His Dark Materials

Designer Boris Bidjan Saberi is intimately involved with his primary materials, moulding leather jackets on his body and using his own formula to tan the hides. When it came to creating a fragrance, he wanted that intimacy, bottled. And as a Molecule 01 wearer, he wanted Geza Schoen to make it happen.

His Dark Materials

– I wanted a fragrance that smelt like me when I come home from work. All day long I work with leather. The smell of the leather clings to me and fuses with my own smell which is a mix of my body and Molecule 01. I love the idea of selling the smell of me.

– I was a Molecule 01 wearer from the beginning. I came across it in a store in Barcelona that was stocking my first accessories. I used to pass by the store to see how my things were doing and one time I saw this weird bottle sitting on a table.

I love the idea of selling the smell of me...

– The idea that one molecule was enough made sense to me right away. It shows a respect for the materials of perfumery. I work in the same way. I feel intensely connected to my primary materials, the cloth and animal skins I work with.

– I feel about my primary materials the way a good cook feels about ingredients. They have to be amazing. When it comes to leather, I like to work with horse, kangaroo and cow, and choose only skins from animals that have been used for food. I don’t use chrome or the other chemicals used to tan almost all leather these days. I work with a vegetable tanning formula I came up with myself.

With vegetable tanning you can still smell an echo of the animal behind the leather.

– I mould leather jackets on my body, shaping them like sculptures. First we dye them and dry them out - they go hard and scrunched-up like chewing gum. At this point they smells like something between rust and vinegar due to the acids in the dye. Next we spray the stiff 2-D jackets with oils and waxes to make them supple again. These oils smell very good, like vanilla. If you tan vegetally, you can also still detect an echo of the original animal behind. Altogether this mix creates an amazing aroma.

– I knew I had to make my fragrance with Geza since I was always recognised by my scent – which is basically me, Molecule 01 and leather. I found an address on the Escentric Molecules website and sent an email: ‘Hello, it’s Boris. Maybe you don't know me. I make clothing and would love to talk to you.’ Half an hour later Geza replied; ‘Hey, of course I know you. I have a belt made by you.’

– I sent Geza my leathers packed in a vacuum crystal so he could smell them exactly. I asked him ‘what do you smell from these?’ – He said he smelt fish fat and horse sweat. I said: ‘But I really love that!’ What defines the smell of leather to most people does not define my leather at all.

He said he smelt fish fat and horse sweat. I said: ‘But I really love that!”

– In the beginning we had over 20 ingredients, but a fragrance of mine has to have only 11. The number eleven is a symbolic number for me. Its my birthday. 60% of BBS is Molecule 01. But then we had to figure out how to recreate the scent profile of the leather with all the natural waxes and oils I use - reduced to 11 ingredients.

– Then one day Geza sent me a trial and it was amazing. I couldn’t believe it, I was so happy with it. Well, almost. I asked him if the percentage of perfume oils in the alcohol could be exactly 22% - it had to be a multiple of 11. He agreed. Once that was done, the perfume was perfect. I was at peace.

I asked him if the percentage of perfume oils could be exactly 22% - it had to be a multiple of 11

– I hate packaging because you just throw it away. So we put the perfume in a small version of the recycled cotton bags we sell our garments in. The bottle is based on a hip flask, and made here in Spain. There’s no cap. That’s something I took from the minimalist aesthetic of Escentric Molecules, an aesthetic which I share.

– My work is a stupid passion, but I’m super-happy doing it this way. Geza and I are on the same page in how we see the future and our work. We stand for what is avant-garde - coming from the core. I fight against the fashion machine, mass consumerism and its focus on profit and fake marketing. I want to change the world.

Find out more about Boris at www.borisbidjansaberi.com