Perfume House D.S. & Durga Wants Los Angeles to Smell Like New York

D.S. & Durga Abbot Kinney - Kavi and David Moltz
Portrait of Kavi and David Moltz by Martin Scott Powell. All images courtesy of D.S. & Durga.

Known for capturing nostalgic scents that serve the niche fragrance desires of every perfume enthusiast, D.S. & Durga has been serving East Coast audiences at their Manhattan and Brooklyn stores since 2008. Now, the brand, founded by husband-and-wife duo Kavi and David Moltz, is taking a leap westward, landing on Venice’s popular shopping strip, Abbot Kinney Boulevard, where it will be neighbors with brands like The Great., Birkenstock, and Vince. Ahead of the move, the founders told CULTURED about their decision to bring the brand to Los Angeles, their design inspirations, and what they hope to achieve with their West Coast outpost.

D.S. & Durga Abbot Kinney - Los Angeles store window to Venice
Store photography by Jason Sean Weiss.

CULTURED: You describe your new West Coast scent, Pacific Mythic, as being inspired by Venice Beach. Could you describe your perfect beach day? 

David Moltz: For me, the beach is always about getting in the water. I’m pale and need protection though! So I need a hat, Wayfarers, and sunscreen. Water shoes are great on rocky East Coast beaches too.

CULTURED: This is your first store outside of New York. Why did you pick Los Angeles as your destination, and more specifically, what draws you to Abbot Kinney?

David: Our customer is definitely in LA. We’ve been looking for a long time. Abbot Kinney has such a great vibe with lots of foot traffic. The space we got is just incredible.

D.S. & Durga Abbot Kinney - Venice Los Angeles storefront

CULTURED: Kavi, you studied architecture in LA, which has inspired the design of the new store. What are some of your favorite buildings in the city, and how did you bring that architecture into the storefront?

Kavi Moltz: I once toured a John Lautner house in grad school, and it hit me hard. It was the Sheats-Goldstein House—quintessentially cool and California, and still so glamorous. The ceiling of our Venice store is inspired by his Elrod house in Palm Springs. I love the Ennis and Hollyhock houses by Frank Lloyd Wright and the Schindler House. A very special house to me is the home of Ray Kappe, one of the founders of my architecture school, SCI-Arc. It’s truly a masterpiece, full of genuine warmth and ideas in the flesh. I was lucky enough to be hosted there for a magical evening: multiple split levels, built into a hillside, sunken living room, all these cool late '60s and early '70s concepts in a working project. We nodded to this house with all the warm Douglas Fir used in our new store, a first for us.

D.S. & Durga Abbot Kinney - Los Angeles store

CULTURED: How do you honor the differences between New York and LA, while creating a unique bi-coastal blend?

Kavi: In terms of store design, we needed the space to feel like us. Because Los Angeles is such a special place to me, especially in my design life, I really wanted to merge the cool Cali modern vibes with our signature NYC edge. I think we did just that. Voila!

David: Pacific Mythic, our exclusive candle for Abbot Kinney, is an East Coast kid’s vision of seeing the grand Pacific for the first time under towering palms and local flowering shrubs. It’s an East Coaster being wowed and intimidated by such grandeur (we’re used to living in tiny boxes).

D.S. & Durga Abbot Kinney - Los Angeles store candles soaps and perfumes

CULTURED: What are you most excited for out of the LA opening? 

David: LA is one of the great American cities. We’re happy to expand our footprint. The bigger, airier store lets us show off more of the architecture of the brand (in the custom concrete fixtures). We also have a backroom to house our most exclusive creations in one place.

D.S. & Durga Abbot Kinney - Los Angeles store counter

CULTURED: What scents does D.S. & Durga have in its line that you think LA store visitors will love? 

David: I DON'T KNOW WHAT and DEBASER continue to be our top performers. We have a large breadth; I like to think we have something that would suit anyone. Our perfumes are like records, little armchair travel machines to make a landscape on your skin.

D.S. & Durga's Los Angeles store will be opening on June 8, 2023 at 1356 Abbot Kinney Blvd.