Photographer: Melika Shafahi
When Christmas comes, all lights are on, and cities are filled with colorful rays. It is winter; winter needs light; days are short, and sun is rare. These colorful lights bring warmth, and cold is forgotten. Western New Year is the time to be home, behind closed doors, protected from nature! But Norooz is all about the beauty of scents. It is reconciliation with nature; one becomes part of it. A meeting of the indoors with the outdoors, a time to invite nature in, with 7 “Seens” (which is the 15th letter of Persian alphabet). When Norooz comes, inside and outside become one, houses as well as streets smell fresh sprouts and Samanu.
Scents…. Norooz and spring are a mixture of scents to me. Why?
“It smells like spring!” is an expression used by many people around the world, but not all of them impregnate it with the scent of “Eid” (new year). Scents penetrate us and go deep. Unlike sight, they aren’t just an image of an object’s surface; they will take us instead on a journey within each object. With scents, we get to explore the deep private layers of humans, objects or beings. Scents are smooth snapshots of life, dreams we smell, we move from Paris to Tehran, from grandmother’s house to the unique stories of Amoo Norooz’s castles. Leaving reality because of a smell surely depends on the pollination of flowers and plants. Scents take us to places that are the most intimate, and full of mystery; “Haft Seen” gathers internal and external spaces and brings them together to be displayed on one table. This is the poetic nature of the Iranian New Year.
Each of the Seen’s unique scents influences the construction of emotions because of the direct relationship they have with the human subconscious. Iranians have long believed that pleasant aromas bring good spirits, and its healing powers protect the body. Scents act as implied promises of happiness, promises of recollection… they abolish borders by mixing inner and outer worlds.
I decided, in these borderless times of the New Year, to spread the experience of Haft Seen table’s bouquet of aromas; the experience of spring’s scents, the smell of hyacinth, smell of wheat, and all the rest of its magical notes. Like the seven Seens of Haft Seen, I asked seven people from seven different nations to participate and get lost with me in Haft Seen’s scents. Every person wears a clothing inspired by one of the Seens of Haft Seen, and in some way sees nature as part of their self through their clothes, the clothes become companions, they travel, they believe. Clothes, like scents, are part of the person; they connect to it and through it to outer space. And then I asked them to smell the Haft Sin and describe their experience, the experience that we will repeat every year.
Senjed was modeled by Maram Aboul Enein (Egypt).
Our Sumac was modeled by Bryan Birget (Chinese-Luxembourger) and his shirt was custom treated with Sumac.
Seeb was modeled by Michele Tancredi Vicenzi (Italian)
Samanu was modeled by Rebecca Daniels (Canada)
Sabzeh was modeled by Léa Bonneau (France)
Sekkeh was modeled by Elodie Piquet (Brazil)
Note: Sekkeh (coin) is one of complementary settings of Haft (7) Seen
Skirt: Tajali skirt @MaisonArazFazaeli (Preview from Maison Araz Fazaeli S/S 2016)
|Rezvan Farsijani Rezvan Farsijani is a fashion designer and a Phd student at Université Paris Pantheon-Sorbonne - Paris . You can follow her on Instagram @rezvanfarsijani|