality, and create pieces that people could carry and wear for a very long time. I can make one perfume a year or one every third year. I’ve created a permanent bag collection. I can do a seasonal update. I don’t have to do anything for a year if I want.”
3. Quality is key. “The leather mostly comes from tanneries in France and all of the bags are made in Italy outside of Florence by really talented craftsmen. The first design took 100 iterations. It was a learning curve but also illustrated how important quality is and how much detail goes into these bags.”
4. Gorham’s creative process remains the same after a decade. “I explore an idea or a universe, then it becomes a product. It is more about defining what that idea is. Sometimes it’s a perfume, sometimes it’s a bag collection. My mind is more open. I carry notes wherever I go. Anything I see smell or experience makes it into this chaotic notebook.”
5. There might be release soon for fragrance lovers. “I haven’t translated a fragrance into a bag just yet. I’ve done an amazing prototype for a bag that looks like a perfume bottle and can fit a big perfume bottle in it. It sits in the studio on my desk. I haven’t figured out how it fits in the collection yet.”
The Byredo leather collection is available in Byredo boutiques in New York, London, and Paris.