Since 2006 Boris Bidjan Saberi pushes the boundaries of clothing design. As part of a very specific way of loooking at reality, Boris’ creative universe doesn’t just stop to fashion design but also relates to a certain lifestyle, cultural beliefs and aesthetics. Inspired by the same values and approach the Moscow-based concept store Project 3,14 hosted an event to celebrate the debut of the first Boris Bidjan Saberi fragrance and its long lasting relationship with the designer. We sat down with Boris Bidjan Saberi to talk about the launch and development of the perfume.
How did the idea of an event in Moscow come about? What’s the connection between Project 3,14 and Boris Bidjan Saberi?
I have been knowing Sasha from Project for a very long time. First of all I got to know him as a business partner, as we have been working together since 2008. I try to keep my private life and personal relationships separated as mush as possible from my work. I am extremely dedicated and I really love what I do so if I don’t make any difference I think I’d go crazy as I’ll end up working nonstop. Not long ago Sasha payed us a visit to our studio in Barcelona to explain in person some changes the store was undergoing to. I really appreciated this and his sincere approach, so our relationship became more personal. I am not really keen on events, but for over an year Sasha and I have been discussing about doing something together and the launch of Boris Bidjan Saberi’s fragrance at Project seemed a great idea. Everything developed quite naturally, nurtured by a mutual respect and appreciation of each other’s vision.
Your approach and way of working are different from other designers. What do you think about the so-called “avant-garde” fashion?
I don’t call myself an avant garde designer, I simply don’t conform with the status quo because there are two many things that are sick and wrong in our society and through my creative job I sort of fight against them. Clothing has to make sense with what you are and what you do. I think all the creatives around the world should take a position and reject what doesn’t represent them by working and acting in alternative ways.
How did you approach perfumery? Could you tell us about the fragrance’s development and your relationship with Geza Schoen?
It was a long process. I always worn Molecule 01 by Geza Schoen’s Escentric Molecules. I liked it because it was essential, as it’s just a single molecule called Iso E Super that combines with your own smell, alchol and water. Fragrances react differently from individual to individual and my friends and dears recognize my smell not just as Molecule 01 but my own perfume, defined by my daily activities such as working a lot with leather, waxes and oils and so on. I got very curious about that and I started to question my friends and my team on what actually smelled like myself ! Once I found out, I thought it would have been great to create a fragrance by using Iso E Super as a base and all the other scents that compose my smell, which comes out from all the things I do, from my sweat to the products I use for washing and treating the leathers and so it defines also Boris Bodjan Saberi as a brand. I did not know personally Geza before and I did the most simple and natural thing someone can do in our digitalized society : I wrote him an email to his general contact address explaining him who I was and my idea of working with him, without having too much hope in a reply. His answer came straight away, and I found out we mutually appreaciate each other’s work, we connected immediately and the collaboration was born. We worked on it for two years, it wasn’t easy at all, but finally we reached the perfect balance. The fragrance is composed by 11 ingredients, the Molecule 01 as a base +10 other smells that somehow capture my superficial essence , and it is exactly how I wanted it. Now I am completely addicted to it.
More than a clothing brand, Boris Bidjan Saberi represents a lifestyle, which evolves through time extending to different creative fields, involving new aspects of daily life, hence the fragrance. Have you ever thought about furniture and design to complete your brand’s universe?
Boris Bidjan Saberi conveys a certain ideal of lifestyle because it’s a projection of the cultural and social values in which me and my team belive in. We actually already do furniture since very long time but just for our showroom and company spaces, it has been over 8 years now, but we don’t sell it.
With two lines, two flagships, one in New York and one in Barcelona, a portfolio including the best avant-garde retailers worldwide and cutting edge collaborations, Boris Bidjan Saberi is no longer a small artisanal label, yet the one of your signature’s elements is the meticulous attention to craftsmanship. How do you manage to grow and develop a successful business without jeopardizing the brand’s artisanal core?
We had to think of a proper structure and build a system. For example I have my own producers, that keeps my quality standards high as they are, always trying to do better and better. I can’t compromise. If you look at my clothing there are so many details that are there not because a producer told me it was good to do this or that in that way, but because we thought it was the best way of doing it. When I started I had no producers in Spain, because Inditex destroyed all the artisanal businesses in the textile field, so I pretty much had to put together a production team that today works only for me. I also had to train them because any sort of craftsmanship knowledge was lost, which explains why many small things became characteristic and unique to Boris Bidjan Saberi. I am talking about small stuff, which is time consuming and expensive to make on a big scale, but it also defines the brand’s identity so I can’t just give it up. Sometimes it’s hard because as a creative I have ideas and it’s complex to realize them when your producers don’t have the same tailoring heritage of Italian or Japanese craftmen. I have to think about the techniques myself, but at the same time that’s challenging and leaves more room for experimentation. The company was build up on a solid organization from the beginning because I couldn’t rely on any previous structures, I guess my German roots helped. That said our business will never be huge, we can’t and we won’t do that. We love what we do and we want to keep on doing it, growing in an organic and healthy way.