Defining Undefined at Pitti Fragranze 2018 – part 3

My second day at Pitti Fragranze was full of interesting and unexpected events. I tried many perfume on that day, met some new people & listened to some interesting conversations and panel discussions that broadened my horizons and taught me new things about scent culture in different parts of the world. In the evening some spontaneous actions resulted in having the most amazing dinner in Florence ever. Surrounded by 4 perfumers, 2 brand owners, fellow blogger and few more people by the table we enjoyed food, drinks and conversations. It was a good day.

Normally at the end of my 2nd day at the fair I would’ve been cautious to not stay out too long. It’s because I always had to pack all my stuff beforehand so that I could leave my rented room early in the morning to arrive at the airport on time. But not this year. Return flights were not in my favor either and Aeroporto di Bologna was closed for a few days including the weekend when I was in Florence. In the end I decided to stay in Italy for a bit longer and fly back home on Tuesday.

Used to having two days to discover things I wanted, this extra day that I got for the first time since I started going to Fragranze was very calm for me. I indeed tried most of the things on Friday and Saturday. In fact I dedicated Sunday to spending more time with people, since it’s them who create the entire atmosphere.After a few years people become more important than perfume. Also for the first time the show wasn’t open to public on final day which was clearly visible in the corridors that were not as crowded as usual. Weird choice to not allow potential costumers to enter.

I didn’t smell so much on that day, only a couple of perfume I missed earlier. For example Jasmagonda, a new proposal from Pierre Guillaume – a Collection Rework composition for Drama Nuui. It was a beautifully clear magnolia & jasmine scent with transparent and delicate facets. I also tested two scents from Parco 1923. Concept of this brand is to use ingredients obtained from plants that only grow in the region of Abruzzo. Fragrances were ok but didn’t stay in my memory. Another new try for me was 401 E. Amatrice. Their only perfume is bearing the same name as the brand and apparently contains 140 ingredients! I’m immune to such talk, how would I smell all that?

After having longer and insightful talks with many people around the fair, especially with Nick from Gallivant came the time to do some commemorative photos with them as well. Luckily nobody opposed. I also stopped by the booth of Map of the Heart, mostly because the other day we were walking down the street in Florence, next to each other and we didn’t recognize each other… They were launching White Heart dedicated to love – with aldehydes, white flowers, lavender and bit of spice. It smelled very unusual. And after recommendation from Alex I also smelled Antonio Alessandria Fara, a sparkling lemonade perfume but with a sweaty cumin undertone in the background. We also tried a range of Abel together. It’s an affordable line of all natural fragrances.

I had a great lunch with Alex Lee at a nearby cafe and a great chat with Stephanie Bakouche regarding my current position at work and how I can make a change. In chat with Cecile Zarokian I tried to find out about her recent work but her lips were sealed. That’s how Fragranze 16 was drawing towards its end. Even though it was open until 6 PM, many brands started packing around 4 PM. Everyone wanted to make it back home as soon as possible after these 3 tiring days.

Observation I (and not just me) made during this edition of Pitti Fragranze was that there was overally less brands exhibiting, fewer people visiting, many people looked tired. Some brands even stated that it’s probably their last time at the Florentine fair. Why? Because TFWA Exhibition (Tax Free World Association) in Cannes was happening only few weeks later. For most there was no reason to exhibit in both places and they opted for Cannes. There’s something else that disturbs me.

The fact is that none of the niche brands is big and rich enough to be able to actually have a stand in the main area at TFWA – this place is dominated by Dior, Guerlain, Chanel and tens of other brands you can see at the airport duty-free. So what niche does? Niche rents hotel suites or yahts to organize little showrooms where you can visit them by appointment. Surely a great way to scoop some audience, especially that masses of people visit Cannes for that exhibition.

I wonder if in next years Pitti Fragranze will slowly start to deteriorate… I sure hope not.

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17 thoughts on “Defining Undefined at Pitti Fragranze 2018 – part 3

  1. Holly says:

    Hi Lucas! I apologize for not commenting for quite a while.

    I just wanted to let you know how much I appreciate your commitment to sharing your impressions of Pitti with your readers. Earlier today, I read the Cafleurebon post about what is happening with brands choosing to show at venues separate from Pitti. That issue feels a bit complicated to me and I don’t really know what is behind it. Regardless, I sincerely appreciate that you took your time to attend the event and that you are sharing your thoughts and impressions here. Were you impacted by certain brands not showing at Pitti?

    I sense a profound ennui in the perfumista community – is it just me?

    • lucasai says:

      HOLLY! I was wondering where you were and if you were fine. You’ve been missed, hope you are okay.
      My pleasure, I could not expect that Pitti will be less important this year. I believe it’s money issues – having a stand at Pitti is expensive, apparently renting a suite in 5* hotel is still cheaper!
      I wasn’t impacted but I was sad that I couldn’t meet some of my friends there.

      It’s not just you, recent lack of creativity, ideas and passion is more visible

      • Holly says:

        Thank you! I’ve really missed being here.

        Did the brands that chose to present off-site in Florence send out some sort of notification? I would imagine that it might get a little hectic trying to experience as much as possible at Pitti and then move on to other venues as well.

        Well, I’m glad it’s not just me being my cranky old self when I expressed that I sense an ennui in the perfumista community. It is concerning, though. I’ve seen far fewer blogger posts reviewing new fragrances in the past year, and far fewer comments expressing excitement about new releases. I hope that others will chime in about this at some point, I’d really love to know what everyone else thinks.

        So, dear friend, you are greatly appreciated here because you remain engaged and interested and post reviews and go to Esxence and Pitti and then share your impressions here. Thank you so much for continuing to soldier on!

        • lucasai says:

          To be honest I didn’t get any notifications, invitations. I might have missed some during my holiday break but generally brands exhibiting outside are the ones that don’t excite me.

          I think people are just getting lazy and many blog readers moved to youtube because there they only have to watch and listen, plus youtubers organize many more giveaways than bloggers. Perhaps we are reaching The status of overly saturated market and it’s hard to find something unique.

          • Holly says:

            Ah, then you’re not missing much by not going outside of Pitti!

            Yes, I can understand that people might find YouTube easier but I don’t find it nearly as satisfying as reading a well-written and thorough review and being able to interact with the blogger and their readers.

            • Jillie says:

              Hello Holly – good to see you back!

              Totally agree with everything you and Lucas say. There is evidence that people – even seasoned parfumistas – are getting weary of the constant deluge of new, uninspired fragrances; we are bombarded with bottle after bottle every day and it’s just too much, we can’t keep that level of interest up and there is only so much juice each person can buy and possess. Less is more! Manufacturers have been in a frenzy to produce as much as possible as the profit margins are huge, but I think the market may have peaked.

            • lucasai says:

              I’m happy to see Holly back.

              Regarding to what you just said my dear Jillie, even at Esxence in spring this year I’ve heard many brands owners asking the question “is the perfume market oversaturated yet?”
              I also feel certain level of blase after JOY incident.

            • Holly says:

              Hello Jillie, and thank you for the warm welcome back! I agree, there’s just so much that anyone can absorb and it seems that many of us have reached the saturation point simultaneously in the last year.

              I miss the days of perfume blogs posting reviews consistently as I depended upon those to separate the wheat from the chaff. Tbh, I do still expect that, and our dear Lucas and a couple of other bloggers continue to come through and I really appreciate it. It will be very interesting to see what the “Best of 2018” lists reveal. I haven’t tried a darn thing this entire year!

  2. hajusuuri says:

    It is sad to see a deterioration of a once highly-attended event. And while not the same, I saw the same thing happen with Sniffapalooza (very low attendance and less enthusiasm by perfume companies to sponsor events). I think they should consider a change in venue (to the U.S.).

  3. Jillie says:

    Thank you, dear Lucas, for your descriptive account of Pitti and – most interesting – the personal bits about the people involved and the social side (especially the meals!).

    There is a melancholy air over the occasion this year …. I suppose nothing ever remains the same, but it is sad to think that Pitti might be fading away.

    • lucasai says:

      You are welcome Jillie, personal approach is the only one I can share after attending these events. A raw list of new brands, new perfume would’ve been so boring.

      I hope it’s maybe just this year that is more exhausting to everyone…

  4. Ricardo says:

    Good evening, I’ve been following your reviews here in Brazil for a long time and this time I was doubly sad because I realized your sadness in not getting anything that called attention and was worth it and for me here where everything is very difficult to obtain due to the taxation of my country and also with this and for what I realized 2018 will be a year that little we smell good and new things ….. congratulations for the work always and hugs of Brazil

    • lucasai says:

      Hi Ricardo and thanks for chiming in. It’s not that there are absolutely no good perfumes this year, but there’s definitely less of them in 2018 than in past years. No idea what’s causing that. So many things smell like ‘I’ve smelled it before’…

  5. Undina says:

    I’m sorry that you felt underwhelmed by this event. But I bet that a couple of months from now you’ll remember good time you had with people and a couple of perfumes that stood out, while the negative impressions will fade away.
    In general, I do not like the state of the industry: too many greedy players that have nothing to bring to the table other than their desire to make money. I miss those times when we all discussed the same new releases from several niche brands or got excited coming across a new and unknown one.
    Well, if not in our collections but in general out there we have enough great perfumes to last lifetime for any of the readers of your blog.

    • lucasai says:

      Me too my dear but I think you are right. Good things will remain while the bad ones will fade away from memory.
      Yes, perfumery- even niche is becoming more repetitive. We smell same stuff just in different bottles and under different names.
      Oh yes, we have more than enough to choose from for life

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