As they say, you need a village. But for LilaNur, a new perfume brand launched at Bergdorf Goodman, it takes two countries, a network of skilled artisans and an international network of connections.
LilaNur, which seeks to combine Indian philosophies and ingredients with Western perfume techniques, will bow to the retailer with 10 storage units, priced from $ 275 to $ 420. The ingredients come from co-founder Anita Lal, who also founded Good Earth India, and whose relationship with perfume dates back to childhood.
“I have always been fascinated by color and scent, since I was young,” said Lal. “These are two things that have always delighted me, the way the colors blend together and what you can do by mixing the colors, and what you can do by mixing the scents. It’s my personal journey – I know a lot about color and a lot about scent.
Lal’s main olfactory references come from her native India and the ingredients with which she grew up in her own cultural upbringing. “The scents that I know of are all natural scents, and I’ve never really worked with synthetic or chemical replicas of the scent,” she said.
“We’re very India centric and like to see everything from an Indian perspective,” Lal continued. “One thing is that in India perfume is a very important part of our lives. We put fragrant flowers in our hair, it’s tradition. I always have tuberoses at my bedside, I always get a little tuberose in my hair. These are everyday things for us.
Lal has teamed up with perfume veteran Paul Austin to design a line that blends ingredients grown in India with traditional French perfumery techniques of layering notes.
LilaNur consists of seven eau de parfum and three oil-based aromas, each based on an Indian flower and assembled in Grasse, France. Gul Rouge, for example, combines two types of roses with honey; The incarnation combines jasmine and rose with vetiver. The notes are all monotonous, based on rose, jasmine and tuberose. The perfumers who worked on the project are Honorine Blanc, Olivier Cresp, Fabrice Pellegrin and Clément Gavarry.
The goal of the brand? “To create a line of perfumes that is international and has all the expertise that the West has created to make these wonderful alchemical blends of molecules, but to have an Indian perspective and iconic ingredients presented in a way that you can recognize them. , but they have a touch that makes them modern, ”Lal said.
Austin’s relationship with Indian ingredients came from his extended stay in the country. “I took a research sabbatical in India for almost six months,” he said. “When I discovered the south, I had the impression of entering a perfumer’s Garden of Eden, due to India’s unique biodiversity.
“I have spent a lot of time studying these ingredients and traveling around the country,” he continued. “I have become absolutely passionate about the subject.”
Austin added that Lal was instrumental in his understanding of the perfume culture of India, not only because of his craftsmanship with natural materials, but also for his artisanal approach to protecting the culture and of the planet. “The idea of sustainability, craftsmanship and social impact, she’s done effortlessly and organically for 25 years,” Austin said. “It’s trendy now, but she’s been living it and breathing it forever.”
To this end, LilaNur is launching a social initiative, called Flora365 in collaboration with its suppliers Jasmine CE and Firmenich, which “will create opportunities for people working in the world of flower growing in India,” said Austin. “A lot of the things we do have been designed to try to jumpstart the opportunities in the different projects through Flora365. “
“People are really at the heart of everything we do,” he continued. “There are 5,000 flower pickers we work with in Tamil Nadu, and 2,000 farmers. We want to create a community of people around the brand who have a true love of India and a love of perfume. All we want to do is build a community around it.
Social awareness aside, Lal also claimed that the quality of natural products, especially those that make up Attar Absolus, creates a more intimate experience between a perfume and its wearer.
“We use oil, but what India has not been able to do is bring a modern version of it,” she said. “It’s so essential to have the purest form of flower or other aromatic material soaked in sandalwood. Then to apply it to your skin, it enters your bloodstream, it becomes a part of you. It’s much more personal, much more sensual than an alcohol-based perfume, ”she said.
Interest in perfumes has been huge, Lal said. “I have a lot of good friends in the Middle East, including royalty, and they are all looking forward to a new, modern version that they can enjoy.”
Word of mouth is also essential in how the brand targets new consumers, especially as it looks to the UK and Indian markets for growth.
“We look at influencers in a very different way,” Austin said. “We are looking for more organic influencers – people who have, first of all, a deep love and interest in India, and a connection to the idea of scent, and who work with these communities to nurture and understand the beauty of LilaNur. “
Although the brand has not commented on sales, industry sources expect US retail sales to hit $ 1 million in the first year.
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