The project was inspired by synaesthesia, the phenomenon where two or more senses become interlinked, so one involuntarily produces a sensation in another. For example a sound may produce the sensation of a touching a particular texture, or – as in this case – looking at a colour evokes a smell. The result is a collection of limited edition sunglasses and a scent that together work to fuse sight and smell.
To begin, Byredo’s master perfumer took a tour of Oliver Peoples’ home in Los Angeles, wearing glasses with different coloured lenses, each of which enabled him to envision a different smell linked to a shade. He then blended them into a multi-faceted fragrance that’s fresh and clean, yet spicy. Think green juniper berries and Californian lemon, blue orris and patchouli, plus amber musk and warm sand in a sophisticated, unisex combination.
The eau de parfum comes in three bottles – indigo, champagne and green – as do the lenses of the Wayfarer-style sunglasses. However this cool concept goes beyond matching your sunnies to your scent. A spritz of the fragrance while wearing the green lenses or indeed, just looking at the mossy-coloured bottle brings those sharp, citrusy notes to the fore, as does the musky facet when you focus on the champagne shade and so on. It sounds strange but works eerily well.
This kind of quality and craftsmanship may come at a price – the Eau de Parfum swings a £105 tag, while the shades are £315 and a box set of both is £400 – but it’s not everyone who can say that their chic shades can enhance their sense of smell. Maybe synaesthesia isn’t simply a phenomenon but in fact a superpower?