Pitti Immagine Fragranze Event Profile

October 1, 2011

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With Special Photograhs from the Event...

By Italian Correspondent Marika Vecchiattini
Co-Founder, creator and artist of A Dozen Roses, Sandy Cataldo, signing bottles
From Friday 9th to Sunday 11th September, Florence hosted the ninth edition of Pitti Immagine Fragranze, an outstanding event to discover the new names and latest trends in contemporary olfactory culture.

194 international brands were present this year, ranging from artistic and selective perfumery to exclusive cosmetics and body care products. The attendance showed a significant +12% with respect to 2010, with increasing buyers coming from Germany, Switzerland, Spain, Japan, United Arab Emirates, South Korea and Eastern European countries, all coming to Florence to learn about new products, lines and olfactory trends.

Among the scheduled events, a lecture by Francis Kurkdjian, conferences and presentations by Bertrand Duchaufour, Amanda Brooke (Grossmith London), Yosh, Emilie Bouge (Brecourt), Meo Fusciuni, Simonetta Giurlani Pardini (SL – Segreti di Lucca) and others.

My exploration in search of exciting news started with the new three extrait scents by James Heeley: Amandiere, Agarwood and Bubblegum Chic, all in a surprisingly powerful extrait concentration:

“James, you’re appreciated for your airy, light, transparent way of working notes! Are you exploring new paths?”

“Yes and no: every perfume takes life in its own way, and these three were born just… intense. Moreover I was happy because they gave me opportunity to work with different raw materials, that I generally don’t use”.

They'll be in stores later on this autumn (he's focusing on the design of bottle and cap, right now) and will show a new direction in James' taste and vision: more structure, more bones, more power!

In the next area I could explore two new scents by Penhaligon's: Juniper Sling and Esprit du Roi, and I much appreciated them both. The former, composed by Olivier Cresp (Firmenich) takes inspiration from the world-famous London Dry Gin Cocktail, it's a woody/aromatic scent with spices and green notes of angelica root, juniper berry, orris and vetiver.

Extremely dry and invigorating, I loved it because juniper is perfectly complemented with other elements to achieve a 360° effect of crystal brightness and dry refinement. Parfait!

Esprit du Roi, a rendition of a 1983 scent, is the new addition in Penhaligon's Anthology line, and is signed by Bertrand Duchaufour.

It masterfully melts many recognizable fresh garden notes (mint, tomato leaf, raspberry, citrus notes, geranium) into a blend of exotic, darker notes like precious woods, ambergris, African stone, davana (a raw material that Bertrand Duchaufour loves most), for a dry feeling amazingly oscillating between extra-cold and extra-warm.

This is an intoxicating scent, not so easy to understand at first sniff, but of immediate impact. After all, sometimes you don't need to know why you like it, to know that you like it.

Then, I took a seat to follow Francis Kurkdjian lecture on “Being a Perfumer”,where he shared his thoughts and visions about his profession and explained something of the perfumed installation “La Lumiere des Innocents”(The light of the Innocents) on show that night at the “Istituto degli Innocenti”, a catholic institution created 600 years ago in Florence to help parentless children to survive and achieve an education.

Francis Kurkdjian stated in his speech; “Everything I do, comes not from my nose, but from my spirit; when I was invited in Florence, I was shown different venues suitable for an installation, but I wanted to create something completely different from what I did in Versailles or in other places. Then I arrived at the Istituto degli Innocenti, and I realized I was having my sandwich under an extraordinary frescoed Renaissance cupola, and I was moved by the spirit of this special place, where children had been living for centuries. I think an installation has to be site-specific, you have to respect the place, and let the spirit of the site talk”.

And at night we understood the message perfectly: hundreds and hundreds of candles lighted up the place with a myriad of tiny sparks -symbolizing the many thousands of children who used to live there through centuries- shining with a delicate glow while their warm, sweet scent evoked their souls, the joyous laughter resonating among the walls for centuries.  A deeply moving experience, leaving a special mark into the souls of the people who experienced it.

Back at Pitti, I literally fell in love with Andrea Maack's perfume works, named  Smart, Craft, Sharp, Dark and Silk. She's is a visual artist from Reykjavik, and didn't know anything technical about perfumery: she worked on her drawings to suggest certain concepts, and then sent them to Grasse where perfumers worked to shape her visions into scents. Though different in notes, (woody, gourmand or flowery) they all share the same extreme essentiality, delicacy and meditation, as if the northern light of Iceland, as bright as ice and as transparent as crystal, radiated from them on the skin.

Francis Kurkdjian's, “La Lumiere des Innocents” display
Francis Kurkdjian's, “La Lumiere des Innocents”
Bertrand Duchaufour
Francis Kurkdjian “Being a Perfumer”

Among other outstanding scents presented at Pitti Fragranze were Mona di Orio's amazing interpretation of the “Oud” note, Annick Goutal's Mon Parfum Cheri, par Camille, Olivier Durbano's “Citrine” and the new L'Artisan Parfumeur “Mon Numero” series by Bertrand Duchaufour.

The author explained to the public that they all have different inspirations: an olfactory theme he particularly loves, a dear remembrance, the homage to a great classic he deeply admires... For the moment 9 scents have been created: Numèro 1, 3 (n.2 has been sold privately to a lady who fell in love with it), 4, 6 (N.5 doesn't exist), 7,8,9. Each country will distribute a purposely composed scent/number, in Italy it will be Numèro 6, a blend of exotic fruits and a hint of vodka introducing cold, metallic, mineral notes, as if the first drops of monsoon showers have just started falling on hot concrete and asphalt. Fresh, dry and charmingly weird with a gourmand side, perfectly wearable like all Bertrand's works, must be worn on skin to better appreciate its multifaceted construction.

As far as Italy is concerned, I found Koh-Do, the new addition in SL Segreti di Lucca line a pleasantly dry and woody interpretation of incense, while I got struck by Blood Concept, a new brand showcasing four scents dedicated to blood groups 0, A, B, AB.

The scents are characterized by the absence of flowers, substituted by metallic notes reminiscent of blood, and are intended as an original way to explore how blood developed over the millennia to follow the human race evolution. Blood is a sort of ancestral archive keeping trace of mutations happened during the human history, from the original group 0 identifying the first human hunters of pre-history, to the more urban and cultured  AB group developed in more recent times. Interesting and culturally challenging, I’ll have to go deeper into it.

Of course there was much more to smell, but it turned out that two full days were only enough time to smell half of the scents I wanted to smell.

And in the meantime, scouting activities to bring up-and-coming talents to Florence for the 2012 edition have just started...

Marika Vecchiattini

All phtographs by Marika Vecchiattini