The entrance of Pitti Fragranze 21 ©Ermano
Pitti Fragranze 21 was held on September 15-17, 2023, with189 brands exhibiting of which140 were not from Italy and with a great presence of international buyers and press. I started working on my report right on the train back to Milan to note my first impression on fragrant discoveries, but as usual I will let them macerate, fitting together as the first lines of a wider puzzle, and will spend the next weeks to check back on all the fragrances to properly make up my mind. No doubt in three days I missed lots of amazing scents that hopefully I will try in the near future.
The Symbiotic Experience at Pitti Fragranze 21 ©Ermano Picco
This year’s theme takes us on a journey beyond the traditional boundaries of perception in a synthesis of senses combining art, craftsmanship, and artifice: Perception Reinvented. More and more the world of fragrances combines these expressions in a colorful, fluid, and up-to-date language enabled by AI within the metaverse framework to engage young audience. That’s exactly what the installation Symbiotic Experience set inside the Alcatraz Space of the Stazione Leopolda showcases, emotionally amplified by Alessandro Meistro’s soundtrack specifically composed for the event. The curators, journalists Paola Gariboldi and Susanna Macchia, called on four digital artists and four perfumers with the task of exploring new dimensions of sensing and enjoying fragrances.
Symbiotic Experience: Darkness Rewind, Nebulosa, Ethereal Blossom, Shaping Nature, left to right, top to bottom ©Ermano Picco
Fragrance by Serge Majoullier (a cocoa laden, powdery floral) – Mane
Digital Artwork by Giovanna Sala
Fragrance by Alberto Morillas (a jammy, dewy rose on a gauzy bed of musks) – DSM Firmenich
Digital Artwork by Bonnie Tsang
Fragrance by Coralie Spicher (a sticky, glossy raspberry wrapped in plastic bubbles) – DSM Firmenich
Digital Artwork by Gisella Alfieri Sabattini
Fragrance by Jérôme Di Marino (an intense white floral dipped in a microchips tea infusion) – Mane
Digital Artwork by Alex Valentina
Perfumers Coralie Spicher and Jérôme Di Marino gave insights on the making of their creations during the presentation conference of the exhibition, while Neuroscientist Anna D’Errico stressed how AI tools rely on specific words as a feed, which in visual and fragrant creators triggers specific brain areas, unlocking a smooth translation of images into smells.
Now let’s go through the best discoveries I made strolling through the booths.
Olivier Durbano White Stone Prophecy 19.1 ©Ermano Picco
My exploration starts from a rock-solid certainty, Olivier Durbano whose booth near the entrance is the same since many years. A new gem joins his Parfums des Pierres-Poême, Pierre Blanche Prophétie 19 :1.0 that’s a unique take on glowing ambrette absolute with a grain of signature incense. Radiating pureness and serenity, the fragrance feels like a morning walk in the forests, inhaling the foggy breath of trees.
Maria Candida Gentile ©Ermano Picco
After a few years hiatus, Maria Candida Gentile makes a welcome return to Fragranze with the new Viridarium, a creation inspired by the quintessential garden in ancient Roman Villas. Starting from the famous fresco found in the Villa of the Roman Empress Livia Drusilla, almost a handbook on botany and landscape architecture, the perfumer blended a timeless bouquet of citrus, chamomile, bittersweet herbs, and resinous woods infusing her distinctive emotional touch.
Estoras at Pitti Fragranze 21 ©Ermano Picco
The Austrian brand Estoras lines up two new creations after the charming Antal, a spiced, aromatic, and mineral dry woods composed by Marie Le Febvre conjuring the heat of the Sahara. The desert crossing in the footsteps of Prince Antal Esterházy and his friend Count Lászlo Almásy, the English Patient, goes on with Port of Alexandria and Shadows of Giza, both composed by Hungarian perfumer Zsolt Zolyomi. The first is a coniferous ozonic citrus which manages to be distinctive thanks to swirls of cold spices. The latter is a light floral chypre featuring a delicate floral tea accord sprinkled with the humid chill of basil juxtaposing the signature mineral touch running through the whole line.
Vadou and Coquet by Alexx and Anton ©Ermano Picco
One of the emerging trends at Pitti Fragranze 21 was the comeback of non-spray perfume. Together with a slight downturn of new releases, the bewildered customer looking for a less muscular aka overpowering perfume finds a match with brands like Alexx and Anton. The Berlin based creative duo coming from fashion dazzlingly entered the perfume game with a limited-edition capsule collection of two fragrances, Vaudou and Coquet composed by perfumer Will Inrig. The inspiration is the golden boy and his path to adult consciousness. A gorgeous amber, the first blends sweet and mineral resins to smoky and leathery notes. Intensely floral with a bouquet of rose, ylang-ylang and carnation, the latter also bears an addictive unctuousness with solar and chypre hints. The ultimate chic though is the Japanese porcelain flacon with the classic parfum stopper you can use to let a few drops on your pulse points.
Vérsatile Paris ©Ermano Picco
Another confirmation of the trend comes from Vérsatile Paris. Claiming that “size doesn’t matter”, the first offers affordable 15ml roll-on alcohol-free fragrances that can easily fit into a bag or a pocket. Secondary packaging is colorful perfect for Instagram, while scents are simple and pleasurable. Yet some bring a nice twist like the pistachio and basil laden Rital Date, inspired by Italy.
Voskanian Histoire d’une rose ©Ermano Picco
The bourgeoning of brands from emerging areas keeps bringing a breath of fresh air speaking about raw materials, and creativity. That’s the case of Armenian self-taught perfumer Voskanian at his third appearance in the Florentine Salon. After last year’s exquisitely juicy green Soie Verte, he introduced Histoire d’une rose, a gorgeous chypre rose empowered by rose oil from Aragyugh, in the Armenian highlands which usually is used in cosmetics. As I pointed out talking to Mr. Voskanian, you can totally feel its high-altitude sourcing from the amazing crispness reminiscent of Taif rose.
A quick selfie with Ida and Lauryn ©Ermano Picco
Last but not least, after a long time I was happy to see again my fellow ÇaFleureBon fragrant plumes Danu, Ida, and Lauryn from The United States and France. Time flies so fast when you have fun, and I wish I could have had more time to spend together. Looking forward to reading their reports from Florence!
-Ermano Picco, Editor and Fragrance Expert
Thanks to the generosity of Olivier Durbano, we have a sample of a favorite from Pitti Fragranze 21 of Olivier Durbano White Stone Prophecy 19.1. for one registered reader in the U.S., Canada , UK or the EU. YOU MUST REGISTER OR YOUR COMMENT WILL NOT COUNT. To be eligible, please leave a comment saying what struck you about Ermano’s event recap of Pitti Fragranze 21 Draw closes 10/1/2023
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