When husband and wife, David Seth Moltz (a musician) and Kavi Moltz (an architect) launched DS & Durga in 2007, they did so without a plan in mind. Twelve years later, the perfumer and creative director’s NYC-based company is a well-respected (I would say “very cool”) niche fragrance brand that produces perfume, candle, body and car products.
It’s easy to be a cool brand, but a cool brand with longevity is something else altogether. DS & Durga have achieved this through distinctive (often unusual), high-quality fragrances that take their inspiration from music, art, nature and design.
I got hold of self-taught perfumer David Seth Moltz via Instagram and these are his replies to my questions.
What makes DS & Durga stand out in an increasingly saturated niche market?
We are perfumer- and designer-owned. Our scents are a true reflection of our ideas and are not filtered through another perfumer.
You’ve been labelled a “hipster” fragrance brand. What are your thoughts on that?
Not sure what that really means. Doesn’t sound too positive, though.
What was your goal when you originally launched DS & Durga in 2007? Has that changed at all?
At the beginning, we were just flying by the seat of our pants. We were surprised by the response and excited to make something with our own hands. We still have the same desire to create, but with more tools. Ultimately, it’s about spreading joy to as many people as possible.
“We still have the same desire to create, but with more tools.”
You and your wife, Kavi, founded DS & Durga. Why do you have such a strong working relationship?
We respect each other’s spheres of expertise.
You didn’t study perfumery. Has that been an advantage for you?
I think so. I have my own systems of how aromatic materials work.
Where does your creativity come from?
You’ve recently opened your new NYC store. Why should we visit it?
It has everything we make in one place the way we want you to experience it. You can talk to the founders or our small team and get deep inside what we do and how we do it. Nolita is also a great neighborhood to visit.
One of my favourite DS & Durga fragrances is Debaser. I know the Pixies reference, but I wasn’t expecting all of that delicious fig and coconut for such a rock n roll-referenced fragrance…
Yep, it’s a reference to my youthful understanding of that provocative music on hot summer nights.
On the music theme, you collaborated with Duran Duran last year to celebrate their 40th year in the music biz. What do you remember most from that collaboration?
Working closely with Simon [le Bon, the band’s lead singer] on the fragrances.
Tell us about your latest fragrance, DS & Durga EDP?
The DS scent is part of our gold label line where we use ridiculously expensive materials without worrying about the retail cost. It is a modern take on an Indian attar with frangipani, gardenia, lotus, sandalwood and vetyver.
“The DS scent is part of our gold label line where we use ridiculously expensive materials without worrying about the cost.”
Where do you think niche is heading?
Perfume as an art form will only increase. There will always be a market for perfume focused on the artistry of the juice first.
- DS & Durga fragrances are available in South Africa from Skins Cosmetics. Tel: 011 883 1350.