My first day at Pitti Fragranze 2016 was filled with excitement and numerous emotions as I was smelling different perfumes. For me day 1 is usually the time to greet friends & all the people I knew before and finding out if they came up with something new. After that is a time to make totally new discoveries. Before I tell you about my second day at the fair I want to share one more thing from the day before that I skipped in part 1 post because I didn’t want it to be even longer.
So, on Friday, 9th of September there was one more conference that I attended. I was very eager to listen to it because the topic was very up-to-date. Subject of this very interesting conference was: What makes the big groups want to acquire your brand? It was a talk moderated by Chandler Burr and participants were Catherine Walsh (Walsh House), Lana Giazman (Estee Lauder) and Christophe Cervasel (Atelier Cologne). I had no idea that Christophe will be there. I’m always in touch with him and Atelier Cologne team via emails, we were even supposed to meet when I was on vacations in Paris last year but in the end it didn’t work out. The discussion was quite intense as there were many different opinions in the room. They talked about what makes niche such a tasty bite for cosmetic giants, about many different aspects of acquisition agreements and contracts. Finally when audience joined with questions the conversation moved on to brands that are obviously drowning after a big group bought them and if such state of thing is inevitable. Fans of Atelier Cologne can sleep peacefully as according to Christophe Cervasel, their contract with L’Oreal includes a clause that brand founders are being given creative freedom. Which means L’Oreal won’t interfere in perfumer’s work. I believe in what he said and feel relieved as a fan of the brand. After this event came to an end I approached Christophe, we talked like friends for around 20 more minutes.
Now we can finally move to what I have smelled on Saturday.
Day 2 – 10th of September
I started my day by having a meeting with Neela Vermeire. At this edition of Pitti Fragranze she was presenting her latest collaboration with perfumer Bertrand Duchaufour. The perfume is named Rahele (traveller) and is inspired by trips of Jean-Baptiste Tavernier, Francois Bernier and Jean Thévenot to India. The perfume is a meeting of East and West. For the moment NVC doesn’t give any specific notes for their new perfume and as I was sitting together with Neela, she kept putting my nose to the test. During 30 minutes we had I managed to discover 6 ingredients which she confirmed were correct. More details about this fascinating perfume soon.
Then I was off to see Jean-Philippe Clermont, founder of Atelier des Ors. His stand was located among other brands represented by Kaon and those bottles were definitely eye-catching thanks to their sparkly glass facets and flakes of gold floating inside the bottles. The brand has just introduced a new scent – Iris Fauve. It’s a pretty and powdery iris and musky back note that becomes very sensual and seductive over time. Iris lovers should check it out.
Right next to it was a small stand of Laboratorio Olfattivo. In the central point of their table they displayed MyLO and Nun, two fragrances I wrote about earlier. There was a 3rd new fragrance for which Pitti Fragranze was a first occasion to show it publicly. The scent was named Nerotic. I thought it stands for a combination of words neroli + erotic (which I would be very keen on trying) but in fact it was a mix of words nero (black) + erotic. Unfortunately I don’t remember how this one smelled like and I didn’t get a sample either because there was no one from the brand around.
Next I paid a quick visit to Mert Guzel and Murat Katran, guys behind Nishane. They are still focusing on Fan Your Flames and Hundred Silent Ways which have been very succesful since their launch at Esxence. The brand is getting a lot of attention from visitors and they are still working on distribution in more countries. I certainly wish them good luck and look forward to their future ideas.
The following point of my agenda was a stand of 4160 Tuesdays. Decorated with various cups and mugs like an English tea party you could smell the perfumes by bringing a cup to your nose, almost as if you wanted to take a sip from it. Perfumer Sarah McCartney is an absolutely charming and positively quirky person. At the fair she wore a jacket covered with drawings of flowers in vivid colors. She was impossible to miss because of that. I especially liked her Paris 1948 which is a classic chypre and a funny named Mother Nature’s Naughty Daughters.
In early afternoon I finally made it to the stand of Parfums Dusita where I also caught up with Megan. Meeting Pissara Umavijani, a perfumer who created this brand was a great experience, especially that I see a lot of her on perfume groups on Facebook and we are in touch every now and then. She debuted with her perfume trio only 6 months ago and is very succesful already. Her perfumes are getting a lot of love. In Florence we could discover 2 new creations that Pissara made, those are named Le Sillage Blanc and La Douceur de Siam. First one is a modern take on Bandit by Robert Piguet – smoky, leathery and heavy. Latter one is a sensuous and spicy amber composition. Both present very high level of quality and belong to my Pitti Fragranze 2016 top 5.
After having fun with Ploi I smelled new releases from Oliver & Co. and perfumer Oliver Valverde. He blended two new creations and gave them names Vaninger which is a vanilla perfume spiced with lots of ginger; and Ambergreen which is an ambery scent with green notes in it. They were nice and I will be checking them out when I finally start going through my Pitti Fragranze 2016 box.
Finally came the time for my meeting with Puredistance. It was very looking forward to it because the brand was showing for the first time their latest perfume made in collaboration with Cecile Zarokian. Luck has it that Cecile and I know each other, I managed to organize things so that my scheduled meeting with Mary Gooding of Puredistance also included Cecile. So the three of us sat together and smelled Sheiduna. It was a great meeting because I could hear directly from a perfumer how did she conduct the creation process. She also told us that she worked with really expensive materials like rose oil, tonka bean absolute or ambergris among others. The perfume is beyond beautiful. It’s warm and filled with sensuality. Plus the longer you smell it on your skin, the more addictive it becomes. With such fragrance even winter won’t be so cold. I was also happy that after all these years I could finally meet Jan Ewoud Vos. He also told me about a special project he is working on. It’s exciting and I really look forward to smell the final result of that assignment.
Following previous years tradition, InterTrade organized this special, closed section of Pitti Fragranze called Unscent. It features only brands in this distributor portfolio and I always have a feeling that these are somehow less known and less popular brands that are displayed at Unscent. To me the biggest problem is that you cannot meet people who stand behind these brands or even a representative delegated from InterTrade. The perfumes are only standing there, you can small as much as you want but that’s it. Still I liked their idea of “guess who’s coming to dinner” – perfumes were standing on plates around knives, forks and glasses as if you came to a fancy dinner. Brands that I could notice there included A Lab on Fire or Agonist among others.
Another perfume that joins my top 5 new releases shown in Florence is a new creation by Maria Candida Gentile. She composed a beautiful and realistic woody citrus fragrance that transports you to Azerbaijan tropical forest in the Caspian Sea area. It’s as happy as walking around the orange groves. It’s name is Lankaran Forest. I wish I could experience it earlier – it feels very summery.
Couple of more releases that I couldn’t even talk about with brand representatives and that left me rather indifferent included Etat Libre d’Orange Attaquer Le Soleil Marquis Sade (such a long name!) or new Parfumerie Generale 27 Limanakia. But on the contrary there was a lovely Cuir Andalou (slightly tweaked compared to the one from half a year ago) by Rania J.
There was also this new brand named Di Ser. This Japanese brand seemed to be getting a lot of attention. When day 2 was almost over I decided to check for myself what all the hype is about. I have to admit that as much as I liked those minimalistic bottles and their 30 ml size I didn’t really fancy any of their perfumes. Especially that 3 or 4 included some nasty oud and few more had hinoki (Japanese cypress) which was a no for me. Well, at least I tried them and found one that was okay.
Finally I tried perfumes from brand known as Beaufort. They were all very dark and mischievous, kind of nasty in their smoky and black oddity. Totally not my style but I was happy I smelled the to learn how weird a perfume could smell. Still there will be people who will like this kind of fragrance.
In the evening I had a dinner with Megan. We wanted to go to that fancy restaurant we saw the other night but you couldn’t get in without reservation until 22:30… So the evening before we booked a table for a reasonable dinner hour. Since we had a few hours after day 2 at Pitti finished, Megan went on a date with Uffizi art gallery while I went for a walk around the city to admire some if its sights.
I walked along River Arno taking pictures of bridges that I was passing, as well as the sculptures that were “guarding” each of them. Eventually I made it to the most famous bridge in Florence – Ponte Vecchio. From there I wandered around busy streets of Florence old town and made it to Piazza della Signoria with its famous Palazzo Vecchio. After I’ve seen it’s fountains and sculptures I went to see the Duomo, the cathedral in Florence. It’s a monumental building made of white and green marble. It makes a breathtaking impression. After I’ve seen all that I walked my way back to the river where I met Megan and we went off to the restaurant.
She was leaving the next morning, I still had a little bit more time.
Day 3 – 11th of September
On the final day of Pitti Fragranze, unlike 2 previous editions I attended, I didn’t have to leave Florence very early in the morning in order to fly back to Poland. This year the plane was departing in the afternoon, meaning that I had time until 11:30 before I had to leave in order to get to the airport in Bologna on time. So effectively I had 90 minutes to say goodbye to everyone.
During that short time I smelled Essence of the Park, a lovely, fresh floral developed for Carthusia by Luca Maffei. I also quickly met with Filippo Sorcinelli of UNUM. After his last creations launched at Esxence he now continues the idea in a new brand – Sauf. He created 3 perfumes with incense that are inspired by church organ music. UnerMi developed OrAnge with Cecile Zarokian. Last point was checking Maitre Parfumeur et Gantier and their new Ambre Mythique, to my surprise I met Ann Gerard there. She now does press and social media stuff for them.
And that’s how my visit to Pitti Fragranze 2016 came to an end. After 12 exciting days in Italy came the time to go back to Poland. I had so much fun visiting Naples, Venice, Verona, Bologna and finally Florence to discover what’s new in niche perfumery. Those last days at the fair passed especially fast as I was having a great time together with Megan and all the perfume people.
All this is a past now but memories are made of bliss and will stay with me forever.