MILAN — Though most luxury perfume brands jumped ship from Cosmoprof Bologna years ago, this year, even Esxence — the five-year-old niche fragrance salon — proved too conventional for some. Celso Fadelli, chief executive officer of Intertrade Europe and one of the founders of Esxence, left that fair and instead opened the first edition of Unscent, a gallery of multisensorial fragrance displays and artwork also open from March 21 to 24.
“Today you can buy most things online — so what is the client looking for when he enters a store?” Fadelli said. “We have to give our clients an experience, and simply creating a standard fair exhibit is limiting.” Fadelli added that he was uncomfortable with the growth of Esxence, which he believes is counter to the very concept of niche perfume. This year, 5,815 visitors attended Esxence, up about 4.5 percent over 2012, while just more than 500 turned out for Unscent.
But Maurizio Cavezzali, ceo of Equipe International, which organizes Esxence, said it has a highly “restrictive” committee evaluating brands on quality and commercial value. “It’s absolutely in our interest to develop — the fact that Esxence is growing significantly is only a positive,” he added. “If we don’t grow at all, we lose relevance.” For the past several years, the fair has been held at La Permanente museum in Milan, but if the number of exhibitors and attendees rises, Cavezzali said it would move to a new location.
Noting Esxence remained an important meeting place for perfumers, designers and retailers, Cavezzali highlighted its emphasis on educating the next generation of industry professionals through workshops. This year, the fair saw a mix of veterans and newcomers.
Antonio Visconti, a perfumer who has attended the salon with his namesake line for four years, was also presenting two newer labels, Royal Crown and Queen Crimson.
His daughter, Nicoletta Martino, the company’s export and p.r. director, explained that her great-great-great-grandfather, Averardo Visconti, was a Florentine glove-maker living in Paris, and her father had revamped some of the scents his forebear used on the leather. With a price range between 170 and 220 euros, or about $218 to $282 at current exchange, the 13 Antonio Visconti eaux de parfum are available all over Italy and in Germany, Switzerland, London and the Middle East. While raw materials come from Grasse, France, Martino said the rest of the fragrance production takes place in Italy.
Sebastian Maria Fischenich, cofounder and creative director of German brand Humiecki & Graef, had also been at the fair several years running. “To support image, Esxence is very important for us,” he said. “It’s really developed well over the last years.”
Newcomer Davide Di Costola, export manager at Eurovetrocap, a company that produces plastic and glass bottles and cosmetics packaging, said he was drawn to the fair for its international component. Limiting its size, he suggested, was illogical. “The whole point of fairs is to broaden your network,” Di Costola said.
Also at Esxence for the first time was Aurélie Pineau, business developer for Mad et Len, an artisanal brand that makes fragrances and candles, as well as tea, jewelry, home decor items, stationery, leather totes and shoes. Based at an atelier in Saint-Julien-du-Verdon, in the southeastern corner of France, Mad et Len gets its name from Marcel Proust’s famous description of retrospection while dunking a madeleine cake in tea. The label is available at select high-end locations internationally, such as Antonioni and Excelsior in Milan, Tsum in Moscow, Wuhao Curated-Shop in Beijing, I.T Ltd. in Hong Kong, United Arrows in Tokyo and L’Eclaireur, which has an exclusive for Paris. Prices run from about 42 to 300 euros, or $54 to $385 at current exchange, for body fragrances, to about 55 to 300 euros, or $71 to $385, for interior fragrances.
At Unscent, held at the 18th-century Palazzo Morando in the heart of Milan’s high-fashion district, visitors could stop by a room set up to resemble Andrea Maack’s studio, and chat with the Icelandic artist as she worked. “I think this is much nicer [than Esxence],” she said of the set-up. “This is more what I’m used to doing.” Maack, who paints and sculpts in addition to working on her fragrance line, hinted that this fall she would be introducing a new textile project.
Niclas Lydeen, one of the founders of Swedish brand Agonist, was presenting its new scent, Isis, in a darkened room where the hand-blown yellow glass perfume bottle rested on a wooden case, surrounded by smaller bottles in disarray. Visitors were offered headsets with recorded sounds of glass cracking. “We wanted to create tension, and connect sound with fragrance,” Lydeen said.
Giovanni Castelli, managing partner for the brands Acqua di Stresa and Blood Concept, said Unscent allowed brands to fully express their identities: Illustrator Andrea Tarella was hand-painting bags at the Acqua di Stresa counter, while in Blood Concept’s dark room, visitors could smell the label’s new fragrances in small glass bowls as they watched videos and listened to music matched with each. Fashion blogger and critic Diane Pernet had also created a Video Olfactory Room, with a film based on the emotions stirred by fragrance.
Spotted in Unscent’s lounge area, Cinzia Baldelli, head of beauty, children’s wear and toys at La Rinascente, praised the event for its artistic slant.
EXCLUSIVE: @tomford is opening its first-ever beauty store. The boutique, which opens November 20 in London’s Covent Gardens, was designed with the over-the-top glam Ford is known for. Read the full story on WWD.com, link in bio. #wwdbeauty #wwdnews (📷: Simon Wagner) #TomFordBeauty
New York-based DJ @harleyvnewton threw a party to celebrate the holiday collection of her dress and pajama line @hvn at the Ladurée Beverly Hills. It Girls @katebosworth, @rashidajones and more joined in on the fun, which included cocktails, croque monsieur sandwiches and a photo booth. #wwdfashion (📷: Owen Kolasinski/BFA.com)
For the holidays, @Burberry partnered with 20-year-old artist @blondeymccoy on a series of three outdoor murals in downtown Manhattan. The murals are McCoy’s interpretation of a Christmas eve party, the idea of charity and the spirit of family. His third mural, pictured here, is the most personal. The image depicts McCoy’s grandparents and father in London’s Trafalgar Square in the Seventies. “My work often features lots of sentimental objects.” #wwdeye
For spring 2018, designers applied bold colors and cartoonish motifs on everything from sneakers and belts to key chains. See all the top men’s accessories trends on WWD.com. #wwdtrends (📷: George Chinsee; Prop Styling by @rnasti; Market Editor: @luiscampuzano)
The @dior-sponsored @guggenheim international gala pre-party has a history of drawing cool-girl musical acts to serenade the crowd –– and last night was no exception. @haimtheband performed songs both new and old, and lured a star-studded audience with the likes of Rebecca Hall, Kate Mara, Mamoudou Athie and more. #wwdeye (📷: @lexieblacklock)
In a partnership between the @metopera and the @englishnationalopera, “Marnie” was born. The opera, with costumes sponsored by @mrporterlive, is an adaptation of the 1961 thriller by Winston Graham. Arianne Phillips, who created the costumes, is no rookie: She’s styled Madonna for her tours and created costumes for a myriad of films in the past. Read WWD’s interview with Phillips, where she talks about her inspiration for the opera’s costumes on WWD.com #wwdfashion
@barneysnyc took a different approach to their holiday windows this year. Instead of Christmas decor, Barneys tapped @thehaasbrothers to tell a story of positivity, gratitude and inclusivity via heartwarming silliness and humor. “It’s about kids and it’s about coming together and being family and loving each other,” said Simon Haas. #wwdfashion (📷: @joshuascottphoto)
Beauty influencer @kandeejohnson makes her foray into hair care with a collaboration with @ogx_beauty — making it the first time that OGX has teamed up for a product creation. The collab includes shampoos and conditioners in three scents. At 39 and a mom, Johnson is a different profile than the emerging social media stars, but is considered one of the pioneers of the digital beauty influencer world. Read WWD’s interview with her on wwd.com, including the strangest beauty product she’s ever tried #wwdbeauty