Friday : 5ive with Doll Perfumier Rocker Dana Varon

Dana Varon photo by Georgia Kuhn
Dress with faux fur by Octopi
Dana Varon is, in her own words, a rocker, an actress, a fashion writer and an animal lover (that’s Jelly, her blind rescue dog, in the second pic, below). I’ve seen her perform, singing achingly sweet melodies with her signature

raspy voice as she accompanies herself on her cool white-racer-striped black electric guitar at nearby EV bars. “Momma’s Man,” the 2008 movie she plays Laura in, is out on DVD. Her blog Living DollDV serves as her sounding board for all things creative and she’s covered NYFW for Dossier Journal and She’s also the creator of Doll perfume oil, which is sold through her website and at retail venues like Grey Era Vintage, (psst! we told you about that a couple weeks ago!). And as you can see, she’s a living doll herself, which I can testify to also, since she’s my neighbor and friend in the building and is as sweet and adorable a doll-like individual as you will ever want to meet.

Jelly  with Dana; photo by Georgia Kuhn
Her first oil creation, Doll in Suntanned, has been on the market for just a couple of years. It’s one of my favorite scents, combining orange blossom with a grassy note that somehow smells sweet and beachy. Starry Eyed is her lighter scent, and as of last night, she just launched Grav-i-tate by Project Soulmate — her current collaboration with Love Broker/Project Soulmate‘s Lori Zaslow & Jennifer Zucher (matchmakers on the current Bravo TV show), at a party at the Union Square W.  Grav-i-tate has more of a vanilla-based top note scent with the subtle headiness of underlying musk.
We love Dana, love Doll and decided that, with the launch of her latest perfume, she had to be FashionWhirled’s subject for this week’s Friday : 5ive!

  What role does scent and fashion, play in your everyday life and when was that first moment that you knew you had become deeply involved in fashion (i.e., as a child or teen)?

Dana Varon:  Scent and fashion def play a role in my everyday life because to me they are both forms of expression, feeling and who you are. Everyone has a certain style (though I change mine often) and scent that makes them uniquely them; being a musician I always loved that fashion can help to get across an artistic view along with smell, think of all the great artists, they all had a look and you can imagine what they smelled like – ha. Smell is nostalgic to me and always was – as a kid I used to have those Strawberry Shortcake dolls with the colored hair (there was a blue berry one. too) and they smelled so good, loved those (apparently still love the pink/blue hair thing).

I also remember stowing away my mom’s Halston perfume and grandma’s Ambrose by Dana, ironically, in my bathroom cabinet – then as a teen I would come home and wash my hair again if it smelled like smoke or food, my old friends can vouch for this one! Also in my teens, I still wore those decadent perfumes, but started mixing wearing oils and balms and continued that until, well, now. I think that started from going to my friend’s country house near Woodstock to the little shops that had them and Grateful Dead shows, plus also having an affinity for the luxurious perfumes I was exposed to as a kid. Notice how I answered this fashion question with a scent answer, still obsessed with scent. Fashion for me first came from my mom who was authentically stylish & magazines that I used to read front to back as a teen, still do, just finished Harper’s Bazaar last night and LOVE mag is on my ottoman. My parents used to take my sister and me shopping in the city, old SoHo before it was so commercialized to Anna Sui, that flea market, etc., my mom loved Bloomingdale’s so I was there from when I was in a stroller. That all shaped me too.

FW:   Who is your fashion muse(s) and what importance do he/she/they play in your career as a perfume designer in particular and as a person in general?

Marianne Faithfull

DV:   Wow, this is a hard one for me because I have a bunch. You know I love the rock dolls – Marianne Faithfull, just adored her look with the bangs and sideburns and tailored pieces that worked so well with it all on her, Stevie Nicks with all of her lace and capes, platforms, rings and Courtney Love’s older dark bowed and baby doll look, plus her current glamourous clothing and line she is making – she is underrated with fashion. I also love Grace Coddington’s (Vogue) eye and her images have definitely shaped me. They are just gorgeous. Oh and Robert Plant.

Stevie Nicks

I just get inspired by so many every day – that’s partially why I started my blog. I am newly inspired all the time and document it there. All the music I listen to, all the images I see, experiences, places I have been/go indoors and out – they all help shape what I create. Scent is so nostalgic to me so usually it will start from me wanting to create something I remember, capturing the smell of a favorite place, time or thing, or to evoke a certain type of feeling. It’s all tied into one for me in my life.

FW:    If you could have any notable person – dead or alive – wear your Doll essential oil, who would it be and which scent do you think they would choose?

DV:  My mom. I think she would choose Grav-i-tate because she loved vanilla and a more powdery type of note or maybe Starry Eyed because she also liked clean and light. Though when she was younger she would have added Suntanned in there as well for it’s stronger sexier side.

FW:   What is, to you, your most impressive piece of clothing that you own now or have owned ever going back to the first fashion thing you can remember?

DV:  Right now,  I have these two vintage bustiers that are so beautiful, one is white covered in white lace flowers all over it and the other is a sort of halter strapped black Lolita Lempicka one. I also have this long purple velvet cape.

Lolita Lempicka bustier, possibly similar to the one Dana adores

FW:   What are your words to live by, for example, if there was an affirmation or quote  or sentiment for you as Doll the essential oil designer and/or as Dana the individual, what would that be?!

DV:   To be free, be real, follow your heart/gut & be kind. Try to do what you love, make & surround yourself with beauty and send it back out. I just want to make people feel good.

Endless Summer…What a Suntanned Doll!

Strolling down 7th Street the other day, I caught an irresistible fragrant wave. Not what you might be thinking, this being the sweaty, sultry dog days of August in New York City. An aromatic delight, it was wafting out of Teich Designs, one of the East Village’s coolest new boutiques. The scent of sweet suntan oil, salty like the surf, coaxed me into the adorable store. I should have known. It was Doll in Suntanned, my neighbor Dana Varon’s latest creative endeavor.

A natural perfume oil that our favorite resident rocker, actress and writer hand mixes, the aroma often languishes in our apartment building’s lobby, either from The Doll herself breezing out to walk her dog or floating from her “liquid laboratory” as she prepares her potions for consumer consumption.

Inside Teich (pronounced “Tie-shh,” the owner’s maiden name, which in German means pond and is part of the driving force behind the boutique’s greater design and retail philosophy), I had the pleasure of speaking briefly with designer Allison Teich McGowan about her eco-friendly handbags in materials like hemp and the earth-aware products from re-purposed to recycled jewelry and sunglasses she carries from other East Village artists.

Doll’s a perfect fit at Teich. Not only is the scent natural, but Doll molds its fragrance to each individual who rolls it across her skin. Consisting of top notes of orange blossom and light musk, the grapeseed-based oil smells distinctly different on everyone. Another neighbor and I tested the perfume and each of us got unique results. Don’t be afraid to share with all your friends!

Enjoying write ups in Nylon and Lucky, Doll in Suntanned, currently available at Teich on East 7th St., Poppy on Mott, Ellen on Ludlow and Susan Ciminelli’s Spa NYC uptown, is the perfect summer suntan scent, guaranteed to make your summer last all year long.