In our latest edition of Notes, we sat down with actor & comic Mallika Dua about the method behind the madness we get to witness.

Tell us a little about your journey.

My recent journey from Delhi to Bombay is just over a year old and it’s mostly got to do with the fact that I studied theatre and then I dabbled in copywriting and then I started making videos online and that’s how I came here.

Your videos and writing reflect a deep understanding of capturing the nuances of people and their quirks, how did you come about being so observant?

Throughout my childhood and even now, any sort of confinement makes me very distracted – in classrooms and other things, I was never focusing on what was being taught but on how people talk, how they dress and behave and that’s just something that has carried over. The weirder the person is, the more intrigued I am!

When you close your eyes and think, what smell do you relate most to Happiness? Discovery? Love?

Happiness would be Tangerine or Jasmine.

For Discovery, I like the smell that the Saptaparmi Trees have, in Delhi, before the winter is about to come – the smell in the air during the festive season, before people start bursting crackers.

Love for me, is any regular perfume that everyone over-applies when they’re in love to appeal to others!

What’s your oldest memory related to smell?

When I was very young and my parents would take us out for a drive or a quick bite and I would fall asleep on my mother’s shoulder and the smell of whatever lotion or powder she had on is my oldest memory related to smell.

If somebody could bottle your personality in a fragrance, what would it be like?

I like musk, something to do with that, for sure.

What’s next on your travel list?

Bali. I’m not fixed on first discovering India and then the world – there are nice places everywhere. For me, getting a break is more important. At times, I just want to go home to Delhi and not anywhere else because it’s so much more relaxing to be in your own house.

Whose work do you follow on social media? Who are you a big fangirl of?

Meryl Streep – she’s unbelievably gifted and that’s the kind of passion and skill I want to have towards my job. I also really admire Priyanka Chopra for her ambition and drive – it’s not easy doing what they do.

What’s on your reading list?

Twitter! Always.

How has living in Bombay been? Has it changed your perspective or reinforced an existing stereotype?

It’s done both. It’s changed my perspective with respect to working hard and having work ethics – just working no matter what the weather conditions are like. In Delhi, it’s like, it’s raining so I’m not working – that doesn’t fly here. It has also reinforced the stereotype that the standard of living in this city is shit.

You have already made your foray into Bollywood, what are your aspirations from it?

I really want to act, that’s what I studied but it doesn’t matter if it’s a film, web show or a short series – the role has to matter & I’m not stuck on comedy, I’m happy to do other things as well but if it’s a film, I would want my role to be very important to it.

Which Bombay Perfumery fragrance do you think is closest to your personality?

Moire! It’s sweet but with a darker undertone.

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October 09, 2017 — Digital Impressions


Spicy and fresh, Lemongrass is one of those ingredients that’s easily discernible.

The aromatic plant thrives in tropical countries and has been used for food technology, traditional medicine and essential oils. It’s commonly cultivated for both food & fragrance as its aroma is quite citrusy and fresh yet sharp.

Lemongrass was first noted for distillation as far back as the 17th century in the Phillipines. In India, it has been favoured through the ages & is commonly known as ”Choomana Poolu” as a nod to the grass’ red stems.

Lemongrass is a key ingredient for our Chai Musk and, indeed, was the turning point for the perfumer. Having tasted it in her tea from a roadside stall in Bombay, she was spurred on to create a modern interpretation of chai, with lemongrass as a top note!


September 27, 2017 — Digital Impressions


Great ingredients lie at the heart of Bombay Perfumery. One of our fragrances is Calicut, a spicy & warm perfume for men, where Black Pepper stands out beautifully.

Black Pepper has been revered for its taste & scent since time immemorial. Popularly known as the King of Spices, it is perhaps the most widely used spice across the world.

Archaeological evidence points to black pepper being used since the past 2000 years and its importance has only increased as the years have passed. From Egypt to Rome to the rest of Europe, black pepper has been incomparable in its reach.

In perfumery, it is known for its hot and bracing note as well as its earthy warmness.

Today, we have sourced it from its origin, though the production of black pepper has diversified worldwide. As the key ingredient in our Calicut, black pepper creates an instant recall to something that’s familiar yet so different.

August 16, 2017 — Digital Impressions


The process of perfumery reflects the merging of art and science. Yet, at the heart of it, are the ingredients. For Bombay Perfumery, we source the finest ingredients from around the world, while paying homage to the rich history of India when it comes to perfumery.

One of the most distinctive ingredients used in our fragrances is Tuberose. Heady with a hint of creaminess, it is sourced from South India and is known for the sensuousness it lends to a fragrance.

The flower was introduced to India via the Phillipines and was then introduced to Europe and has been used in perfumery since the 17th century. It’s revered thanks to its complex and explosive nature. In fact, there’s a certain myth set during the time of the Renaissance. where it was forbidden for unmarried girls to walk through tuberose gardens and expose themselves to the strong narcotic scent that had the power of driving men mad!


Armed with tuberose’s flair, our Moire is a modern interpretation of feminine strength. Contrasted with leather, another forget-me-not scent, the fragrance makes a bold statement.

August 14, 2017 — Digital Impressions


As part of our ongoing series Notes where we speak to inspirational creators, we sat down with master perfumer Tristan Rostain to decode his approach towards perfumery.

Could you tell us a little about your journey towards perfumery?

My father is a perfumer himself. Although he never pushed me towards perfumery, I had the chance to work in the company he is working for during summers when I was younger. I literally fell in love with raw materials…Frankincense, Sandalwood, Tonka beans…   As I wanted to study foreign languages, I decided to go to the University in Nice, to learn English and Italian. My goal was to be fluent enough to enter the Grasse Institute of Perfumery where perfumery lessons are given in English.

What’s your strongest olfactive memory?

I’ve always been attracted to raw materials over perfumes. Each of them is already a perfume. My strongest olfactive memory is the day I discovered the Gurjum Balsam. It is a woody note but to me it also has an olibanum facet. When I smelled it the first time, it took me miles away from the place I was and brought me back to the church of my small Italian town. I could smell the benches of the church and the mystical censer. That was amazing. I think only perfumes and music have such a power they can make you travel in time and space.

Perfumery is a scientific art – could you talk to us about instinct versus science when you sit down to create a fragrance?

I know nothing about science. I’ve always been really bad in sciences at school. My only approach, when it comes to create a fragrance, is sensitive. Not scientific. I refuse to think like “I can’t put more than 5 grs of Helional in this perfume because the usual dosage of Helional is between 2 and 5 grs”. I don’t want this kind of limits. I always do a lot of research on internet about the subject I am working on. To understand the universe I am about to describe in a fragrance. Colours, places, people… There are a lot of inspiration sources. The only scientific concern in my creation will be to make sure there is no stability issue made by the raw materials I am using. I am not saying this is the good and only way to work. It’s not. But this is how I work. There are so many good “scientific” perfumers, I won’t say science is bad.

When it comes to ingredients, it is often noted that Naturals have a more positive public connotation as compared to Synthetics. Could you break down the importance of these ingredients in perfumery?

According to me, natural raw materials are the most important ingredients in a really good perfume. So I’d rather emphasize on synthetics’ importance than breaking down the importance of the naturals.

It is trendy to think and say natural raw materials are better than synthetics. The truth is they need each other. The naturals bring the richness of the perfume. They make it noble. But synthetics work as a catalyst to channel this richness towards a stable and round perfume. Without synthetics, a perfume would be a bit messy and unstable.

Could you advise us on how to choose a fragrance correctly?

When we go to a perfume shop and buy a perfume, we rarely stay there for hours to wait for the perfume to evolve on our skin. We usually smell it and decide if we like it or not. This is a mistake. Doing it is to choose a perfume only because of its top notes. And they last for a few minutes only. The identity of the perfume comes later, with the middle notes. It is the heart of the fragrance, and the smell you will have on your skin during the day. So my advice is to ask for samples, always. And try perfumes out of the shop, on a regular day, to discover its real identity. Not to judge after the first smell (unless it is really disgusting). That is how we usually do with people. We don’t marry someone after only one look, just because it looks nice. We need to know him/her better before we marry him/her.

What are the smells you associate with comfort ? Travel ? Love?

I would say musky and woody/ambery notes for comfort. They are clean, steady and warm. Typical cocooning smells to me.

When I travel I like to use fresh/citrusy fragrances. Because traveling is a bit exhausting. Citrus notes give me more energy and keep me awake. And they are positive smells which perfectly fit travels because traveling is always a good moment as I love it.

As far as love is concerned I would mention flowers. It is not original but it’s the only truth to me. Rose, Jasmine… They are all captivating and mesmerizing. If I had to mention only one, I would say Tuberose for its strength and richness.

June 20, 2017 — Digital Impressions


Today, we spoke to master perfumer Jacques Chabert, who worked on our Les Cayes, Seven Islands & Calicut. After a substantial career at prestigious brands such as Chanel, Naarden Quest (now Givaudan) and Firmenich, Jacques founded his own fragrance company in 1992 near Grasse, France. In his beautiful art-filled laboratory, he works on developing creative and cutting edge fragrances, carefully selecting only projects that inspire him and always insisting on using the highest quality of natural ingredients to highlight their beauty and performance in fine fragrance.

Could you tell us a little about your journey towards perfumery?

The fact that I was born in Grasse represents, I guess, a good part of my first journey.

I remember collecting Jasmin flowers in the summer holidays in order to make some money. It was hard work, it made me sweat;  yet my clothes and even my skin were impregnated with the smell of the jasmin flowers until the end of the day. This led me to appreciate the compliments I received on how good I was smelling.

It certainly was the beginning of a new journey for me  as a perfumer-to-be.

What’s your strongest olfactive memory?

Probably  Jasmin for the reasons exposed above. But I remember also, as a perfumer apprentice, when I got to smell Ylang Ylang oil for the first time, I thought “This  is  a perfume on its own!“

Ylang Ylang. Image source.

Perfumery is a scientific art – could you talk to us about instinct versus science when you sit down to create a fragrance?

I have no scientific background to back up my creative career, the way Churchill had no explanation for his longevity apart from “Whisky and Cigars”.  I think however that having a rational, scientific approach may be beneficial for certain applications in perfumery.  As far as I am concerned, I have got to be content with solely instinct.

When it comes to ingredients, it is often noted that Naturals have a more positive public connotation as compared to Synthetics. Could you break down the importance of these ingredients in perfumery?

Up to the end of the 19th Century, fragrances contained only naturals. They mostly contained citrus for the top notes and resin for the dry downs. The use of synthetics in the 20th century helped develop a perfumer’s creativity tremendously with, notably, molecules that did not even exist in nature.

Chanel 5 is probably the most famous among them but Jicky before, and Shalimar revolutionized the spectrum of creativity as well.

Today the conscience for naturals is back, very strongly, probably for environmental reasons as most synthetics are derived from petrol.

Could you advise us on how to choose a fragrance correctly?

Certainly not. Choosing a perfume is very personal, it is impulsive and it should remain so.

Which one is your favourite Bombay Perfumery fragrance?

As far as I am concerned I like very much Les Cayes and Seven Islands. 

Seven Islands by Bombay Perfumery

What are the smells you associate with comfort? travel? love?

Comfort : I would say floral notes such as Orange flower, Linden but also soft Leather.

Travel : Perhaps aromatic notes or Chypres but also some florals.

Love : Probably Orientals such as Shalimar or Mitsouko for the” classics” today some combinations of Oud with Rose may be appropriate for this mood although Florals such as Tuberose may be also a good idea.

May 30, 2017 — Digital Impressions


Our latest edition of Notes features Pierre Kurzenne, the perfumer behind our enigmatic 1020. Influenced by scents from a young age, Pierre decided to pursue his passion by becoming a perfumer. He has a rich olfactive memory and a great sensitivity for scents, traits that make him a master perfumer today. He loves working with natural raw ingredients, particularly sandalwood for its milky, sensual dimension, which he believes works well in perfumes.

Pierre at our launch in October 2016

Could you tell us a little about your journey towards perfumery?
Since a young age, I was very passionate about scents & smells. I was lucky to grow up in the Loire Valley region, a woody area, and we had a big garden where my father planted hundreds of different flowers.
From the beginning I wanted to do something with scents.
After a few years in university I had the chance to meet the right people at the right time!
Let me mention Master Perfumer Guy Robert who gave me the opportunity to work and learn with him as his assistant for 5 years;  he was the creator of well known Dioressence, Madame Rochas, Hermès’s Calèche and Equipage.
Ever since then, I have been working as a Perfumer in leading multinational Fragrance companies, still passionate about smell, raw materials and fragrances…

What’s your strongest olfactive memory?
Oh I have plenty strong olfactive memories and I guess it is the same for most of the perfumers as this is our main task, building bridges between what we smell and our memory.

Actually everybody could became a Perfumer, only a question of training and learning, It take time but if you have the passion, time doesn’t count!
More seriously, yes I have one stronger olfactive memory, it is related to one of our raw material ingredients called Cashmeran. When I smelled first that chemical, right away I remember a holiday time in the Esterel in the South of France where I was spending all my holidays until 18, it is on the coast, a little point on the sea shore when around noon you get a mixture of the musky warm rocks, a dry pine tree and the sea… you have to smell it to understand.

Esterel in the South of France. Source.

Perfumery is a scientific art – could you talk to us about instinct versus science when you sit down to create a fragrance?
For art, there is probably a passion for “beauty”, much apprenticeship is needed, because work never ends in the quest for art perfection. For slog, let’s work. For passion, it frequently means being able to see the intimate interest of the work. But for beauty, the issue is huge.

In the kitchen, “good” means « beautiful to eat »; for music, it means beautiful to hear (we don’t care if the pianist is well dressed or not).  And one can easily understand that for scents, the issue is to make “beautiful scents” as well, which means scents that we admire.
Art is based on intuition, experience, personal emotion, the desire to communicate…
If a scientist wants to move toward art, he or she has to get away from science into technology, whereas the artist who would like to move toward science has to go through technique.
No relationship between art and science… but rather relationships between the applications of sciences (very different from sciences) and the technical component of art (very different from art, even if it is needed).

When it comes to ingredients, it is often noted that Naturals have a more positive public connotation as compared to Synthetics. Could you break down the importance of these ingredients in perfumery?
True, and I understand the public, if you are looking for authenticity, nothing can beat nature! Is there something better than travel around the world and have wonderful olfactive discovery experiences?

But on the hand, when you are smelling something natural, what do you think you’re smelling? it’s “only” a creation of mother nature, a well done composition of several chemical molecules!
When we are using chemicals in our creation, we are not doing more than the nature – well, some of our chemicals don’t exist as it in the nature but most of them do.
There is no way today to have only 100% natural fragrances on the market, first, simply because the natural raw material market will not be able to supply the consumption and in term of art evolution it will be like reversing to the fragrances 200 years ago! When you smell such a fragrance today, it actually smells “old” !
I mentioned in a past interview that the best Rose Absolute you could find on the market actually doesn’t smell a natural dewy rose flower as you could imagine it in the morning, for that composition you will need maybe a trace of the absolute to bring an incomparable richness and the rest will need the art of the perfumer with an excellent chemicals composition.

Could you advise us on how to choose a fragrance correctly?
I think it is very personal, each person can find his own way and in different conditions.Technically I will refer to our Pyramide description, that means having a particular interest to the different moment of the fragrance evaporation, at first you smell the most volatile components which composed the top notes and really give the hook of the composition, then you enter the heart of the fragrance when all the floral characters are developing, then much later, after more than an hour, you can appreciate the dry down, what you will keep on the skin for the rest of the day…

Which one is your favourite Bombay Perfumery fragrance?
Difficult to give an answer different than the one I created with Manan for BP
Objectively I very much the 1020 I did but I have to say I also like the Chai Musk for its chai reinterpretation.

What are the smells you associate with comfort? travel? love?
Comfort is softness, tenderness, milkyness, I will go to oriental accord with soft sandalwood woodyness, Musk that can give cotton aspect, and vanilla for its neverending mildness.
Travel is discovery, I wish I know the next unknown smell I will discover in my next travel..will it be fruity, exotic, a flower, exotic again, a precious wood, or maybe a special extraction technic which open to new raw material ranges…
Love: oh too difficult ! “un peu, beaucoup, à la folie ..” smells of love are smells of happiness, the smell you keep in memory the first time you met a person you loved …

May 04, 2017 — Digital Impressions


In the latest edition of our series ‘Notes’, we got to talking with photographer & traveller Sayali Goyal of cultural journal, Cocoa & Jasmine. Here, we talk about her inspirations and her journey and offer a sneak peek into her recent collaboration with us.

Could you tell us a little about your journey. 

I studied surface textiles from the University of Arts London and graduated in 2011. I was seventeen that summer when I moved out of home, so would say living on my own and figuring things out came a bit early. During my stay in London, I did a lot more than just my course. I was always keen on attending events around the city, exploring England on weekends as there are many small towns around London which are quite charming.

I also saw myself as a jack of all trades, hence a lot of internships happened which increased my network and exposure to what all I could do in terms of being creative which was not restricted to just designing. I enjoyed photography, at that time I had a Sony digital camera. I always kept a journal with me to scribble thoughts and sketches. I was a big list maker even back then. I really enjoyed trying local foods, exploring different neighbourhoods, researching about them and reading. I would say the journey began then itself. I enjoyed the documenting and curating process.

In terms of your photography, travel comes into play a lot. How did you come about this combination?

I am actually not trained in Photography, nor do I own a fancy camera. So I would say photography happened because of travel. I like to document my experiences, and photos was a great way of doing that, Since I am from a design and arts background, I would say I had a natural inclination towards having a good eye for things. I saw things in a unique perspective and photography was a part of my creative process of designing and curating. When I am travelling I take photos on my IPhone which I think is very practical. When I started to curate Cocoa and Jasmine, I realised my love for photos. I had about 40,000 images to shortlist from! I realised my natural inclination towards certain colours, textures and landscapes.

You recently went on a 3 week road trip through South India.. Tell us more about the experience.

I was on the road for 3 weeks and I would say this was a turning point in my life. I didn’t realise back then how it would be so special. I had never done something like this before and it was truly pushing my limits. Seeing your own country when you are part of it yet different was interesting. There is so much one can learn about themselves through journeys like this. The trip was only half planned, and half impromptu. I had both luxury and affordable experiences, which made it more exciting. After travelling to a certain place, I always associate it with certain tastes and smells. During this journey I had locally grown coffee, chocolate and tea. In Madurai I got myself jasmine for my hair. I would say Cocoa and Jasmine was a product of this journey.

Tell us a little about your collaboration with us – how did you envision it?I had been following your brand since the beginning and enjoyed the aesthetics. I am a lover of good packaging and niche products. I could relate to your community and wanted to share my writings and photos.

What’s on your travel bucket list?

I really want to do South America and Morocco!

Your favourite Instagram accounts to scour for inspiration.



April 12, 2017 — Digital Impressions


Notes is our latest series on exploring the dynamics of creativity over an informal break. We chatted with some of the most eminent as well as some of the upcoming artists in India today. We caught up with art director Ayesha Kapadia of Komet Juice for a quick behind-the-scenes.

Tell us a little about your journey. 

I have been drawing and making things for as long as I can remember. Art and making things is second nature to me. It’s the only thing I’ve known how to do. It’s the only way I know how to be. Throughout my childhood, I hated school. It was traumatic. And the only thing that made it tolerable was art, dramatics/theatre and science projects. Then Art School happened and I was introduced to the world of Typography and Bauhaus and Andy Warhol and it all just felt like home.

Right after graduating I worked as an Art Director at an advertising agency but it wasn’t for me. So I quit and did an Art Residency at Space118 where I explored and discovered what I was capable of creating. Then I went on to working with two social enterprises that stand for craft and women empowerment – Chindi and Okhai, as a Designer. I had also started getting commissioned for illustration jobs. Somewhere in the middle of all of this I found myself married to Instagram. It’s a beautifully simple medium committed to visuals and I began using it as a medium of expression started making short films as a medium of self-expression and preservation of memories. I was committed to ticking things off a list I had made as a little girl, to make and do things I had always wanted to do. I’m still ticking things off that list.

Ayesha for Chindi

You work with different mediums to create interesting narratives. How do you go about selecting the direction of any given project?

Each project comes with its own personality and the challenge is to be able to empathise and translate that personality with the understanding of visual aesthetics that I come with.

You’ve been collaborating with musicians since a while now, whether its visual language or art direction. What’s your thought process while transferring one form of creativity to another?

To be able to translate the energies of sound into a visual format is all about expression for me. It’s not much of a thought process and has more to do with being a sponge. What I mean by that, and what I thoroughly enjoy about the process, is absorbing all the emotions that come with the sound and vomit it out as art or graphic design or even a film. For the artwork I designed for Nicholson’s first EP, Sorabh and Rohan were nice enough to let me sit in the studio with them during the making of the EP, absorbing sounds and then translating it into art.

Art Direction for Parekh & Singh’s I Love You Baby, I Love You Doll 

What does your moodboard look like?

Definitely has pictures of Andy Warhol and Edie Sedgwick / Glitter / A variety of different textiles: I love cloth! / Glitter / Fashion / Glitter / Polaroids / Images of the Galaxy / Architecture / Glitter

Birth of Venus 316 by Andy Warhol. Source.

You’ve created these lovely Bombay Noir videos for us. Please share your thoughts, inspirations and ideas that led to the short films.

Oddly enough, I make memories through fragrances/smells. I remember events and people and faces and things through smells. Fragrances have always been a huge trigger for certain memories for me. And so when I was commissioned to making these films, I found it very interesting to put this oddity to use. Each fragrance from your wonderful collection triggered a certain kind of feeling and I tried to express those feelings through the medium of moving images.

What are your favourite places in Bombay?

Well, all the classic British architecture, the beauty that is the building structure of the Bombay Arts Society, Matterden Cinema, the High Court at night with the hallway lights on, inside a rickshaw with a quirky colour palette on the seats and hood, my pani-puri wallah, any and all terraces, there are so many more.

The Bombay Art Society. Source.

But most of all, my most favourite place in Bombay is my nani’s house. I’ve spent most of my formative years in that 100 year old building with the red clay hexagon tiled flooring and washed out teal walls that hold hand painted portraits of my great grandmother and great grandfather. I’ve stared at their faces for hours and hours wondering what they might have been thinking while they got their portraits painted. Because unlike a photograph, a painted portrait gets made over days through various emotions. And I couldn’t help but wonder about the bits of their thoughts or emotions that have been frozen in time. The delicate crystal chandelier was always an object of mystery that partook in all my imaginary games that I played in that house. It’s almost like I befriended these objects and over the years they have seen me grow and have been part of the journey. My silent confederates. They know all my secrets. They have seen all my awkward times and still stand by me now. You know how as human beings we tend to form relationships with objects? And also because of the kind of people that make that house a home.

Top Instagram accounts to follow.










What’s on your playlist?

Mo Kenney – Telephones

Parekh & Singh

I’m in love – Noonie Bao

Cold Water – Nicholson

Lykke Li – Until We Bleed

Penguin Cafe Orchestra – Perpetuum Mobile

Prateek Kuhad

Glass Animals



Horse Powar – Queen

Gold Panda – You

April 04, 2017 — Digital Impressions


Notes is our latest series on exploring the dynamics of creativity over an informal break. We chatted with some of the most eminent as well as some of the upcoming artists in India today. We caught up with Deborah di Fiore of Modest Genius Design to talk about her journey and inspirations.

Deborah di Fiore – Image by Neville Sukhia

Your visual language is quite distinctive. Could you tell us about your journey towards it?

There are some important moments in my life that are decisive – like my first Art Book, when I was eleven years old. It was a beautiful book on Picasso and I got obsessed, something that continues till this day. Secondly, when I started studying at the Ecole Nationale des Arts Decoratif de Paris, for 5 years, I explored different disciplines and techniques, before graduating in graphic design.

The Acrobat & Girl With A Mirror by Picasso. Image Source. 

In my bag, there’s always a sketchbook. These days, I’m using this ink brush pen to draw on craft paper. I usually sketch whatever is around me, mostly people. It is an exercise I have to practice everyday.

While working, I listen to music, all sorts of music… and some podcast about science, history or philosophy…

Your design is often rooted in your surroundings – what’s your thought process as you design – for instance, your series on Islamic architecture?

I think one of the reasons I create images is in a way to question the reality we live in, so it is all about observing, absorbing and transforming what is around us…

Last January, I went travelling to Delhi and I was sketching using the red colour that I associate with the city.

I started a series of Monghol architecture drawings. From the sketches, I wanted to make something more graphic and modern, so I used stripes.

“Twisted Tradition” could be the name of this Islamic Architecture series. It is a subject I would like to explore : the relation we have with our cultural heritage, and what we do with it – where tradition meets modernity.

At the same time, I was reading a lot about Daniel Buren. I love the work he has done in public places in particular. Usually using stripes, his visuals attract your attention to a certain place. I found it very interesting how he makes us look at our environment in a different way.

The series of architectural drawings will be exhibited in Marie Helene de Taillac’s boutique windows and Isetan in Tokyo in February 2017.

What are your favourite art spaces around the world?

Let’s start with Paris where I was born and raised. It is amazing what the city can offer in terms of culture.

Then the Venice Art Biennale is the best art experience I’ve ever had. The full city is a place to explore with hidden art installations.

And Sue Kaoukji’s office in Kuwait. Sue Kaoukji, in addition to being my best friend’s mom and my inspiration, is the curator of The Al-Sabah Collection. The collection regroups some precious objects from the Mughal era and is travelling the world. I had the chance to see some of the objects when I visited Sue in her office. Opening drawers and cupboards full of treasures was a magical experience, like Ali Baba’s cave was opened to me! The Treasure of Humanity is kept so well here, with so much respect, it is very impressive and touching.

Tell us a little about your travels from Paris to Bombay.

Ho that was completely unexpected!

I was very bored in Paris after I graduated. So as soon I would make a bit of money, I would buy a flight ticket and run away!

It is almost 12 years ago that I flew to India. I had found a job in Rajasthan; a French lady was opening an art gallery and artist residency in a beautiful haveli in Shekhawati. I went to work for her for sometime.. India was so different from my culture, it was fascinating and funny! I was happy.

After the exhibition project got over, I went to Jaipur to meet the famous French jewellery designer Marie Helene de Taillac. I started to work with her – I was responsible for her jewellery production and was also designing for the new Hot Pink concept store. Working closely with the best artisans in Jaipur was a magical experience.

Then it was time to start my own project, so I started Modest Genius Design, working on art direction, graphic design and illustration.

If you only had one colour left to design with, which one would you choose & why?

Blue is my colour, because it feels so good!


February 10, 2017 — Digital Impressions


Notes is our latest series on exploring the dynamics of creativity over an informal break where we chat with some of the most eminent as well as some of the upcoming artists in India today. Our next edition is with stylist Nikhil D. In his years of work, he’s constantly pushed the boundaries of conventionality. 

Could you tell us a little about your journey towards design.
When I didn’t get into the art school I applied at, my back up was design school. After finishing school, I worked at an Indian brand for a year as a designer before I started styling. None of these things were planned and just happened by chance until I started loving what I did and worked at Marie Claire India as Style Editor for 3 years. Now as a fashion consultant I get to do everything I’m good at – style, design and create which was the main goal.

 What’s been your favourite shoot – across your work or anybody else’s?
This shoot I did with 9 Indian girls as the faces defining beauty of the new and changing India. All of their parents hailed from two different states within the country. The pan-Indian beauty did not come from the south if she was dark skinned or have high cheek bones if she was from the western ghats. We shot them all on Polaroid with Prasad Naik in natural light and barely any makeup.

What does your moodboard look like?
My moodboards are usually collages of photographs or art that I do keeping colours, the personality of the person we are creating and his or her mindset as a visual. I usually have images of objects and old photographs on these and like to layer them to look like one single image.

As someone who has been part of India’s changing style climate, in your opinion, who are the young designers who spearhead the new Indian look of Western contemporary flair & Indian craft and technique?
I have always felt close towards Kallol Datta’s work. He challenged ideas of what women think looks good on them and preconceived notions about what is flattering to her body. I like that it does not scream it is Indian but has so much to do with where he is from. I also like Akaaro, Sanjay Garg, Bodice, Eka, Lovebirds, Runaway Bicycle – I think they all in their own way are reinterpreting the changing Indian look with or without Indian crafts.

Kallol Datta 1955 photographed by Errikos Andreou for Elle India


Lovebirds AW 16 photographed by Hormis A.

Which historical figure would you have liked to styled and why?
David Bowie even though he would never need it.
Everyone on Bold and the beautiful cause it was my granny’s favourite show and my first idea of the fashion world. Also now that I think about it they needed it.

Cover Image : Styled by Nikhil D, photographed by Niko Mitrunen for Marie Claire India.

February 10, 2017 — Digital Impressions


Notes is our latest series on exploring the dynamics of creativity over an informal break. We chatted with some of the most eminent as well as some of the upcoming artists in India today. Our second edition is with Ashiesh Shah, renowned architect and art collector.

1. Could you tell us a little about your journey towards design.

I was always fascinated by architecture and design and painting was just something I did since before I can remember, I think it started there. When I was studying dentistry, I realized quite early on that it wasn’t something I felt passionately about. It didn’t allow the kind of free thinking and creativity like in fields like architecture and design. I needed to be creating something, and architecture seemed like the right choice. With time I became more interested in design based practices.

Interiors by Ashiesh Shah. Images via Ashiesh Shah on Instagram.

Interiors by Ashiesh Shah. Image via Elle Decor India on Instagram.

2. What’s the one piece of design that’s imprinted itself in your mind?

There’s a lot of different things I find inspiring, art, architecture, design, literature and nature. My work doesn’t make direct references to any particular place, designer, architect or artist but they become important elements in my creative process. I think some of Le Corbusier’s work is pure genius, with respect to both material and form. I’m also influenced by modern movements like the Bauhaus.

Governer’s Palace, Chandigarh by Le Corbusier. Image via Alexander Gorlin Architects

Bauhaus Chair by Marcel Breuer. Image via Red List.

3. What’s on your reading list?

Geometry of Design: Studies in Proportion and Composition by Kimberly Elam
History of Modern Design by David Raizman) and Design as Art by Bruno Munari

4. In your capacity as an art collector, could you recommend some young artists to keep an eye on?

Collecting art is not just for the super wealthy, it’s definitely not about how much you spend; its all about what you spend it on. Starting a collection often seems like a daunting activity, where does one begin? It might come as surprise, but the truth is that anyone can collect and buy art intelligently, even without an art expert showing them around. All you need is a love and appreciation of fine art and design and a few simple techniques to help evaluate the work you’re interested in. Stay true to your taste, buy work that you appreciate regardless of what the current rage may be. Learn what you like. Start by looking at a lot of art, follow gallery programs, visit museums and try to attend open studio events where artists talk about their work. There’s a lot of young artists worth looking at Sahej Rahal, Prajakta Potnis, Ayesha Sultana.

Sahej Rahal. Image via KHOJ.

Prajakta Potnis. Image via ArtSlant.

5. Could you let us into your thought process for creating the Arcus for our Sensorium?

Characterised by a vocabulary of clean lines and geometric forms, Arcus appears minimal but is full of subtle details. Created using brass and the perfume bottle itself, it appears almost sculptural- with an added material play, the opaque brass and the translucent liquid perfume. The arch of the stand is a central element in my architectural practice and reappears in my body of work. Drawing inspiration from mid century masters like Le Corbusier and Etorre Sottsass, I feel like the stand exudes an almost vintage meets contemporary feel.

Arcus by Ashiesh Shah.


January 18, 2017 — Digital Impressions