WE TALK. WE MEET
A conversation with Shahar Atwan and Aviva Zilberman. Edited by Natalie Shafrir.
I remember seeing this women swaying in her sunshine colored pants. That’s my first memory of her. We were in the garden of a private house, at a friend's wedding. Later, when everyone took their seat by the dinner table, we kept on dancing, wiping off the sweat that lingered down our necks with a smile. She reached out with a firm thin arm and said “Aviva Zilberman. Pleasure”.
Since, Aviva and I have been friends. I see her every morning en route when I walk the dog; Her flagship store - opened 8 years ago - is a bubble of beauty in the neighborhood. Then, one day, almost a year ago, she confided in me her dreams of a future website. Of the ideas, the designs, the anticipation. “But how do you remain a kind host, in the cloud?” she whispered her puzzle in confession. “How do you replace a look of an eye that lets someone know you’re taking care of them?”. She wanted to deepen the thought, so we set to meet the next day for an afternoon drink on the bench outside her store.
“Good afternoon Aviva”, she was greeted constantly by friendly bypassers. It was a sunny winter day and the light stroke her shiny dark hair bright as she poured us each a glass of Rosé. Some of the children from the next-door kindergarten ran to her window with a smile. They knew she always returns the favor, and if they’re lucky it comes with some candy too.
The 35 year old designer has a mischief smile to her even when the kids aren’t around. Just like them, she knows, but she’s always curious just the same.
AZ: “For instance, I’m thinking” - she delve right in - “I know exactly who is in my store at any given moment. Look, each person that passes by, I can see them. I know who I’m in dialogue with. But how can I know with the site who just walked in?”.
SA: “Are you kidding? There are plenty of way to get information about your visitors nowadays”.
AZ: “Yes, but I can’t offer them the courtesy of a smiling eye and I’m not willing to waver the encounter. That’s why the site is taking so long. Because when you walk into my shop you’re never simply walking into the shop. Yes, it has hangers, and flowers, and clothes. But the clothes aren’t simply meant to be beautiful and the space isn’t just a functional space to show the clothes either”.
SA: “I see where you’re going. It’s a place where things meet”.
AZ: “YES! When a woman comes in, and she tries something on, I watch her; Does she stretch straight with pleasure when she looks in the mirror? Did she discover something new of herself wearing this dress? I want to be there with her. To remind her that she’s allowed to move freely. It’s my clinic. It’s where I give care”.
SA: “Ok. Then don’t give up the encounter. Create a new one. It seems that’s what the site is asking of you”.
AZ: “I think an entrance always summons conversation. So maybe conversations in the cloud? I might even bring this conversation up there”.
SA: Conversations in the cloud!
AZ: Conversations and smells! A new encounter.
- After much anticipation, The Scent Series was finally launched last year -
AZ: “I think smell is essential for having a round experience. Fragrances are a huge part of my life. The way I experience things, the way I feel, and remember”.
SA: “The store always had an amazing smell. Soft and natural; so welcoming. I remember it used to move with me throughout the day. Even in the store, it would move throughout the day.
AZ: It was important for me from the start that you would recognize the smell here like you do the smell at your home. As if to say without words: welcome, you’ve arrived. You can rest here. And just like with the clothes, the scents have a language and a tone, but then they take on the character of she who wears them; something that decorates but at the same time seems to have no appearance at all”.
SA: “Do you feel it made the encounters deeper?”.
AZ: After a while some of my guests confessed to me that they used to love to walk in even if just for a moment to wiff in the fresh notes of thyme and white tea; I think for many it became a valuable part of their dialogue with me and with the place. And now, being able to offer these scents as part of the brand is a way of deepening the intimacy between us. A promise from me to her that she is being taken care of, even more”.
Her renowned smile turns into a loud airfull laugh.
SA: “What?? Why are you laughing??”
AZ: “Because I’m such a sucker. But you know what? That’s would be my only request of anyone who walks through the door; trust me, I’ll take care of you”.