Photo courtesy Eli Russell Linnetz.
California solar, ’50s ephemera, and Beach Blanket Bingo: these sources of summery nostalgia have discovered their means into ERL Sunscreen, the latest perfume from Comme des Garçons. The scent, created in collaboration with the Venice Beach-based label ERL, is the product of years of painstaking craftsmanship that completely encapsulates summer time’s timeless washed out glow: a heatwave damaged by a cool sea breeze and a touch of chlorine in the air. ERL is the brainchild of Eli Russell Linnetz, the multi-hyphenate thoughts behind the immersive set design on Lady Gaga’s iconic Enigma tour, the stage manufacturing on Kanye West’s Life of Pablo tour, and numerous different feats. In 2018, Linnetz set his sights on trend design—his earliest collections, designed in collaboration with the artist Jordan Wolfson and Nike, bought out in the blink of an eye fixed. It wasn’t lengthy earlier than the psychedelic renegade outlook embodied in ERL’s designs caught the eye of the Comme des Garçons staff, who tapped the designer two years in the past to start work on ERL Sunscreen.
A number of days in the past, Linnetz caught up with our Creative Director Mel Ottenberg whereas barefoot in his Venice studio to debate the feeling of being an outsider crafting a season-defining perfume an iconic model, the sharks off of Rhode Island, and the magic of “a very good chemical scent.”
MEL OTTENBERG: Eli?
ELI RUSSELL LINNETZ: How are you?
OTTENBERG: I’m good. Are you in Venice Beach?
LINNETZ: Is this the interview, or are we simply speaking first?
OTTENBERG: No. This is being recorded, babe.
LINNETZ: So I can’t let you know issues now earlier than the interview?
OTTENBERG: No. It’s already began.
LINNETZ: Oh, god.
OTTENBERG: Did you wish to inform me issues that you just didn’t need different individuals to know?
OTTENBERG: Please don’t neglect them, and name me after this. We’re going to do that actually quick so we are able to get to the soiled stuff that we don’t need different individuals listening to. Okay. Hey, Eli. Are you in Venice? What are you proper now? Is it bizarre, or is it nice?
LINNETZ: Oh, god. I’m barefoot in my studio in Venice.
OTTENBERG: Oh. Cute, cute, cute. We’re speaking as we speak since you made a perfume with Comme des Garçons.
LINNETZ: It’s insane.
OTTENBERG: It is insane. I believe you informed me a yr in the past, however I forgot.
LINNETZ: Yeah. It’s been two years.
OTTENBERG: I’m holding it in my hand. The bottle’s unimaginable. I’m obsessive about the packaging. What is that this styrofoam packaging that the bottle is available in? Is this bouy materials from the 60’s, or one thing?
OTTENBERG: Did you see that there have been sharks in the water in Rhode Island as we speak, they usually needed to get the surfers and swimmers out for security?
LINNETZ: I like that.
OTTENBERG: It’s sizzling. I don’t suppose anybody received eaten up.
LINNETZ: Thank god.
OTTENBERG: What is the perfume known as?
LINNETZ: It’s known as Sunscreen.
OTTENBERG: Oh my god. I like the scent of sunscreen. Does this scent like sunscreen to you?
LINNETZ: It’s sunscreen adjoining.
OTTENBERG: What are the notes of this perfume, Eli?
LINNETZ: Solar accord, coconut, peach, lily of the valley.
OTTENBERG: I had a Grindr commerce over the different day, and we had been smelling Sunscreen and attempting to guess the notes. We did guess the coconut. I used to be educating him on the historical past of Comme des Garçons fragrances.
LINNETZ: Everything appeared to occur so organically. It’s humorous as a result of I began creating the perfume earlier than my clothes line.
OTTENBERG: Oh, wow.
LINNETZ: I actually simply needed to get it proper, so it’s taken ages, however I believe it’s value it. Everything’s been so natural, I take it with no consideration. But final evening I used to be watching Sunscreen on the web site subsequent to all the different Comme des Garçons fragrances.
OTTENBERG: Oh, wow.
LINNETZ: The complete set.
OTTENBERG: Yeah, it’s actually intense. There’s a extremely good chemical scent to this. Very Comme.
LINNETZ: That’s the chlorine.
OTTENBERG: Oh. Hot. Chlorine’s sizzling. Yeah. That sounds unhealthy in case you don’t find out about Comme des Garçons fragrances, however anyhow, I used to be telling my Grindr date about the gasoline notes in Odeur 53, and the way Odeur 53 to me is the scent of the late nineties.
LINNETZ: Yeah. The scent is meant to scent like a distant summer time, the reminiscence of a summer time’s day at the seashore. We based mostly it on the scent of warmth, rising from the sand, sweat on the physique, chlorine at a public pool.
OTTENBERG: Cool. Nature.
LINNETZ: Yeah. Everything all of sudden.
OTTENBERG: Oh. Wow. Do you have got a muse? Do you have got somebody in thoughts? Are you pondering of somebody once you suppose of Sunscreen?
LINNETZ: I believe of you.
OTTENBERG: Oh my god. I’m so flattered. I must put on SPF 50 as a result of I’m white as a sheet, however I don’t. Thank you, Eli. Anyway, what’s Venice Beach like nowadays? We went to the boardwalk final summer time, and the whole lot seemed like some insane Hannah Montana x Mad Max remix with a $20 wardrobe finances.
LINNETZ: Venice is out of management.
OTTENBERG: Crazier than final summer time?
LINNETZ: Oh. Yesterday morning at 8:00 AM, some lady was slashed by her husband on the seashore.
OTTENBERG: Oh my god. How horrible.
LINNETZ: When I went out to get espresso this morning, some lady was fingering herself outdoors my place. I’m simply so awed.
OTTENBERG: I can’t wait to come back again and take a stroll with you.
LINNETZ: Bring that slasher spray.
OTTENBERG: Is the Britney Spears x Mad Max vibe nonetheless going robust at the seashore? TikTok masks, hallucinogenic freak-out vibes? Are you feeling impressed by it?
LINNETZ: Yeah. Bohemian hallucination. I truly didn’t give it some thought, however possibly that’s why the new season is far grungier.
OTTENBERG: The Venice fashions are actually excessive. All the wealthy persons are gone. Abbot Kinney is a ghost city. There are actually new vibes.
LINNETZ: It’s unimaginable now. It’s humorous, I used to be going to say, “I prefer to create in a bubble.” Literally, the perfume is available in a bubble.
OTTENBERG: It does.
LINNETZ: I used to be speaking to somebody as we speak, they usually mentioned they held it, they usually’re like, “This is so 50’s.”
OTTENBERG: This is so 50’s. I’m going to maintain this eternally as a result of I’m in love with it. It simply seems to be like Beach Blanket Bingo.
LINNETZ: Someone informed me it reminded them of being on a pier with their household, wanting over the edge and seeing this factor floating in the water.
OTTENBERG: What was it like working with Comme des Garçons on a perfume?
LINNETZ: It’s unimaginable. I set to work with Christian, who’s created all the fragrances for Comme des Garçons for the previous 25 years. It’s taken two years. It’s gone by means of so many alternative iterations of the scent, and the storyline, and the narrative of the character who could be sporting this perfume. I simply felt actually supported. The first six months we labored with out phrases. We needed to abstractly create the scent with simply imagery. We needed to get the first perfume with none conferences. Something tremendous summary. But by the finish, I simply felt prefer it was getting too far-off from Venice seashore. That’s why I gave it the identify Sunscreen, as a result of I wanted one thing very literal to counter the abstraction of the perfume.
LINNETZ: I needed the packaging to really feel so askew from the phrase sunscreen, to create this uncomfortable dissonance. It feels so off, but intriguing, and simply cool to have in your own home.
OTTENBERG: Well, it truly is a very delicious-looking bottle. I’m watching it. It’s attractive. Really sizzling. Okay, I’ve received to go to dinner now, however I actually sprayed this on me 45 instances whereas we had been speaking. I’ll be getting some suggestions at dinner.
LINNETZ: Let me know what they are saying.
OTTENBERG: I’ll be asking for notes. Wait, is it “hints,” or “notes?”
OTTENBERG: Notes. Okay. Hot. Well, congratulations. I like it, I will probably be sporting it, and I’m into it.
LINNETZ: All proper. Love you. Bye.
OTTENBERG: Love you too. Bye.
ERL Sunscreen retails for $115 ($100 for restricted version inflatable packaging) and launches at Comme des Garçons and Dover Street Market retailers worldwide, in addition to choose wholesale purchasers.