As we leave most unsaid and accept people as they are we see beauty manifest around us in more ways than one. Taking experiences as they intersect and collide to forge new paths we allow for change, accepting it and seeking comfort in our evolution. Hand painted, resist dyed and embroidered our spring summer collection marries sunflower yellows with blues, blacks with white, multiple hues with monotones and opacity with sheerness. Linens and Cottons are layered with flowering seams, scalloped edges, stark stripes and fields of blooms for our SS’20 collection, Bahaar.
Litrahb Perfumery is an ethical perfumery practice. Art Critic turned perfumer Bharti Lalwani sources the best quality of botanical extracts from across the globe. She keeps her bespoke scent service package-free, plastic-free and cruelty-free. She works with environmental researchers and eco-conscious distillers to develop the most unusual fragrances and 'Edible Perfume' experiences.
About her shift from being an art critic to a perfumer she says, "I’ve been an art critic since 2009 – I predominantly wrote about how artists in Southeast Asia used art as a medium to critique authoritarianism and its passive public. Still very much a critic, I now use scent as a language to communicate ideas and concepts. It’s like learning, translating and deploying a new language that can be universally embraced without barriers."
When asked about the attributes that add perfection to a perfume, Bharti said, smell and fragrance are something very intimate, that she cannot imagine buying something off a counter anymore. She believes that perfume notes should speak to oneself and to their context. She recalls, "This is why the first two perfumes I created were Green Chutney and Mango Murbo – savoury and sweet notes from a Sindhi Kitchen."
One of her first projects was commissioned by Delhi-based artist, Ranbir Kaleka. He had this long held wish of creating the smell of the home and village he grew up in. This was 1950s post partition Punjab and the context was specific. "Over three months, we had a number of phone-conversations. He gave me smell-reference points: a carpenter shaving wood, rain, buffaloes, cattle, rot, decay, bricks and deteriorating interiors of his old haveli. By the third sample, he felt it was just right. The joy that this brought him couldn’t be quantified and I thought it magical that something so personal, so intangible yet so specific could be made in a form that could held close and be worn on one’s body!", says the Critic.
The boundless potential for discovering new notes and becoming familiar with materials from all across the world is one of her greatest joys as a perfumer. She has found deep connections with independent perfumers, scientists and creative practitioners through this medium.
In her words, she describes how she approached this collaboration between Ka-Sha and Litrahb Perfumery. "I chose to reflect the delicate nature of the work involved in creating their new collection: An exceptional level of artistry goes on each and every outfit – cotton fabric is stitched into flowers that are individually sewn onto each garment while certain sections are hand painted to create lush garden tableaux. The bespoke blend created for Ka-Sha's SS'20 collection has prominent notes of lemon and pomegranate that diffuse into a symphony of powdery rose, gardenia and jasmine flowers.
Soap is a diffusive medium for fragrance. I love the idea that every garment purchased is wrapped over the soap, which perfumes it until it reaches its destination. The soap can then be kept in one’s wardrobe, at the bottom of their laundry basket or used. Each method allows Ka-Sha’s patrons to experience their bespoke garment beyond its visual splendor, the fragrance lingering on one’s skin like warm sunshine!"
As for the future of her perfumery practice, she says, "I consider myself an artist, a critic and an inventor. I’m creating products for myself and other brands that ultimately do not burden the planet. No part of my product should end up in a landfill and I’ve said ‘no’ to so many brands that would have involved wasteful design elements.
Currently I’m developing a number of ideas such as a dissolvable box, an Edible Perfume multi-sensory experience that lends the idea of eating and smelling ‘Mitti’ or Petrichor, I’m developing an artistic ‘Lotion block’ that is package free and lasts upto a year so that one need not buy plastic bottles of moisturizer. Additionally, for my online journal, I’m interviewing some of the most interesting people from different fields: Mycologists, sandalwood traders, Mughal era flora experts, and so on."
All orders placed with us for our SS'20 collection will have Litrahb Perfumery soaps as a complimentary addition to your shopping.
Please visit www.litrahbperfumery.com for more about her work.