Neela Vermeire invites you to “Discover Your India” through her delightful trio of fragrances inspired by the culture and history of India. Trayee represents the ancient Vedic era, Mohur is inspired by the Mogul empire, and Bollywood Bling captures the optimistic spirit of modern India. Together with perfumer Bertand Duchaufour, she followed her dream as a long-time perfumista to create the scents that tell her story.
Ron Slomowicz: What is your earliest scent memory as a child?
Neela Vermeire: My earliest scent memory is actually from my grandparents’ garden. They had a country home that had a lot of flowers. They grew stands of flowers, jasmine, and shrubs. My memories go back to the days that I was able to play in the garden. Growing up in a Hindu family, we had many religious ceremonies at home every couple of days and that is why we created Trayee. The smells of the incense and the sandalwood came from those memories. I would say that it’s a combination of the country home smell and also the religious ceremonies.
RS: What are some traditional fragrances that Indian or Hindu people wear?
Neela Vermeire: I have no idea. In India, we have a very mixed community. The main perfume makers are Muslims at the Attar-wallahs that make Ouds. I would say that most people wear natural oils straight on their skin. From a religious connotation they don’t always sell perfume with alcohol, they go back to the traditional use of oils. In general, there is a lot of fascination with western perfumery. When I was growing up in India, the people that used to travel would bring back named perfumes such as Guerlain as gifts, they were much appreciated. In general it is very tough to say, though; a lot of people know the perfumed oils and what they like. They go to the little perfume shops called Attar-wallahs where they sell oils like oud, sandalwood, and jasmine. With India being so big, it’s very difficult to give you an answer. It is like asking what people in America wear.