After launching back in 2006, Byredo has made itself a cult fave in the world of fragrance, but never limited itself to just that box, also creating bags, accessories, and collaborating with the likes of Off-White and Selfridges.
So, when founder and creative director Ben Gorham announced that the brand would be launching a new make-up line in collaboration with make-up artist and Dazed Beauty founder Isamaya Ffrench, the only thing to expect was the unexpected.
“When I founded Byredo I never had the thought of limitations. It was all about smell, memories, and emotions. I had the feeling that make-up and cosmetics could be a strong visual manifestation of beauty at Byredo, but it was probably one of the only categories that I’d never use myself, so I found it quite difficult to relate to in an emotional way,” Gorham tells us. “I started to see the work of Isamaya Ffrench and I was really drawn to it, primarily because we shared this outsider perspective. Her creations were very much about pure expression, not referring to what I saw as the norms or framework of an industry.” So, after two years of conversations “up mountains, in taxis, at parties”, Byredo Makeup came together, launching in October this year.
“Byredo is pure creativity. It isn't a brand trying to sell you a dream of perfect skin or give you unrealistic ideals of beauty” – Isamaya Ffrench
“Byredo is pure creativity,” explains Ffrench on the brand’s ethos. “It isn't a brand trying to sell you a dream of perfect skin or give you unrealistic ideals of beauty.” Much like Byredo’s fragrance offerings, the Makeup range’s products are experimental and meant to be used as you wish. “Sometimes it’s giving somebody something that they don't know they're going to like yet and I think that it's a very large distinction in how we approached this compared to other brands,” Gorham says.
The perfect example of this being the Colour Stick, a lightweight cream stick that packs a punch, with a kaleidoscope of colours to choose from and meant to be used on eyes, lips, wherever you see fit. “We make colour because we love colour, genuinely. I wanted to find a new way to express actual wearable colour,” Ffrench continues. “Colour that looks beautiful on skin, not that it just looks pretty in a palette. Subtle colour, unusual hues, textures, and quality.”
The packaging too is sleek and sexy, with the recently launched trio of 5 Colour eyeshadow compacts looking like beautiful golden shells and the curved mascara perhaps being something you’d hide in your bedside table. “It’s about the way the product feels in your hand as you apply too, that’s all part of the process,” Gorham says. “It’s about enjoyment mostly,” Ffrench adds. “And perhaps a new relationship with make-up.”
What can you expect next from Byredo Makeup? More of the unexpected the pair promise. “We have all of the product developments in place, but we want to keep creating new feelings and ideas,’ Gorham muses. “To keep on pushing and surprising and setting new ideas for what beauty is by not following the normal path.”
Hair Shiori Takahashi at Streeters using Kevin Murphy, photographic assistant Arthur Comely, models Coumba Samba at Anti-Agency, Tim Prause at Another Species, Anna Haestrup at IMG UK, Ajok Daing at MiLK Curve, Chen Xue at Storm, Jorja Davis at Premier, Charlie Osborne, Joe Brooks, styling assistants Nelly Carle, Andra-Amelia Buhai, Hanna Samson, digital operator Laura Heckford, production Pru Ainslie at Object & Animal, production assistant Georgia Lawson, casting Noah Shelley at Streeters