Scents & City with 12.29

We play follow the leader around New York

Some designers go to Met for inspiration, many musicians hit up record shops—we’re usually found trolling The Container Store—but for Dawn and Samantha of 12.29 the entire city serves as a muse. We wanted to know where they go when they need to kickstart their noses, so one freezing day last month we played Follow the Leader around the city.

Hello again! It’s been a minute since our Valentine’s Day! So, where are we off to today?
First stop, The Flower District, then New York Public Library, then Central Park, La Colombe Coffee in Nolita, and Whittemore House Salon (which is scented by 12.29).

Let’s go! Tell us something incredible about the nose:
A human is able to recall smells with 65% accuracy after a year, in contrast to only 50% of visuals after three months—Sense of Smell Institute.

Whoa! What has been your favorite project to date?
Every time we take a client through the creative process, we are inspired and empassioned by the result. One recent example is the scent we did for the Opening Ceremony AW2014 Runway Show. Carol and Humberto’s inspiration for the season was Belgium and all things chocolate. We worked together with a perfumer and a flavorist to create the smell of chocolate—rich, addictive, and edible and then whipped it with musk to create a human touch. A manufactured taste and a human texture.

Delicious. So in simple terms, how do you create a scent?
Through the 12.29 propriety creative process, we dissect a brand’s existing references including such elements as color, sound, emotion, and target market to understand the brand identity or DNA. We then use this information to translate the brand into an olfactive vision, or smell. This smell can then be used in brand’s environment and with additional scented products such as candles, packaging, collateral, e.t.c.

On average, how many different layers do your scents contain?
Between 15-30 ingredients

What has been your strangest client request to date?
Recently, we were asked to create the smell of dystopia which essentially ended up smelling of gun powder, burning plastic, gasoline, and fire.

Amazing! Is there a difference between a male and female’s sense of smell?
The most important difference between men and women, in regards to our work at 12.29, is that a man’s sense of smell is very consistent while a woman’s sense of smell cycles with her menstruation. This means that when a woman is ovulating, her sense of smell is extremely keen, as she is olfactively searching for a partner to procreate. When she is on the other side of her menstruation, her sense of smell is not as acute. This cycle can change her ability to recognize and accurately process some smells. Of course, the enormity of this varies from woman to woman.

We really are not only the fairer but smarter sex. So, for the readers at home, can you tell us, which are the best flowers to scent you apartment?
It is really a matter of opinion. Most flowers grown for aesthetics do not smell. The ugliest roses with inconsistent petal length and number, smell the best and are only used in perfumery, not in flower shops. The same for orchids. However, lilacs and lilies that are sold in flower shops are very potent and a beautiful choice. Some flowers are extracted from the root or the leaves while other must stay on the tree or plant to smell. All flowers smell differently once cut from their natural nutrient source.

Best supermarket or Duane Reade-bought scent?
We love supermarket incense or even the incense you can buy on the street in New York. Sandalwood is particularly good and consistent.

Rapid fire questions to finish: What does love smell like?
Your lover’s skin

And lust?
Your lover’s bed sheets

And fear?
It is culturally dependent as this is a learned smell

And success?
It depends where the success comes from.

Photography by Meghan McNeer

Thank you, ladies. Speak soon! Hey everyone, what scent reminds you of your childhood? Pippa@sousstyle.com