In our bodies, everything is connected. Our sense of touch can change our mood. Our sense of sight affects our perception of flavor. Our sense of smell can transport us to a fond memory. Our sense of taste can dictate what we choose to put in our bodies, and how we feel.
Today we speak with David and Kavi, co-founders of the perfume house D.S. & Durga, about how our sense of smell connects us to our memories, emotions, and other senses.
Splendid Spoon: Hi David & Kavi! Tell us about your journey to creating D.S. & Durga.
D&K: D.S. & Durga began when Kavi (whose nickname is Durga) thought it would be a good idea to package some things David had been working on for friends — lotions, creams, and perfumes. The idea took off and we realized we could use scent and design to explore deeper, sensory topics!
SS: How do you combine your sense of smell with your other senses to create your products?
David: I make the scents and stories. I get my ideas from music, archetypes, literature, travel, and poetry. I try to recreate realistic records of certain objects, plants, and places, which I then weave into narratives that explore real and fantastical worlds.
Kavi: I use my background in architecture to inform my vision of how best to present the scents and the brand.
SS: You say you translate musical and literary spaces into scent. How is this synaesthesia (when one sense stimulates another) visible in the final creation?
D: Scent is like any other sense. You know the scent of a mountain, the beach, a rose, a chair. You associate the scent of things with memories and experiences, perhaps even emotions. I use aromatic materials to conjure up times and places just as a painter would. The only difference is that I make you smell the sunset over the mountain, rather than see it.
SS: How do you create the packaging so that it reflects the scent inside?
K: For our pocket perfumes and candles I make a bold graphic image of a dominant theme or item in a particular scent. In general, I try to keep the packaging clean and simple: it’s like a canvas for the scents and stories to play out on.
SS: Does the perfume someone chooses reveal anything about their personality?
D&K: It can! Many people now have a wardrobe of scents, though (which is our style too). Scent is very personal — we are attracted to things based on our own experiences. Your choice of perfume can say a lot about who you think you are.
SS: How can finding a scent you love help you tune into yourself?
D&K: Perfume is so personal: it’s one of the easiest ways to change the scene or mood you’re in. It has the same power as choosing what music you’re listening to: it allows you to travel inwards. It often brings you back to a particular feeling or memory.
SS: Do you use the same scents every day, or do you change them up?
D: I’m normally covered in a range of trial perfumes. However, as I get older, I gravitate towards stronger, old man perfumes — scents of amber, herbs, sandalwood, flowers. I wear our White Peacock Lily and Rose Atlantic scents a lot too.
SS: When do you feel most at peace?
D&K: After meditating and when our kids fall asleep!
SS: How can we incorporate perfume into our self-care rituals?
D&K: Perfume is one of the best everyday luxuries. Every time you spray, think about how it makes you feel and where the scent transports you!