Finally after an epic extended train journey (one missed stop that pushed my connections out by four hours!) I made it to Florence. Although this was my first time at Pitti Fragranze I’m sure it won’t be my last. This exposition / trade fair dedicated to international artistic perfumery, but now expanded to include jewellery and bags, is held in Florence in the exquisite Stazione Leopolda. The creativity that went into the overall look and feel of the show was impressive. The Kaleidoscope of Scent theme provided a chance to inject plenty of colour to the building’s interior and exterior.
What is great about these shows from a perfume lover’s perspective is that it provides a chance to actually meet the people who create the perfumes you admire, respect and cherish as well as to sample new perfumes ripe for discovery.
On the first morning, the heat was already intense. We were greeted by a fabulous lego like installation at the entrance, dotted with bright bursts of colour. After collecting my pass I made my way into the hall. I had already bumped into Anaïs Biguine of Jardins d’Ecrivains and Les Cocottes (her new range) in the queue as well as Sarah Colton, an American journalist who lives in Paris. And I also met up with blogger Lucasz from Chemist In The Bottle.
Once inside, I made my way to Olivier Durbano’s stand as he was near the entrance and I was intrigued by his creations after discovering them at Esxence. Plus he’s a lovely person to boot. He showcased his new release Chrysolithe. It’s a perfume that sparkles with citrus up top then gets smokier the longer it stays on skin. Every twist and turn intrigues. I’ll be wearing this in the next few weeks to understand it better.
Onwards to Parfums de Nicolaï and Damien Flynn (sales and PR) showed me the new creation from this Parisian house. Well Ambre Cashmere Intense was lovely. It was a coup de foudre and worked very well on my skin. A gorgeous, feminine amber. Divine.
Pictured Top Left : Megan In Sainte Maxime (MISM) and Rodgrigo Flores – Roux : Bottom Right : Lucasz from Chemist In The Bottle, MISM and Carlos Huber
Arquiste perfumes had been on my must try list for quite some time but I’d had never come across them until Pitti. I made sure I quickly sampled the collection and Anima Dulcis with its chewy dark chocolate and chilli theme was a firm favourite. Carlos Huber the creative director and perfumer Rodrigo Flores – Roux were on hand to talk about their new perfume, the tour de force that is Nanban. It has a great back-story of ancient trade routes traversing Asia, Europe and the Americas as inspiration. It’s incredibly potent, brimming with spice and incense and many other treats. If you’re looking for a scent to last on skin this it it. Nanban was the one perfume I could still smell on my skin late in the evening.
Arquiste also had the room fragrance and candle – Caroline’s Four Hundred, made for the St Regis hotel on display. The scent is inspired by Caroline Astor, the matriarch of the founding family of the hotel. I would love my home to smell like this. These two gentlemen tell a great story and are extremely charming. Also thanks to Carlos, I imbibed my first glass of champagne for the day!
Another perfume house that I’ve read about but have never had the opportunity to smell its wares is Maria Candida Gentile. Elephant & Roses has a gorgeous turkish rose in its heart and was a riveting affair. This is another perfume that I will be trying again as I do like a great rose. Maria herself was charming and as a side note I loved her vintage styled dress.
I’m a huge Andy Tauer fan and have reviewed Le Maroc Pour Elle, one of my favourites from the line. It was tricky to catch Andy with nobody around but I went back a few times and finally succeeded. His latest release is Sotta La Luna Tuberose. This is a green tuberose, not the creamy style that you may be more familiar with. It’s new territory for this sultry floral and if anyone can pull this new direction off it’s Andy. He also had his Tauerville fragrances on display that are only available for purchase in the USA or Switzerland, so this was my first sniff session of the range. I had been very envious seeing perfume lovers talk about these and not being able to get hold of them. I had even contemplated a long drive to Switzerland. Of the three in the line – Rose Flash, Vanilla Flash and Incense Flash, it was the bold and sumptuous Rose Flash that captured my attention. I now have it in the rollerball version and have been wearing it ever since. By the way Andy intimated that the recently resurrected Eau d’Epices may not be long for this world. He did say it was not yet confirmed but he is thinking about it. So if you are a fan of this one buy up now while you still can.
Parfum d’Empire is an intensely evocative range of perfumes from Marc Antoine Corticchiato. If you have never smelt his creations, than you really must. I’ve been impressed by every one I’ve tried. François Arzano showed me the new addition to the line – Tabac Tabou. It’s fabulous. Corticchiato has realised a brooding work of tobacco beauty. Immortelle and narcissus, coloured with greenery herald a new take on tobacco. It all seems so effortless in its execution and smells amazing. I also had the chance to smell Musc Tonkin. As the boys on youtube would say – this is a beast of a perfume. It scared me more than a little. The tiniest dab is more than enough for me. It’s the strongest animalic perfume I’ve had the pleasure of smelling.
Next onto Carner Barcelona. I had recently sampled and reviewed Palo Santo the new release for Ca Fleure Bon and I really enjoyed this woody gourmand. I was very keen to smell the rest of the range. Lina Moises and Joaquim Carner took me through the other perfumes. On first testings I was enamoured of El Born and Rima XI, although to be fair I actually enjoyed each scent I tried. This doesn’t happen often.
Milliner Naomi Goodsir was in attendance. She has a very distinctive, eye-catching look and told me that her hats are now adorning Kanye West’s catwalk shows. I was very keen to try Or du Serail in particular as it was one of Stéphanie Bakouche‘s favourite perfumes and she was very enthusiastic about Bertrand Duchaufour‘s work on this creation. This was the first time I had the opportunity to smell the Naomi Goodsir perfumes and each one for me was like unlocking a treasure trove and I’m still thinking about them which is a good sign. Her range has fast become one of my favourites. Naomi was also charming under pressure as her stand was very well attended. Her new creation Iris Cendré was I believe the best in her already strong line up. It really is a work of art and I swoon whenever I smell this. Iris Cendré is a resolutely offbeat green, ashen iris created by the talented Julien Rasquinet.
And that was a wrap for Day One. I also attended two sessions, one by Mane and the other an East Coast vs West Coast session with Chandler Burr, and perfume stores Lucky Scent (LA) and Jovoy (Paris). Watch this space for a separate post. Day Two to follow.
Note : A version of this article has appeared on Ca Fleure Bon