When Inez van Lamsweerde told us in her Top Shelf about her then-forthcoming scent collaboration with Byredo’s Ben Gorham—one that would evoke her hallmark photograph, ‘Kirsten 1996’, and represent herself and her partner in life/crime Vinoodh Matadin as one—we did our best to keep our cool, making a mental note to BUY IMMEDIATELY. And then, another mental note to not let our faces drop when she concluded by saying, “It won’t be for sale—it’s a project for our friends…”
Luckily for us, their friends really liked it. So much so that they told their friends about it, who then told their friends about it, and the photographer duo and perfumer were so bombarded by requests that they found it in their hearts to make this woodsy myth of a scent available to the everyone.
Over the weekend, Barneys New York released 1996, a deep-amber-colored concoction that smells like juniper berries (i.e., what gin's made from), amber, vanilla, patchouli, and worn-in leather. It's like taking a deep, intoxicating inhale of an immaculately designed, wood-paneled home, set with fresh flowers (in 1996’s case, violets), while a clutch of international artists, in all their free-loving, Birkenstock-wearing glory, swirl about. (So, like a dinner party at Inez & Vinoodh's?)
Photos by Mathea Millman.