Beautiful encounters at 2021 Pitti Fragranze , left to right: Olivier Durbano, Cristiano Canali, Pierre Gueros, Francesca Bianchi, Antonio Alessandria and Tsovak Voskanian
Part 1 of my report from 2021 Pitti Fragranze focused on two major events – The Ralf Schwieger retrospective and the RAW conference curated by MANE, so be sure to check it out in case you missed it. The 19th edition of Fragranze was the first international perfume exhibition after a two years hiatus due to covid-19, and this radically changed the way brands approached the market.
Some houses were on creative lockdown, while others quickly adapted to the “new normal” and took advantage of video conferencing ZOOM for online launches to stay top of mind. 2021 Pitti Fragranze was much anticipated h for getting back in touch (literally) and let the audience smell “live” what’s new.
Returning to 2021 Pitti Fragranze also allowed me to understand the evolution of niche and artistic brands through new launches and future projects, as well as market trends and market. This is my CaFleureBon trend report and 2021 Pitti Fragranze Best of Show
Abstract Oud: Oud has been one of the most ubiquitous words in the perfumes of the last two decades. It was innovative in western fragrances, before becoming trendy. Later agarwood became a classic, shaping the taste of the public for typical Middle Eastern woody-ambery perfumes and fostering the success of many brands. oud (real and synthetic, expensive and cheap) flooded the market from luxury malls to supermarkets, from fine fragrance to detergents, 2021 Pitti Fragranze saw the debut of fragrances using oud as a way to enhance the perfumer’s palette and was not as literal in past years – modern abstraction.
Rubini Nuvolari – Extrait de course
One of the most highly anticipated fragrance at 2021 Pitti Fragranze is the exquisite Rubini Nuvolari exuding from the topnotes its Neo-Futurism melody of bubbling steel, adrenaline and horsepower. Composed by Cristiano Canali as a tribute to car racing legend Tazio Nuvolari, as known as “The flying Mantuan”, Nuvolari starts smoky, leathery and rubbery with precious Laotian oud, vetiver and burnt resins. Intoxicating Bulgarian rose and rum throw in that dizzy vibe, yet the fragrance is boosted by a peppered neroli wind that makes it daringly sexy and wearable at the same time.
Symrise Perfumer Pierre Constantin Gueros showing Laboratorio Olfattivo ExpLOud
I had the pleasure to finally meet in person Symrise perfumer Pierre Gueros who signed two amazing new launches along the trend for abstract oud, both with a great value for the money. The first is Laboratorio Olfattivo ExpLOud, where oud explodes like the turquoise waters overflowing of a fountain, shining with the bite of pink peppercorns and the crispness of gardenia blossoms. Intensified by a pinch of vetiver, the sensual unctuousness of prized Indian oud from Ajmal is backed here by the dewy transparency of lily of the valley that makes it optimistic and perfectly unisex.
UÈRMI introducing the new fragrance UD-IKAT and the I SMELL SO GOOD set
The latter is UÈRMI UD-IKAT, again featuring real oud from Ajmal, but in a totally different direction. Loyal to their background in textiles creative duo Palmiro Peaquin and Aurora Carrara were inspired by Ikat, an ancient technique of dyeing colorful patterns. The fragrance opens on a tangy burst of peppery citrus as playful as a colored pattern. The drydown is the pleasant surprise: gently smoked woods softened by a touch of rose makes the oud warm tobacco facets shine, surrounded by a sophisticated chypre hint given by cinnamon and gurjum balsam.
The new UÈRMI I SMELL SO GOOD silk scarf
A perfect accompaniment for this elegance is the new I SMELL SO GOOD set launched at 2021 Pitti Fragranze by UÈRMI. A gorgeous silk scarf made in Italy printed in the signature UÈRMI geometric patterns. A travel spray of your choice can be included in the box, to look and smell terrific everywhere.
Cherigan, the 1930s restrained elegance can be sensed also in the packaging
The Different Company owners Sophie and Luc Gabriel’s new venture Cherigan debuted at 2021 Pitti Fragranze. From its inception in 1929 and first located at 120 Champs Elysées in Paris, the brand soon became emblematic of the Parisian chic among VIPs and movie stars, opening stores even in Cuba in La Havana. Reviving the glamour of the 1930s, Cherigan extraits de parfum bear the highest quality raw materials and a modern brand for modern customers. Adhara Oud impressed me for its unusual texture inspired by the sheerness of Japanese Kyara. The fragrance is mysteriously woody, with leather hints and an opaque dove-grey coat of rose and geranium ashes swirling in the air and truly reminding me of the KoDo ceremony restraint and spirituality.
Supple Leather: A move away from ‘heavy leather’, I counted various new launches that offered the caressing sensation of supple leather at 2021 Pitti Fragranze
The Masque Milano booth introducing Milano Fragranze in the iconic luggage trunk.
The softest leather perfume at the show could be smelled at the Masque Milano booth under the brand Milano Fragranze. Alessandro Brun and Riccardo Tedeschi dedicated the line to Milan, and here we go straight to the heart of the city. Composed by Dominique Moellhausen, Galleria aims to capture the post-WWII elegance of the ladies walking in Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, Milan’s living room as they call it. This fine, powdered leather renders the graceful ambiance we all imagine inside the historical Valigeria Fratelli Prada shop: the best leather goods, gossip and face powders floating in the air along with hints of espresso and small pastries.
Step Aboard Transition Gate takes us to London
From Milan let’s take the first flight to London with Step Aboard. After strolling through Milan, the brand pays tribute to London with four new launches created by Bertrand Duchaufour. The most impressive is certainly Transition Gate, a foggy leather (the body & hair aerosol can amplify even more of the misty sensation) diluting the bitterness of smoked leather in a fuzzy cloud of fresh lavender and aromatic herbs.
Hedonik Divine Perversion by Francesca Bianchi: a perfume and leather jewelry with a twist
Francesca Bianchi started a new chapter 2021 Pitti Fragranze this year. Back in 2019 she showed me some sketches she did for leather and beads jewelry. Back then it was just a desire, and but now it’s a dream come true-Hedonik. Along with a full range of leather jewelry, there’s also a fragrant complement. No matter if you’re the domanirix or the submissive Divine Perversion promises to be your sweet addiction.The soundtrack of this bad romance is 50Cent’s “Candy shop”, where iris sprinkled romance and raspberry lollipops mix with explicit mature audience only content. Francesca, you better put a PAL on it, girl!
courtesy of Naomi Goodsir, painting by Bertrand Duchaufour
While at 2021 Pitti Fragranze, I also had the chance to meet Naomi Goodsir’s co-founder Renaud Coutaudier who introduced me to their latest creation Corpus Equus (reviewed so beautifully by Sr. Contributor, Emmanuelle Varron here). Perfumer Bertrand took more than two years to concoct this deeply animalic, smoky leather inspired by Naomi Goodsir’s white horse named Tequila. Smelling this total-black fragrance, you can sense the workmanship with its purple, green and indigo mirrored reflections and by the opaque, velvety tactile feeling it imparts, like running your fingers on fine suede and silky horse hair, smooth and incredibly supple for such an intense leather smell.
2021 Pitti Fragranze Fruits, for a juicy future: Fruity notes have never faded out of fashion since the advent of peach lactone that made great Guerlain Mitsouko. The recent mission to use sustainable raw materials resulted in brilliant new fruity specialties that gave way to incredible lively, tasty, juicy accords bringing new life to floral bouquets, chypres and fougères. The pandemic might have something to do with it: not only do fruits smell cheerful and youthful, but they are a reminder of a greener, healthier lifestyle as well related to stamina and immune system. These are a “bunch” of mouthwatering fruits I picked through the booths.
Voskanian, passion and creativity from Yerevan, Armenia
My award for best discovery at Pitti Fragranze 2021 goes to 28 years old Armenian self-taught perfumer Tsovak Voskanian. With his brand Voskanian I was enthralled with his limited-edition perfumes packed in unique numbered volcanic stone cut flacons. They all smell well balanced yet extremely aromatic for the use of endemic species growing in the neighbors of Yerevan Tsovak personally grows and distils. Later he delighted me with his enthusiasm and sparkling eyes showing me his four eau de parfum, which jewel to my nose was Pèche Chyprée. Reversing the codes of fruity chypres, this fragrance goes peachy all the way, starting with an orange tinged titillating topnote. You can almost bite it, feel the pulp down your throat, sprinkled with a spicy touch and cocoa tinged patchouli that gives way to a sophisticated mossy shade. Joyfully chic!
The new Pekji Reset line by for a fresh restart to perfumery
Another fragrance that made me feel elated in the show comes from the Turkish brand Pekji. Self-taught perfumer Ömer Ipekçi never stopped experimenting and creating. Last year he launched the exciting capsule collection DIS-CONNNECT in collaboration with photographer Francesco Romero and designer Francesca Gotti. Now he launched his Reset collection with four fragrances that mark a turning point in his style. Still avant-garde and edgy with spicy and aromatic sharpness, this Reset gives you hope with succulent fruits and iris powder, also showing an unprecedented velvety balance. Smelling Purpl got me straight to the dancefloor, when we will be able to party again. The DJ scratches his vinyl records, the laws of attraction shorten social distancing and people in dazzling outfits shout under the strobe lights. The space is flooded by the intense strawberry sweetness of pink smoke as mossy carnations rain from the ceiling. Electro-glam!
The Kajal booth, shining in gold for the new perfume Lamar by Mark Buxton
Launched in 2020, Kajal Lamar is an ode to the sun. Lamar means light in Arabic and it also refers to the golden light of sun. Golden abundance of ripe fruits, as Mark Buxton composed a thirst-quenching smoothie with apple, ananas, red berries and the gorgeous gooseberry note Emotional Drop (from his eponymous line) is famous for. Supported by a luxurious bed of roses and jasmine in the background, Lamar sweetens but keeps tart making you crave for more and more.
Human Emotion & Globalized Perfumery at Pitti Fragranze 2021: Social distancing has effected us profoundly and so that is also reflected in fragrance. Creative directors focus on what’s missing the most: people and emotions. This was even more meaningful after a two years hiatus for the presence of foreign countries that love niche perfumery but don’t have many brands representing them in the global market.
Yanina Yakusheva display featuring fragrances as fragrant identity cards
It’s the case of Eastern Europe with interesting brands like Yanina Yakusheva (Russia), perfumer, Doctor and visual artist portraying common people as every day heroes in her fragrances. The best in the line is William (23, male, industrial designer, cheerful), a masculine chypre featuring a savory, aromatic chypre with a singular tulip floralcy.
The PURESENSE emotional display
Another new Russian brand to keep an eye on is PURESENSE, where the creative team focused on feedbacks from blind people to create emotional perfumes. The idea is co-creation unlocking human potential and giving people an opportunity to expand their boundaries through perfume. The most evocative fragrance is Freedom, an intensely outdoorsy mist casting you in the Russian prairie on a summer morning: juicy vegetation, freshly cut grass and clover with the shade of cypress in the background. Invigorating.
The Metaphysica presentation
Founded by Russian perfumer Yulia Vinogradova, the brand Metaphysica debuts at 2021 Pitti Fragranze Momento, dedicated to specially emotional moments in life, like a first kiss or a blissful sunset. Emotions are not a new source of inspiration, but a different sensibility and cultural background makes them always different. Moreover, the sleek package gives more attention to beautiful pictures and fragrances. Interestingly there’s also a perfume inspired by enjoying comfort moments alone, as the Danish name Hyggelig suggests. The pleasant herbalcy of thyme along with a medicinal pinch of cinnamon conjure a smoking cup of tisane, backed by a balmy pillow of incense over sweet woods.
Olivier Durbano Poem Stones Quantic Quartz
Emotions and soul have always been key for Olivier Durbano Poem Stones, and at 2021 Pitti Fragranze he introduced the 17th creation Quantic Quartz. I enjoyed talking to Olivier about this particular moment and the need of truth, enlightenment and rebirth as the inspiration behind the fragrance. Of course, signature incense is there, but resonating high with sparkling florals over a gorgeous, relaxing fir balsam. Please check Sr. Editor Lauryn Beer’s full review of Quantic Quartz for more details.
That’s a wrap and looking forward to seeing everyone again soonest!
Which perfume (s), people, or trends intrigue you the most
Ermano Picco, Editor and Fragrance Expert
all photos © are from Ermano who attended the event, with the exception of the painting by Bertrand Duchaufour forNaomi Goodsir.
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