MILAN — A wave of artistic perfumery washed over the city recently, as the Esxence trade show set up shop at the Triennale Design Museum, the second edition of Unscent bowed at Excelsior and niche distributor Campomarzio 70 showcased its wares at a showroom in Via Dante.
The sixth edition of Esxence, held from March 20 to 23, saw its attendance rise to 5,937 visitors, a nearly 3 percent increase over 2013. Bond No. 9 president and founder Laurice Rahme was among them, presenting her new Hudson Yards and Shelter Island fragrances and scoping out new contacts in the Italian market, which she said was important for the brand. She noted Esxence was relevant as a fair with a “European feeling,” whereas the Tax Free World Association show in Cannes was more international.
France was well represented at the stands. Etat Libre d’Orange, the cheeky Parisian brand founded in 2006, was present at the fair for the first time with its own booth, introducing an intense version of its Rien scent. Founder Etienne de Swardt said key markets for the company included Italy, the U.K. and the Middle East: Etat Libre d’Orange has 29 scents and exports 15 of them, with distribution in 350 to 400 doors total.
Jardin de France, an artisanal perfume label founded in Amboise, France, in 1920, was at the fair for the second year, presenting a new line of four eaux de parfum available in 50-ml. and 100-ml. bottles. Called Jardin des Hespérides, the line is a tribute to mythological nymphs of ancient Greece.
Karine Lambert, a member of the company’s export team, said Jardin de France sells in selective perfumeries in numerous countries, including Italy, Spain, Switzerland close to home, and Singapore and Japan further afield, and the brand is interested in approaching the U.S. market. “Each country has its specific features,” she noted. “In Japan, they like smaller sizes, so we’re working on making the 1920 cologne line available in 30 ml.” to meet the demands of consumers there.
Other companies were focused on addressing business-to-business needs. Les Parfumables, a French firm based in Limoges, was showcasing ceramic cards and custom-made designs capable of retaining scent for longer periods than the ubiquitous paper smelling strips.
Italian firms at the fair were playing up their cultural cachet: Newcomer Pantheon Roma introduced four high-concentration scents constructed around the steamy love affair of Renaissance artist Raphael and Margherita Luti, the daughter of a baker. Notte d’amore (“night of love”) is an ambery oud, while Il Giardino (“the garden”) is earthy and woody, Raffaello is deep and leathery and Donna Margherita is rich with tuberose.
A team of 30 artisanal fragrance veterans in the Marche region — where Raphael was born — devised the line of extraits de parfum, which is only available in 50-ml. bottles in 15 selective perfumeries in Italy, such as Mazzolari in Milan and Floris House in Turin. “We want to replicate what we’ve done in Italy over the past six months abroad,” said Leone Fadelli, brand developer, noting Pantheon Roma wants to maintain a very limited distribution network.
Dubai-based Ajmal Perfumes was courting European distributors at the fair with its Eternal by Ajmal niche luxury brand of fragrances and oils in crystal bottles with gold-plated caps. With 150 points of sale across the Middle East, the company is now targeting a more international pool of customers, said the firm’s head of export Farrukh Kidwai: Eternal by Ajmal is available at Harvey Nichols in Turkey and Douglas in Russia, as well as two flagships in Egypt.
“People think coming out of the Middle East that [the fragrances] will be very strong and loud, but what we have developed here is primarily keeping in mind Europe and North America and Australia, so this caters to their taste,” Kidwai said.
Unscent, an alternative and even more niche show, for its second edition opted to blend into the scenery at luxury concept store Excelsior, with original displays including, for instance, a Lamborghini engine alongside a leather car repair tool kit of fragrances, used to introduce the limited edition of 999 L-Automobili Lamborghini scents. Placed on various floors and thus accessible to fragrance professionals and unsuspecting shoppers alike, each installation sought to expose people to perfumes and the creative inspiration behind them.
“Last year [at the first edition of Unscent], a lot of clients said, ‘What you’ve done is beautiful, but I don’t know how I can make it work in my store,’” said Celso Fadelli, chief executive officer of Intertrade Europe and cofounder of Unscent. “So we tried to respond to this need.…You give your customer an experience — it’s no longer just a store, but a container of art and events.”
Perfumer Danielle Ryan was on hand, explaining the ideas behind her Roads collection of fragrances, which make up just one branch of Roads Luxury Group Ltd., the Dublin-based culture and lifestyle group she founded. “All of our fragrances are loosely based on a theme or story, an idea. So each of them could be for example a place or an emotion or a period of time,” she said, describing the rosy Graduate 1954 as “my ode to women’s development from the Fifties till now,” and Bitter End as a tribute to Ireland’s barren west coast.
Blood Concept creators Antonio Zuddas and Giovanni Castelli — who is also the founder of Acqua di Stresa — said their latest fragrances, XL (for Xylem) and PH (for Phloem), took their long-standing “celebration of life” through the natural processes behind it one step further by “artistically interpreting the ‘blood’ of vegetation, of trees,” noted Zuddas.
“We wanted [to develop] fragrances that had notes of tension and energy, that gave the idea of reaching for the sky,” added Castelli.
For Acqua di Stresa’s Unscent installation, Castelli partnered with head chef Francesco Luoni of the luxurious Castello Dal Pozzo’s restaurant by Lake Maggiore: Visitors were invited to smell Acqua di Stresa Rosa Nobilis before sampling gourmet finger food, to “savor” the perfume in a new way.
Agonist, the brand created by Niclas Lydeen and Christine Gustafsson, introduced Solaris, a scent inspired by the midsummer sun in Sweden. With strong citrus notes, the fragrance was presented in a beautiful handcrafted glass bottle with clear and red-orange circles in a totemlike structure.
Meanwhile, there were several new international brands on Campomarzio 70’s exclusive roster, including New York-based Von Eusersdorff, Amsterdam-based Zenology and Ramón Monegal Barcelona.
Monegal, a fourth-generation perfumer of the Myrurgia company that has long supplied the Spanish royal family with its fragrances, created his own high-end line of eaux de parfum in 2009, which now totals 14. Entre Naranjos, for instance, is composed of absolute orange blossom essence, clementines, lemon petitgrain, neroli, amber and patchouli.
“These collections continue to build on that vision, empowering differently abled adults to express themselves through fashion,” said @tommyhilfiger of his line of adaptive apparel, which launches today. The line consists of 37 men’s and 34 women’s styles based upon the pieces from the spring Tommy Hilfiger sportswear collection. #wwdnews
“Stranger Things” is getting a new cast member for season 2. Meet @sadiesink_, the 15-year-old who will be joining the Netflix series for its new season. You may recognize her from “The Glass Castle” with Brie Larson and Woody Harrelson, but the Texas native’s next role goes in an entirely different direction. She describes her character, Max, as “a rough and tumble skater girl [who] becomes friends with the boys at school.” The second season debuts on October 27. (📷: @jgreenery) #wwdeye
Amid the Harvey Weinstein controversy, there’s another sector that’s being put under the spotlight for sexual abuse: the modeling industry. While rumors about abuse and sexual harassment of female and male models — and the photographers, agents and others who perpetrated it — have circulated within the fashion world for years, model @cameronrussell started posting stories from models on Instagram last week about abusive situations they’ve encountered — from sexual harassment and molestation to attempted rape. Over 75 have weighed in so far. Read more on WWD.com. Link in bio. #wwdnews
To celebrate its 16th anniversary, @dylanscandybar tapped designers and celebrities to create mosaics out of candy. The mosaics will be auctioned off to support the philanthropic cause of each participant’s choice. Pictured here is the mural created by @aliceandolivia's Stacey Bendet. For a first look at some of the other artwork being unveiled tonight, go to WWD.com. #wwdeye
The annual Veuve Clicquot Polo Classic in Pacific Palisades this weekend drew Kate Hudson, Tracee Ellis Ross, Laura Dern and more. See pictures of the star-studded event on WWD.com. (📷: @chelsealaurenla) #wwdeye
In his new book “Hollywood Royale,” Andy Warhol’s Protégé Matthew Rolston celebrates the Eighties revival of Hollywood glamour. Featuring more than 100 portraits taken by Rolston from 1977 to 1993, the book contains photos of icons like Michael Jackson, Cyndi Lauper, and @drewbarrymore, pictured here in 1991. “Hollywood Royale,” out today, will be accompanied by an exhibition opening at Los Angeles’ Fahey/Klein Gallery on March 1. #wwdeye
"Nowadays when life is not so happy with everything going on in the world, I think people come to me for a little bit of whimsy and color and fun." - Designer Rebecca De Ravenel on her cult-favorite jewelry line. (📸 : @vsteves) #wwd40
“Everyone is talking about how the retail industry is struggling, but I think it’s an incredible time because brands who are doing something different and innovative are setting themselves up for the future,” said @adamgoldston, who founded the luxury athletic brand @apl with his brother @ryangoldsten. The Goldston’s are part of WWD’s 40 under 40: a group of industry notables. See the rest of the list on WWD.com. (📷: @vsteves) #wwd40
@eyeswoon blogger Athena Calderone debuted her first-ever cookbook, “Cook Beautiful,” which is heavily centered on the presentation and visual expression of food. Pictured here are her miso glazed carrots from the book. Get the recipe on WWD.com. (📷: @johnny_miller_) #wwdeye