For this fragrance launch, the story is that there is no story.
Vio Volta, the latest scent from Brooklyn perfume line DS & Durga, was inspired by ingredients, explained David Moltz, the nose behind the fragrance and one half of the brains behind the business (wife Kavi Moltz is the other half).
While most of the fragrances Moltz puts out are meticulously aligned with storylines, Vio Volta was not one of them. “It comes from working with materials just for the fun of it,” Moltz said.
“[Usually] I beat myself up making something so authentic to my vision and that everything makes sense within the story and you can smell that,” Moltz said. “This is just like, ‘Oh, alright I made this cool thing f–k it, let’s put it out.’ And we just put it out super quickly, f–k the story, and we just put a lightning bolt on it and boom, it’s out.”
Vio Volta is available starting Sept. 20 — $175 for 50-ml., $260 for 100-ml. at Barneys New York and other DS & Durga sales points.
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“I was messing around with this chemical that [smells like] really weird candy rhubarb — super powerful — and this other new chemical that’s really strong, amber extreme. They say it’s the strongest woody amber. And those two things opened up this type of spaceship-like violet. I brought it more into a cedar-y incense and patchouli to make it not fully synthetic,” Moltz said. “It just had a very vibratory effect.”
Vio Volta is just one of the projects the indie beauty brand has embarked on recently. Moves include adding pocket perfumes, candles and a move into Barneys. The brand also has plans to add lotions and body wash.
DS & Durga was also featured in the Somerset House’s fragrance exhibit with its El Cosmico scent (Mark Buxton, Lyn Harris and Antoine Lie are among the other perfumers chosen for the project). “They took the oil of El Cosmico and impregnated it in a marble table,” Moltz said, adding that he’s interested in pushing perfume more toward the arts.
DS & Durga is also growing internationally, and is now available in the Middle East and Europe, and is in the midst of securing distribution in Southeast Asia. In 2018, it will make the move into Mecca in Australia, which should continue the brand’s growth, according to its founders. The brand is also doing a project for Duran Duran and for Levi’s Vintage Clothing. Industry sources project that DS & Durga will do $6 million in retail sales for 2017, up more than 100 percent from the prior year period.
“It’s really tough when you don’t have an investor — you don’t have endless money to stock up on things, and when you’re waiting 60 days for an international distributor for your money so you can pay people to make more production, the supply chain is slow,” Moltz said. “The most important aspect of what I do for the company is make sure we never run out of Debaser or Radio Bombay because those are our two best sellers.”
“We’re making it a priority now to make sure we don’t have those inventory problems,” Kavi Moltz said. “We want to stay independent for a while. The right opportunity hasn’t come yet.”