Ben Gorham’s fragrances have always had a unique beginning: memories. Created for Byredo as early as 2006 his first fragrance, Gorham’s emotional intuition, storyteller’s approach to fragrance – think everything from antique leather books to wartime nurses One scent – which quickly became his mission card, led Byredo to grow from a cult brand to a true disruptor in the beauty world.
In the case of Bal d’Afrique, Gorham is at 2009. Inspired by his father’s travel journals through Mozambique, Tanzania and Kenya, the scent isn’t so much is less a literal interpretation of the sensory experience of visiting these countries than a broader evocation of how the memory of a place is refracted through generations – although its notes that buchu and African marigolds do, however Subtle, all in homage to the lush flora of the African continent.
All of this led Gorham to invite artist Dozie Kanu to produce one of the brand’s most ambitious projects to date: a large-scale, site-specific installation during events around the Salone del Mobile in Milan . “We’ve known each other through friends for a while, and I believe Dozie is one of the most talented designers of his generation,” says Gorham. “I wanted to push him in a way where he wasn’t there yet.” Using the fragrance as a starting point, Gorham gave Kanu carte blanche to interpret it in any way he chose. By coincidence or fate, Kanu eventually embraces Gorham’s ode to retrace a person’s family lineage in his own unique way—whether backward through generations or outward across the diaspora.
Story continues Thursday night , when the installation served as the backdrop for an event hosted by the duo, was filled with warmth and joy — aptly embodying the spirit and philosophy of Kanu’s work and Byredo more broadly — for a family reunion. Guests including Francesco Risso, Shayne Oliver, Ncuti Gatwa, Edward Buchanan, Jessica Joffe, Tamu McPherson and Medea’s Camilla and Giulia Venturini admired the soft lighting before sitting down to a meal prepared by Congolese chef Dieuveil Malonga Illuminated installation Pioneer of African fusion cuisine, whose globe-trotting culinary ethos is channeled into dishes, from fruit pulp roasted with Swahili spices to Ghanaian shito fried plantains that, in the words of Malonga, “like grandma do that”. “Everything about the night was about celebrating memories and sharing that tradition with a wider audience,” Kanu added.
Afterwards, the eclectic staff head to the Love Bar, which is A nightlife spot near Porta Venezia that offers spirits, gin and tonics, and more adventurous guests head to the underground dance party. Banging house music invites anyone who cares (and there are a lot of them at this time of the week) to Late night party.
However, for Gorham, the night was not one of his The punctuation of the end of Kanu’s collaboration is, instead, he hopes, the beginning of something bigger. “We need to talk about this together and see what the next steps are,” Gorham said. “But it’s definitely a work that I feel can be seen and explored on a broader level.”