When Virgil Abloh passed away in November 2021, Off-White was left suspended in time, a host of creative plans unfulfilled. Now, armed with a priceless archive of Whatsapp discussions, the visionary designer’s closest creative partners are bringing his disruptive blueprints to fruition – including his plans to drop Off-White into the beauty and grooming space.
Paperwork, which launches as part of Farfetch’s new beauty and grooming venture, is an un-gendered offering spanning off-beat fragrances and decidedly un-essential colour cosmetics. It’s not the first fashion-to-beauty manoeuvre we’ve seen in recent months – Off-White joins the likes of Dries Van Noten, Valentino and Gucci in the crowded arena – but, unsurprisingly, it feels strikingly different to anything else in the market, shunning predictable beautifying in favour of standard-shaking self-expression.
The venture begins with Olfactive ID: a four-strong family of fragrances (or ‘Solutions’, if you’re fully subscribed to the Off-White way of thinking), each one designed by Abloh in collaboration with renowned noses Alexis Dadier, Jerome Epinette – the man behind many a Byredo blockbuster – and Sidonie Lancesseur. With bottles made from Bormioli glass and topped with a grip knob, there’s more than a hint of the designer’s engineering background present.
No.1 is billed as the ‘fresh, sporty’ scent, with sweetened woods lingering over a ‘sand’ accord, inspired by the “infinite textures and aromas of the Earth’s sands,” according to the brand. No.2 is a hyper-realistic take on citrus, with electric tangerine zest beaming from a green vetiver base. A take on florals, No.3 combines pink peppercorn with Grasse rose over a cosy cashmere-blanket of ambrette, while No.4 is a heady, herbal blend of eucalyptus and smoky palo santo.
The fragrance offering will soon be joined by pigment crayons and nail polishes – a “universal toolkit for self-expression”, according to the brand – which debuted on the brand’s High Fashion runway back in February.
The Imprint crayons, designed to be used in conjunction with the Template stencils, are set to become the ultimate fanboy fodder, delivering a fresh way to embrace Abloh’s wry approach to branding.
Tag your face with a lurid-green Abloh-ism, then embrace the booming trend for men’s nail varnish with Color Matter, which combines deep mattes and chaotic glitters with a selection of top coats and adhesive slogans designed to disrupt your paint job.
While fashion houses continue to rabidly court the beauty and grooming category, Off-White’s effort is unusual in its authenticity. Any brand can shoe-horn a lip balm into its offering, but face tattoos and neon nails feel like a natural, joyful extension of the inclusive, idiosyncratic movement Abloh built with Off-White.
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