Straight from the Asian Tales of Kilian Hennessey’s exotic imagination…
By Alexandra Donaldson
The late musical legend Jimi Hendrix reportedly described chords and notes of music as colours. Edgar Degas, Edvard Munch, Tilda Swinton, Stevie Wonder: Each one of these artists, past and present, are synthetes. They have or had synesthesia, a neurological condition that causes certain stimuli to trigger multiple senses. For example, many synthetes perceive letters and numbers as having inherent colours. Letters and colours—two distinct sensory experiences—linked together with very little rhyme or reason. Allegedly, Hendrix called the chord E7#9—often referred to by guitarists as the Hendrix chord—as “the purple chord”.
The condition has now inspired an unexpected collaboration between Stockholm-based fragrance house Byredo and Los Angeles-based eyeglasses and sunglasses maker Oliver Peoples.
It started with an experiment. Byredo’s master perfumer went out to experience LA through three differently coloured sunglass lenses and then translated those visions into perfume smells, which were then used to develop top, middle and base notes for an original fragrance.
The resulting spritz boasts top notes of juniper berries and Californian lemon; surprisingly they’re more of-the-earth than overtly fruity or citrusy. The scent’s orris butter is slightly powdery and the patchouli, musk and warm sand accord lend warmth in the scent’s dry-down. As a base note, helichrysum (a plant in the sunflower family) is lightly sweet, but also reminiscent of a farm—sans the livestock stench. The result is a complex, but exciting scent that morphs as it diffuses, smelling like sunrise in a cornfield one minute, and a cup of honey-ed tea the next.
For the limited-edition collaboration, Oliver Peoples has created unisex, acetate sunglasses in either semi matte black or beige crystal frames with three different photochromic lenses. Colours include indigo, champagne beige and olive green. The Byredo fragrance bottle is merchandised in a trio of colours to match the customer’s chosen lens. The shades and scent are sold separately, but can also be purchased in a set that includes a bespoke case and pouch.
Next Post: World Whisky Day-Inspired Scents
Previous Post: Denim and fragrance with Fidelity Denim’s Jason Trotzuk