The Pitti Fragranze 2021 fair (I much rather call it an exhibition) of artistic perfumery – was intense. Emotionally intense. The return of this live exhibition, after two years, was primarily a rendezvous of – wonderful people of perfume! To see people again, to interact live, to smile together, to share! Priceless.
Live events, learning opportunities, interactions, discussions – oh, how we have all missed that!
More than a fair, or an exhibition this year: Pitti Fragranze 2021 gave me hope to see people reunited again, and the atmosphere was so positive and encouraging.
I met well-known brands presenting new-ish releases and emerging brands with interesting lines. There were so, SO many new brands (quoting Ralf Schwieger) that I didn’t manage to cover them all by myself (again)!
Let’s take a closer look at what I smelled, liked, and went nose-blind on!
The closing figures from Pitti Fragranze 2021 organizers have arrived: 1100 international industry professionals from 40 countries, 140 maisons and brands (over 70% were from out of Italy), and 120 journalists!
The “140 brands” part granted me a dead nose by 12.00 AM on day 2.
Ah well, fairs aren’t a place to make conclusions anyway, let alone reviews of any or all the perfume you have smelled. That’s what samples are for.
After publishing Part 1 of my Pitti Fragranze 2021 report to give you a general overview, and the exclusive interview with Ralf Schwieger, let’s move on to the brands and perfumes I singled out, in no particular order:
Olivier Durbano: Q.u.art.z Quantic 17:8
Olivier, Olivier: creating love and beauty you can feel in his eyes, assembling pebbles made of emotions. I always like to start any fair with a visit to Olivier Durbano, just spending some time with him soothes my soul.
This year Olivier launched his new, 17th perfume at Pitti Fragranze 2021, marking the 17th year of his brand.
The dream: all Olivier’s fragrances have an underlying message. The idea behind Q.uart.z Quantic 17:8 revolves about a dream of the awakening of humanity, acceptance, benevolence, sharing, a feeling of togetherness, and the pure joy of living – this is what he shared, and how I understood it.
Q.uart.z Quantic 17:8 is an invigorating fragrance, opening with a smooth dose of flashing freshness, tingling spices, and optimistic brightness. Shiny, singing quartz, vibrating high. As the fragrance develops, it gains resinous depth, soothing and incense-y. I like the way it flows, sways, and moves effortlessly: good things are yet to come, it whispers.
Pekji: The Reset Collection – Turning “Off” and “On” Again
Ah, what a refreshing fragrance collection! Just as I (i.e. my poor nose) was feeling a bit overwhelmed by many massniche fragrances I encountered on my way to Pekji’s stand at Pitti Fragranze 2021, my hopes were high. Because Omer Ipekci follows the true niche and artisan perfumes path, and his creations are unique. Ah, no, wrong wording, allow me to correct myself: he doesn’t follow anything, he carves his own path!
The Reset Collection (launched in May this year) consists of 4 perfumes: Blacklight, Flash, Purpl, and Yes, Please, and I was so looking forward to it!
Omer was happy to present the new collection: yes, there were eyebrows raised in wonder, giggles, and confusion.
Wonderful! Refreshing. With quite a few “Oooh’s?!” and “Ahaaaa’s!!!” immediately after smelling blotters, then later on skin.
I shall certainly write a review of the whole collection, but let me tell you that, upon the first impression right then and there, Flesh – a twisted, dense, an iris root-cut-open-in-two-halves, surrounded by fine layers of apricot and osmanthus. packed in dry leather and rolled in musks and powders is a quite unique, addictive, and shocking interpretation of Iris – it caught my attention immediately. Mmmmm. It feels easy, it sounds easy, but it’s not: there’s something eerie and weird about it, and I like that.
I found Purple to be the most challenging, its opening hit me by surprise on both nostrils: very, very interesting, hot and cold, familiar and strange, razor-sharp and misty at the same time – quite intriguing. Do check these out!
Uermi: Ud Itkat, My Tuxedo, and OhDenim Extreme
I have been following Uermi for years: Aurora and Palmiro are doing a great job in carefully growing their collection, there are some really big name-perfumers signing these creations, the concept of joining fragrances and fabrics is original, and their perfumes are intriguing interpretations of concept that finds inspiration in different kinds of fabrics.
All three perfumes were launched this spring, but I mention them now again because I feel they stood out at Pitti Fragranze 2021.
I do enjoy wearing OhDenim extremely, like a pair of snug, tight jeans that make you feel sexy and cool (think: pop-art tuberose) on a beautiful spring day (created by Sylvie Fischer), My Tuxedo (created by Maurice Roucel) is edgy and smart, and Ud Itkat (created by Pierre Constantin Guerros) is an oud-driven delight for bon vivants, a contemporary oud interpretation and multilayered fragrance construction with a hint of true Ajmal Oud. Sensual.
Oud was often to be smelled in the air around Pitti sections, as I mentioned in my Pitti Fragranze Report Part I, but in different forms and interpretations than in past years: more “European-oud”, some variations ranged from light, structure-supporting constructions, to elaborate accords playing with and flirting with various gourmand or leather facets in perfumes.
Although I had the chance to smell these fragrances in spring this year, like on many other stands it was important to me to MEET and to connect with Aurora Carrara and Palmiro Peaquin again, to chat, laugh, and smell fragrances together – is priceless!
Frassai: Buenos Aires Meets Pitti Fragranze 2021
It was a sheer delight to finally meet live with Frassai founder, Natalia Outeda! She came to Florence to exhibit her whole collection, including the latest fragrance – El Descanso (launched in 2020), and hinted at the launch of a new perfume – Victoria (coming in 2022)! This was her first European perfume fair, and I certainly hope we shall see Frassai at Exence – The Scent of Excellence come next spring!
Contradictions in Ilk
We met, we laughed, we layered perfume! llk is an old Scottish word, meaning “the essence of you”, and the concept of the brand revolved around 8 scents that can be worn on their own, but also in suggested (or free-hand) 4 pairs – layered. I think I might have found my Ilk in the combination of Infatuated & Nonchalant and Devious&Sincere, but you might want to create your own. Fun, unpretentious, and playful!
Milano Fragranze: Founded by Masque, Directed by Alessandro Brun
This is also a new perfume brand, exhibiting for the first time at Pitti Fragranze 2021, and you might already be familiar with it. Each fragrance in the collection is an olfactory imprint of one place in Milan, so you have fragrant stories about Basilica, Brera, Cortile, Derby, Diurno, Galleria, La Prima, and Naviglio.
My favorite is right now Cortile, composed by Michelle Moellhausen – the scent of hidden and private courtyards of Milan, filled with scents of freshly made coffee, relaxation in deep shade, and the living is easy attitude. Jasmine mixing with morning freshness, and familiar scents of an old neighborhood. Cozy.
Milano Fragranze is a brand featuring fragrances more approachable to a wider public, with good quality and a matching price. You can watch my IG live with Alessandro Brun talking about the Milano Fragranze collection here!
Dusita: The Scent Of Friendship (Eau My Soul FB Group)
It felt so good to meet with Pissara again! She made a last-minute decision to exhibit on Pitti Fragranze 2021, and I’m happy that she did!
Alongside her collection, the accent was on two new fragrances: the beautiful Cavatina I reviewed here, and Anamcara: the most recent release, a special fragrance made in cooperation with a FaceBook group Eau My Soul’s Members! Anamcara is yet another rich Dusita fragrance, with ingredients to die for.
It feels like a big orange bowl of happiness to me, and I absolutely love the opening. It does tend to acquire a honeyed glow as it develops further, finely dancing on a thin line above becoming a full-blown, sweet gourmand.
Well, the first thing I did when I came to her stand was to spray myself generously with Oudh Infini (my beloved), thus making it pretty impossible to test anything else on my skin for the rest of the day. It was worth it, it always is. As is the moment of meeting again, and laughing together again.
Hedonik: Divine Perversion and Leather Jewelry
“Francesca Bianchi’s DNA“: how many times have you read this? Well, I don’t know anyone who likes to be put in labeled drawers, and Francesca certainly isn’t one. Do you think you “got” her? Think again.
The Hedonik brand and a future collection is a step in a different direction, so let’s follow and see where will Francesca take us with the future development of this new brand. Or maybe yet another brand, time will show.
Moving away from her Francesca Bianchi line of fragrances, the creative spirit is restless. And hardworking. Her leather accessories are too sophisticated and absolutely different to be called merely “accessories” – this is leather jewelry, hand-made in Florence! And it’s refined and kinky at the same time, you can wear it to bed or to parties, over jeans or evening attire. Preferably on naked skin.
And here comes Divine Perversion, a new DNA mutation, focusing on exploring a raspberry-rose-leather combo:
Astrophil & Stella
A new brand, launched in 2020. “Star-lovers”, and not a collection of sonnets but a collection of 10 perfumes signed by “big name” perfumers like Cécile Zarokian, Luca Maffei, Bertrand Duchaufour, Chris Maurice, Christian Provenzano, and Nathalie Feisthauer.
Less great and starry was that my nose literally died on their stand, on the second day of Pitti Fragranze 2021! I felt absolutely nothing, and everything smelled the same. Well, that’s what samples are for, so I’ll be able to tell you more later on.
Among their newest releases is The Iris Way by Luca Maffei.
Once again, fun, unpretentious, youthful, and playful with wonderful mushroom packaging. I found their bespoke Made-in-China bottles interesting, and their fragrances bubble gum and stunned refreshing. They are a relatively new brand, so let’s see what will Bel Rebel come up next with!
There was more, of course. As you can see, I focused more on brands that exhibited on their own, or perfumers and brand owners I could talk directly to on distributor’s stands they shared with other brands. It was so important to have direct contact with people!
Off Pitti: People… and More Perfume!
Meetings, greetings, smiles under masks: Off Pitti: I managed to meet&chat with Cristian Cavagna, and I’m looking forward to smelling his new creations:
My dear friend, Miguel Matos pulled out and let me smell a couple of his newest creations for his own brand, ones he’s still working on:
I also met in person (again) with Danu Seith Fyr, Vanessa Caputo, Andrej Babicki, Hiro Nakayama, and many more wonderful people of perfume. My apologies to all the friends I missed seeing at Pitti: let’s meet at Esxence!
I also did two things that are already becoming a tradition: took a photo and chatted with Mark Buxton:
and visited Officina Profumo SM Novella, located just a few steps from my cute little Florence apartment:
Pitti Fragranze 2021 was a much-needed restart, recharge, and a confirmation that we CAN meet in person, that fairs and exhibitions CAN happen: I’m happy. We’re together again. At last.
If you want to know more, you can find my Pitti Fragranze 2021 Part I Report here, an exclusive interview with Ralf Schwieger here, and all the lives on my IG TV here. Detailed reviews of chosen perfume shall follow, I’m so behind on everything now that I’ll just take it easy.
I hope I made you feel like you were there with me, at Pitti Fragranze 2021, and in Florence, The Most Beautiful:
The Plum Girl
Photos: Elena Cvjetkovic, Pitti Fragranze 2021 Media Gallery
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