PITTI FRAGRANCES 2017: Perfumes from an exposition
The 15th edition of Pitti Fragranze, an event dedicated to artistic perfumery, was held from September 8th to 10th at Leopolda in Florence.
About 2,200 visitors from over 50 countries came to the capital of Tuscany to experience 220 brands (63% of which International).
France remains the reference market of the showroom, followed by Russia, Germany, the United Kingdom, Spain, Switzerland, the Netherlands, the United Arab Emirates, Ukraine, Japan, and the United States.
The adjective ‘artistic’ linked to this event is substantial, and it is no coincidence that this event takes place in a city symbolizing the arts. Florence, and therefore Italy, thus become an international reference for perfumes created with a customized logic, sought after by those who wish to add an ingredient to their life and well-being that is also an element of distinction.
At H&PC Today, we often present articles and interviews about the perfumery world to offer our readers information on such topics.
We mentioned ‘artistic’ and, in fact, instead of calling the event a fair we should perhaps call it an exposition which, in order to be understood, fully experienced, and assimilated, required expert guides to aid us in the task.
Our guides in Florence were Michelle and Dominique Moellhausen, passionate perfumers and respectively R&D Manager and Creative Lab Manager of their family company (Moellhausen Spa), whom we thank for their precious companionship in an experience which highlighted the artistic value of the single perfumer.
Generally speaking, a number of operators and observers of the 2017 edition confirmed a trend in the shift of focus from France as a point of interest, as benchmark of creative expression in the industry, to Italy. This is quite positive for Italy, and in recalling the perhaps slightly overused Made in Italy brand, it only makes sense that the panorama of excellences which distinguishes the Italian Industry today should also include high perfumery. This market segment is a niche seeing important, growing numbers in terms of consumer interest, and hence volume and turnover.
During our visit we stopped at some stands which, without making any other exhibitors lesser, aroused particular interest with the originality of their proposals. Michelle and Dominique’s contribution was essential for getting the full olfactory experience of the products displayed and the messages their creators wanted to convey.
One striking and obvious aspect of the event was the presence of young, fresh faces. There were many young perfumers at the fair with provocative presentations, both in the products presented and in the communication of the messages they wanted to convey, as youth representing a growing business model.
MEMORIES AND STORYTELLING
One such example is the career path of Francesca dell’Oro, who has become a reference point in the field as an exemplary young businesswoman. Prompted by Michelle and Dominique, Francesca spoke to us of the path she has pursued with determination, especially considering her family background (Francesca is a jeweler’s daughter) where she “breathed” the world of luxury, the faceting of precious stones, the jewels, the rich packaging. She studied communication and the sociology of consumers for years, then pursued a career in the world of fashion. Along this personal path, her transition to perfumes was almost natural. Today, Francesca Dell’Oro offers a range of perfumes featuring very original packaging (arising from 72 hours of consultation with one of the best Italian designers) reminiscent of the world of precious stones from her family background, which in her proposal becomes a precious treasure chest of olfactory emotions.
Francesca’s personal story expresses another crucial aspect of this world, which is that of “narration” and “storytelling”. The perfumer tells of himself and draws from his experience, personal history, and inspiration, which then translates into the emotion of his creations, emotion which he must then urgently and joyfully share.
An example of this is the Sergio Scaglietti perfumes created by Simone Scaglietti.
Sergio Scaglietti was the mythical Ferrari mechanic who built some of the cars that have become legend at the company’s Maranello headquarters. His grandson Simone has translated these family feelings and memories into perfumes that are inextricably linked to the world of cars. At Pitti Fragranze, Simone Scaglietti presented four fragrances: Racing Steal made as a memory of having met Roberto Rossellini and Ingrid Bergman when his grandfather made a custom car for them; Racing Orange inspired by the legendary TESTAROSSA; Racing Green dedicated to Clay Ragazzoni, who visited the Scaglietti home two days before his tragic death; and Racing Yellow with notes of fig and vanilla, representing Simone’s memory of his favorite homemade cake: a strong, nostalgic flavor from childhood.
Pitti Fragranze devoted a round table to this theme, “Ethics and Sustainability in the niche perfumery”, moderated by Fabrice Leclerc - entrepreneur and teacher at Bocconi University in Milan. Leclerc has collaborated with the ethical fashion team of the United Nations, Google, Nespresso, L’Oréal, and Alessi. Leclerc animated the meeting attended by Julian Bedel (Fueguia 1833), Lana Glazman (Vice President Corporate Innovation Estée Lauder Companies), Luc Carrière (Environment Manager - Sustainable Development Coordinator, MANE), Beatrice von Thurn und Taxis (Partner and CEO of Susanne Kaufmann Kosmetik, Hotel Post Bezau), and Paolo Goi (Technical Director - Director of R & D and Innovation, Davines).
Even if “sustainability” is a complex term for all the implications and facets it invokes, there is no doubt that the first thought, the “color” that we immediately evoke in our imaginations based on the senses is above all that of green, the reference to nature.
Anna Paghera’s perfumes at the Paul Roses stand are a perfect and immediate example of this. Michelle Moellhauesen explained how her basic concept begins with her name: the Paghera family has always worked with nature in the creation of gardens, and the entire philosophy behind these perfumes starts from green and develops its olfactory expression from there.
The intriguing collection called Porzioni dell’Anima was featured at Pitti: each package offers a perfume which is reminiscent of a place and intimate hints, where each carries its own unique message, such as Rosso di Cipro inspired by the cult of Venus, or Verde di Kent with its strong evocative capacity.
Michelle led us through her olfactory analysis on the spot, defining them as very direct perfumes to those who welcome them.
The Elisir line was quite captivating: six perfumes, each with their own message to convey, reminiscent of the medieval world and the work of ancient herbalists, such as “Felix” Elixir of happiness, or number 9, “La salute”, a very clear message (‘salute’ means health in Italian).
Green was the blatant protagonist at the GRANDIFLORA FRAGRANCE stand. Its founder Saskia Havekes first opened a flower shop in Sydney in 1995, which is still open. In little time her business evolved into the creation of perfumes that obviously come from nature; she presented five perfumes at the fair, from Magnolia to Boronia, which she presented at Pitti for the first time: launching the perfume here was quite a significant choice. “Boronia” come from the Rutaceae family (lemons, oranges, limes, etc.) and are named after their discoverer, the Italian Pranis Borone.
The fact that an Australian company was here presenting in Tuscany clearly underlines the event’s international scope, and Havekes said she was pleasantly surprised and happy to have made so many contacts with both Italians and foreigners visiting her stand.
IMAGES AND VISIONS
Art, images, inspirations: the Parisian company Parfumerie Particuliere has an interesting vision of the perfumery which leads them to define themselves as fragrance “concepteurs” rather than “parfumeurs”. These terms are perhaps difficult to translate, yet comprehensible given the phonetic similarity with French and English. In this case the connection with the world of art is immediate, direct, and clean, just as Michelle Moellhausen commented: each face has its perfume, and each perfume has its face. Here we have a customization level that is taken to the extreme: a handcrafted perfume pushed even further with the handmade bottle created by an Italian designer with blown glass reminding us of the Murano school, meshed with concrete.
These scents have a long gestation process, and the search for refined noses brought Anne Sophies Behagel and Amelie Bourgeois to the company: proven pioneers with a strong dose of audacity and unconventionality. Just to give you an idea, one of the perfumes exhibited referenced the smell of asphalt and car tires on a hot summer day.
THE SECTOR’S MARKETING BOOSTERS
There is no question that marketing is one of the propelling forces of this industry. The experience of the distributor ESSENSES is quite interesting, as they create perfumes based on relations with the public. At participating shops, the public could participate by offering suggestions, requests, and input that were then collected by the perfumers; the products that are then made are voted on in stores. Thus they created an interactive process where the public becomes a key player in the creative process by contributing to the perfume’s customization.
This same public becomes the protagonist in the original Scent Bar, a company from Cesena that was founded in an artisan workshop in 2009, where in the setting of an olfactory bar and following an interview, the customer is offered a “menu” where they can choose the ideal perfume from 18 different fragrances.
“Scents dominate our lives and perfumes are the beautiful, desirable part of that,” Dominique Moellhausen told us. Because perfume is an increasing key element of our daily lives, whether it be in a shaving cream, soap, shampoo, detergent, or fabric softener.
We wear perfumes on our bodies to satisfy a need for personal well-being, and for distinction and socialization. The market offer is quite impressive in its number of proposals and range of perfumes. The choice is always personal and certainly influenced by personal taste and also by price. In this sense, the world of Pitti Fragranze is part of an objectively exclusive circuit. At the same time however, it represents a model, stimulates trends, becomes a point of reference for all industry professionals and for consumers.
As we were reminded by Michelle Moellhausen at the end of our journey into this Florentine olfactory exhibition, “The customization of perfume speaks directly to the person, to the individual, to his or her inner world, and creates an ideal that escapes the dynamics of standardization, putting the individual at the center.” For this reason, Pitti Fragranze can also be considered an ideal shared by anyone, a yearning to return to a “more human” life. Man needs to live through feelings, visions, dreams. Otherwise he would be a robot. In this sense, Pitti Fragranze has offered us a strong message about life.