Inspired by founder and creative director Ben Gorham’s childhood, Mumbai Noise is a tribute to the sensorial multitudes and multifaceted modernity of Mumbai. To put it in simple words, it is a recollection of Gorham’s time spent in Chembur. Born in Stockholm and raised in New York and Toronto, Gorham visited this Mumbai suburb as a child, and revisited the city 15 years later to find that things had changed, yet many things felt familiar to him.
“From a young age, almost as soon as I was born, I would travel to India to spend time with my grandmother in Chembur, Mumbai. I have very vivid childhood memories of my experiences there, and after she passed, it wasn’t until I was in my 20s that I returned. When I did, it looked extremely different, but still felt familiar. With Mumbai Noise, I wanted to express that idea: to present an exploration of the city today, anchored in my memories of its past.” With Mumbai Noise, Gorham reflects childhood nostalgia for the city alongside the multifaceted milieu of its contemporary reality.
The fragrance has top notes of Devona, followed by Tonka Beans and Coffee in the middle, and concluding with the base notes of Labdanum, Sandalwood, and Agarwood. The mesmerising abundance of Chembur’s streets, the smoky haze of incense and burning woods, interspersed with street-side coffee carts and cacophonous soundscapes is refracted through a contemporary prism, paying tribute both to the city’s cultural heritage and the evolution of its energy. This city of contrasts is reflected through a scent crowded with its own vivid contradictions: rich, warm woods and amber blended with brightness; plummy Devona positioned alongside leather; bitter coffee stirred with sweet tonka beans. To mark the debut of the fragrance, Gorham collaborated with Indian creative Ashish Shah. Through Mumbai Noise, and Shah’s images, two perspectives meet. Shah, who grew up in Dehradun, travelled across Mumbai casting creatives who are championing change and shining a new light on the city.
From dancers and drag performers to activists, artists, and architects-turned-models, the collaboration illustrates the dynamism of Mumbai today. From its subcultural tribes to its youth movements, the dreams and realities of a new generation are captured in this campaign to bring out the essence of the younger Indian generation.
“I wanted to photograph this campaign as a glimpse into the hearts and essence of young India. I am interested in the lives we are living, the conversations they are having, their dreams and their realities,” Shah explains. “Taking in from my exchange of thoughts with Ben, his stories and memories of Mumbai, his home in Chembur, and of his grandmother, I wanted to link together fragments of the past and of Contemporary India to showcase how the present ‘us’ has grown from our past itself.” Byredo’s Mumbai Noise is available to shop on the brand’s online store.