Typically when brands throw their first events, it’s within their first few months of existence — not 800 years down the line.
But Florentine fragrance company Officina Profumo Farmaceutica di Santa Maria Novella, known more casually as Santa Maria Novella, did just that in New York the other night when the brand hosted the very first event in its 800-year history.
Team members were flown over from Florence to bring guests an authentic scent experience, in honor of the brand’s new — and first — perfume, L’Iris. (It previously has stuck with colognes.) Guests like Zani Guggleman, Scott Schuman, Sophie Elgort and Michael Avedon gathered at Harlem Parish on 118th Street to first smell L’Iris, then work with one of the Florentine staff members to create their own custom scent, blending together 10 different drops into a bottle that was mixed while dinner was served.
Newly hired executive vice president Elyse Nemerever, who comes to Santa Maria Novella by way of Lanvin, Dior and Proenza Schouler, celebrated the theme of firsts for the night.
“One of the things they said to me when I joined the company was ‘we’re an 800-year-old start up,’” she recalled. “Even though they’ve been around for a really long time and the heritage is there, in terms of development and infrastructure and our growth, all of that has been really organic and not so extensive. Until now — and even now — it’s about finding the right partners, the right positioning, the right teams.”