For the 21st time, Pitti Fragranze 2023 showcases a selection of small, niche, and artisan perfume brands at Stazione Leopolda in Florence. Many new brands were exhibiting, some just a couple of months active, and the season of new launches rolled out in full bloom under the blue Tuscan sky. Pitti always gives you enough time and space to explore brands and perfumes with ease. And Florence…Florence is always The Most Beautiful!
Let’s talk about numbers first: the official Pitti Fragranze 2023 report states that nearly 1600 buyers and industry operators were attending, coming from 50 countries worldwide. 189 brands, and quite a few brand-new ones. Yet, the atmosphere was relaxed, as always – leggiero. Pitti Fragranze is a B2B event, and all applications are carefully screened – meaning one person can easily cover the event. The optimism of new brands entering the market was almost palpable!
I was happy to be there, thrilled that I made it! Stazione Leopolda is a wonderful location, it’s spacious, and you can actively engage with exhibitors, talk to brand owners and perfumers, and attend round tables and discussions. It is also impressive to know that the whole Pitti Fragranze story started nearly 21 years ago! When niche was very niche…
Pitti Fragranze 2023 wouldn’t be the same without Olivier Durbano: he’s always the first to greet and meet, his stand being very close to the entrance.
Pitti also means the launch of a new perfume for Durbano: here comes the White Stone Prophecy 19:1.0! The 19th perfume in his collection!
A new white page has been opened, a fresh one, a gift from heaven. Where does it lead? It’s up to you to reveal what is written on your personal white stone.
Purity and whiteness bottled, the scent seems light but it is complex on the inside. It hugs your skin gently but with a firm fragrant message.
Notes: Frankincense, Birch, White Myrtle, Hyssop, Mint; Heart: White Violet, Sage, Wood, Myrrh, White Musk, Ambrette, Tree Moss.
Olivier also wrote (with love) a beautiful letter for the talk “20 Years Ago – Without Nostalgia”, with Laura Bosetti Tonatto, Ulrich Lang, Raffaello Napoleone, and Lorenzo Villoresi, and here is an excerpt:
“Do not look back…. Or not too much.
The images that emerge from the past are out of time…
Those of Mona, Mona di Orio, we were like two children on our first stand at Pitti… happy, proud, sincere, awkward, eyes full of dreams…
Pitti and the first encounters.
Exchanges, emotions, affection that are born between us, real friendships… and a line of vibrant perfumes between the world and us…
Pitti Fragranze is obvious.
Pitti was and still is the ultimate place, artistic, exclusive, beautiful, and benevolent in this theatrical world of jostling bottles.
Never anything the same.
A beginning and today is a new beginning because everything has changed.
Of course, there are two sides, shadow, and light, I Always an alchemy, with patience and faith in what drives me…
The wind is blowing,
Some flavors pass, others remain… have faith in what you create, always go to the limit of creation.” – Olivier Durbano
In this theatrical world of jostling bottles, only the wind of change is – constant.
Now, when I think about Pitti Fragranze 2023, I might have missed some interesting perfumes/brands, but there were also some I enjoyed discovering. Light and shadows, as always, as in life: our constant companions, inseparable, deeply connected. We all perceive them differently.
I can’t really write about best-in-show fragrances or single out ultimate favorites. I need to spend more time with what samples I have to tell you more about my new Pitti Fragranze 2023 discoveries, but here are my first impressions:
What I missed at Pitti Fragranze 2023? L’Osmotheque exhibiting, for sure! Looking up and forward to expanded approaches to perfume, AI, and all the new dimensions is great and exciting, but a prerequisite for talking about the future (and living it) is knowing your past well.
Education always makes the difference, and from what I’ve witnessed lately, it is nowadays more than necessary.
I also missed the exhibition (s) curated by Chandler Burr: not only did we have a chance to smell a curated selection of the chosen perfumer’s work, but these were also a chance to engage in conversation with perfumers and hear their stories about perfumes exhibited.
In this theatrical world of jostling fragrances, to quote Durbano, some shadows do turn out to feel uncomfortable. I understand that many new brands had their first appearance on Pitti Fragranze 2023 and that they might not be yet quite prepared to handle so many visitors at once, but first impressions do matter – on all levels, and in the long run.
When I approach a stand, I do not jostle. I will smell your fragrances, I probably researched your brand in advance, and I’m genuinely interested to hear/smell/learn more. Turning your back (literally) on a badge saying PRESS and cutting off a conversation after finding out you’re not talking to a buyer is…not nice.
Also, reading texts that state that a fragrance brand is all about “clean fragrances…without controversial ingredients…with natural formulas…” always leaves me with quite a few questions racing across my mind.
Launching a brand new brand, a one that claims to be 6 months old but launches19 (nineteen) perfumes at once (and no samples at all) really makes you wonder.
I cannot possibly say anything about collections like this, especially not just based upon a quick-smelling tour of “bestsellers”. That felt like sitting in a fine, slow-dining restaurant and being served fast food.
But, as I said: there were niche and artisan brands (blessed be), many new “project brands”, and distributors (their stands were mainly self-service testing of perfumes to me) absolutely no samples, and most often information you can find by yourself on perfume brands’ websites. Knowing that makes it easier to plan your coverage and points of focus.
Let’s stand on the sunny side of Pitti Fragranze 2023! Wonderful people of perfume matter, and what a joy it is to meet again or to meet finally, in person!
Pitti leaves you enough time and energy to engage in conversations, smell fragrances together, discuss, and share your observations – I’m thoroughly enjoying such memorable moments!
I did expect to see quite a few new brands, but oh! I was surprised – again. After witnessing so many new brands entering the niche market at Esxence Milan earlier this year, I must say that more out to boldly find their spot! I guess that 2023. has been good for the Industry, with such a plethora of new perfumes!
Some brands still approach perfumery as an art form, and many are eager, enthusiastic, and trying to stand out, The gourmand fragrances trend is still present – but expressed more subtly at Pitti Fragranze 2023.
I also noticed that fruity and herbal perfumes are trending, tender, and relaxing. Overall, I’d say generally, perfumes that are engaging but not overwhelming, more storytelling than shouting, and leaning more toward quiet luxury.
Could this be a fragrant equivalent to the “Old Money” trend we are currently witnessing?
Some fragrances were nice, some quirky, some enjoyable, some fun, and some captured my attention immediately.
Talking about the need to stand out, here comes a new fragrance brand named BORNTOSTANDOUT. coming from South Korea (Jum Lim).
Names of their fragrances follow the concept, red will catch your attention, and if you might think that Killian and Tom Ford have covered quirky names, try smelling like Mud, Fig Porn, or Indecent Cherry. I guess Gen Z could identify with the brand easily,
BORNTOSTANDOUT has lovely bottles, great packaging, shock-value names, and direct fragrances, complemented with a line of room fragrances and body care products (among other products).
I smelled them on blotters, and among many, I rather liked FIG PORN (Fig, Pear, Bergamot, Cedarwood, Peony, Turkish Rose, Amber, Vanilla, Musk, Sandalwood), because it’s exactly the opposite of what the name suggests.
I’m always curious about new fig-themed fragrances anyway. There’s nothing dirty about this fig, if some porn ever happened, it happened with a fig wasp long before this fig fell off a tree. It’s a nice, fresh, and smooth perfume, and fun to wear.
More desire to ruffle the feathers comes from OHTOP, a new French-Korean brand whose fragrances are inspired by Seoul, but not by touristy postcard-style IG filtered impressions.
Their collection of five fragrances was created by Alexis Dadier, Amelie Bourgeois, Anne-Sophie Behaghel, and Christian Carbonnel.
I tested them all on blotters, and I Hate Rose (Amelie Bourgeois) popped out as my favorite. This just might be a Rose for I-am-not-fond-of-roses perfume lovers, just like the brand owner Romeo Oh wanted it.
And yes, you could smell rhubarb present in several new perfumes presented at Pitti Fragranze 2023…
Moving on to more quirky names, there’s also another new fragrance brand, based in Romania – GRAMMATIK DRAMMATIK. “You’re not here to impress, you’re here to express yourself.” is one of the key messages, and you can do it with perfumes named Ambitchious, Im-pish, Sexorcism, NFI, or Haptic – created by Cristiano Canali, Chris Maurice, and Vanessa Prudent.
It’s an interesting collection, and I liked (based on blotter-testing) Ambitchious by Canali ( Rum, Mandarin Orange and Coffee, Tiare Flower, Frangipani, Hibiscus, Vanilla, Sandalwood, and Cashmeran).
One of the brands that stood out, with their concept, packaging, visuals, and perfume (and I ended up recommending them to everyone, colleagues, buyers, and distributors) is Alexx and Anton. Congratulations, that’s a way to exhibit!
Just like that, it’s simple and effective: two men, two perfumes, each one tells a story about them, and these two can be layered. That also worked just fine, when I applied both Coquet (Clove, Black Pepper and Ylang-Ylang, Carnation, Lilac, Peony, Rose, Cashmeran, Opoponax, Oakmoss, and Vetiver) and Vaudou (Magnolia, Saffron, Cypriol Oil, Olibanum, Vetiver, Moss, Benzoin, Myrrh and Sandalwood). both created by perfumer Will Inrig.
I tested both fragrances on my skin (dabbing), and everyone I met later asked me what I was wearing. Like, mmmmh, smells so goood, what is that?!
Plus, they have exquisite ceramic bottles, handcrafted by Japanese ceramist Yasuhiro Cúze of Studio Cúze, and you can pick your bottle among 34 offered (if I counted well), for your 30 ml of extrait.
Lovely, artistic, and authentic.
Another new brand that struck me as being very authentic is coming from Türkiye – EPHEMERAL DYADIC!
This Turkish brand embraces the dyadic principle—the interplay between two elements, the artistry of fragrance and the canvas of your skin.
Founder and creative director, Sinan Saul told me that the brand doesn’t list perfumers, simply because he feels that the concept and execution are his artistry, translated to scent.
The collection consists of 8 fragrances (Another Word. Bodhi&Utah, Dark Dreams, Liquid Skin, Lost Chemistry, Missing Feeling, No Taboos, and Ozymandias) – and I immediately liked Missing Feeling – a fragrant personal story with a bit of sparkling champagne, a ripe peach that’s promising, and soft, very tender musks.
Very niche and interesting, it makes perfect sense.
A new line of perfumes coming from Italy, Notefluide, also caught my attention. Michela Cagnoni is a singer and musician, and one of the perfumes – Oudverture – was created by Luca Maffei.
She also told me that she composed the other four fragrances, all inspired by the musical compositions of her mentor, U. Petrin.
Oudverture is described by the brand as “The smells of pitch rubbed on the strings of the bows, the scent of the woods of grand piano, of a string orchestra, of the damp woods of the stage mix with the dusty scent of curtains, stalls and velvet boxes.”
I started my smelling tour of Notefluide with this fragrance, as an overture, well Oudverture to be exact: smoothly blended, with quiet and soft, woody-oudy facet, shining like a polished violin or cello. It smells like instruments in an orchestra waiting for musicians to arrive and start playing, strings, pegs, and crimson curtains hovering above the orchestra pit.
Very nice and elegant.
Maria Candida Gentile – Viridarium
I heard about this new release even before arriving to Pitti Fragranze 2023, and was eager to try it!
Now, that’s a beauty: Viridarium is inspired by the famous fresco The Viridarium of Livia (at the National Roman Museum). A garden from the first century BC, typical of Roman villas with vividly depicted trees, flowers, shrubs, and birds fluttering.
Some flowers, trees, and shrubs depicted inspired the creation of this perfume with top notes of mandarin, bergamot, clary sage, a heart of chamomile flowers, wild herbs, poppy leaves, carnation, macerated date and beeswax, and a base of exotic woods, incense, and cypress.
Maria Candida Gentile’s fragrant painting feels like you are observing Livia Drusilla (a Roman empress, the third wife of Augustus, and a very influential lady) relaxing in her garden, a noble matrona wearing neither excessive jewelry nor pretentious costumes – power and quiet luxury oozing from her appearance and her surroundings.
This is a beautiful fragrance, tenderly herbal, bittersweet, rich in nuances, with lovely development through all its phases – do sample it if you can, it is available in 1,5 ml, 15 ml, and 100 ml, and is reasonably priced. Love at first sniff!
Johnathan Dufour’s inspiration for this line of perfumes was born during his spiritual retreat in Peru. This designer has ten perfumes now, from 2022-2023, and fragrances were created by Bertrand Duchaufour and Philippe Paparella.
I couldn’t quite memorize all the meanings behind each perfume, but they involve numerology, scents of shamanism, traditional medicine, and names like Shamanism, Solar Soul, Astral Twin, etc.
I received one sample, Carnal Spirit (Frankincense, pear, ginger, black pepper, pink pepper, Sichuan pepper, pine needle, Jasmine, Violet, Cedarwood, Osmanthus Guilin DL, Clary Sage, Cashmeran, Geranium, Lily of the Valley, Nutmeg, Cinnamon, musk, creamy sandalwood, amber, vanilla, peach) – and found it quite refreshing and uplifting.
I received Antal months before Pitti Fragranze 2023 (a spicy-aromatic, mineral-dry-woody creation by Marie Le Febvre), and Estoras now presented two new creations (both by Zsolt Zolyomi, a Hungarian perfumer). An element that weaves through all perfumes is that mineral feeling, a connection to Sahara, because, as the story goes – all are inspired by the adventures of Prince Antal Esterhazy and his friend Count Laszlo Almasy (the English Patient). Scents of the ” Esterházy Safari”, are now brought to life by Antal’s grandson – Paul-Anton Esterházy.
New fragrances are Port of Alexandria and Shadows of Giza.
I had to stop by and smell the new creation – Risk, by Husen Baba of Azman and Antonio Gardoni for Azman. Well, prepare to Risk: with six types of oudh swirling one around the other, dancing on your skin insatiably. Wow. I see darkness and light, animalic notes prancing joyfully, and layer upon layer of well-structured oudh greatness! If you’re a complicated oudh lover – keep your eyes on this one, and prepare to dive into Risk!
I tried to sample the whole line of this new brand – went over twice, waited for my turn, sampled and sampled on my own, and kept returning to Mistral & Fleur de Vichy (available as candle, fragrance, and laundry detergent), and created by Nisrine Bouazzaoui Grillié / perfumer at Givaudan. It’s a very nice subtly marine-themed fragrance, created with smooth and loverly Givaudan naturals.
I wonder about the laundry detergent…that could smell really nice.
Rito – Profumi Artistici Italiani
Miguel Matos told me to go to Rito stand, and smell the brand new release – Gran Gala! Stefano Torregiani and Davide Martini have beautiful presentations, and thread their path carefully (founded in 2020), and I look forward to testing the complete line in detail. There are 5 perfumes in total, 4 created by Chris Maurice and one by Miguel Matos.
Gran Gala is a grand perfume, in a beautiful bottle – feeling retro-glamourous, opulent, and exciting! There’s an air of great expectations about it, and it feels very joyful – despite the grandeur and elegance. Feels like a Gala I’d like to attend! Mesmerizing.
Aura of Kazakhstan
I didn’t manage to visit their stand at Esxence 2023, so I had them on my to-do list for Pitti Fragranze 2023.
This brand aims to convey the spirit of Kazakhstan, its beauty, and wealth of nature, they have 9 perfumes in their collection (and a new one coming up), and all were created by independent perfumers.
I kept returning to Wind of the Great Steppe, created by Sarah McCartney (2020)– without knowing that she was the one behind it. It felt familiar, finely textured, and so airy!
It’s easy to imagine the vastness of a Kazakhstan steppe with this one! It feels like a dry wind carrying the scent of shrubs, picking up particles of minerals from the ground, and swirling them around in a cloud that obscures the rising Sun.
Something New, Something Familiar But Different
Two brands (originally from NY) met at Pitti Fragranze in 2023, and I visited them both. Both exhibiting for their first time, although brand owners from one have moved to Italy and started their production there.
It’s Kierin NYC and Source Adage!
It was lovely to finally meet with Mona Maine de Biran, and to hug Christopher Draghi and Robert Dobay, now living in the pitoresque village of Riparbella, Tuscany.
I sprayed some Pier NY perfume after finding some free space on my skin (a refreshing salty-aquatic, it was really hot in Florence), and asked Christopher and Robert, what is the shortest possible and most positive perfume review? They looked at me wondering, and I said: a photo of an empty perfume bottle!
And I promised to send them this review of mine, so here it goes. When did you last empty a full bottle of perfume???
This is Aetai, an empty perfume bottle:
Frassai (Natalia Outeda) has lovely new candles – Divina Foresta and Fruto Prohibido, but I always, and I mean always reach for Blondine.
There were more, of course, more perfumes, more new brands, more collections of new fragrances, more new releases! And even after all that, I managed to visit Rinascente Perfumery in the centre of Florence, and test & smell more perfume!
Even that is – not all. In my AirB&B apartment bedroom, a nightstand was left with carefully arranged perfumes on it. A vintage Dolce Vita and Chanel 5, among others. So, yes, I did wear it as my SOTN at the end of days filled with fragrances! It never fails.
Symbiotic Experience Installation & MANE Workshop
The theme of this year’s exhibition Pitti Fragranze 2023 was Symbiotic Experience, with the intention of traveling beyond one-dimensional perception, so authors were assembled to create with a little help of AI. The installation was set in the Alcatraz Space of Stazione Leopolde .
Curators: Paola Gariboldi and Susanna Macchia
Perfume: Serge Majoullier / Mane
Digital Artwork: Giovanna Sala
Pefume: Alberto Morillas / Firmenich
Digital Artwork: Bonnie Tsang
Perfume: Coralie Spicher / Firmenich
Digital Artwork: Gisella Alfieri Sabattini
Perfume: Jérôme Di Marino / Mane
Digital Artwork: Alex Valentina
A MANE WORKSHOP is always a must-attend for me. Well, this year, the dedicated space consisted of 20 (twenty) chairs, all allegedly reserved days before the Pitti Frangranze 2023 opening.
I was on the waiting list for JUNGLE ESSENCE WORKSHOP, and – of course – very persistent to attend, and I DID!
Persistence, persistence, persistence, my friends, even if a representative of the Organiser tells you there’s no chance. It happens that some people who booked their seats well in advance- just didn’t show up.
Why this matters to me? Because it’s a learning opportunity during Pitti Fragranze 2023, to hear a MANE perfumers explain, present, and smell with you a selection of (new) raw materials, and/or technologies. This time we were observing the presentation of a portable extractor, to provide samples in situ, which then can be recreated at industrial production levels.
Jungle Essence captures scents and tastes, it’s portable and not complicated, and we were shown how it works.
Perfumer Jérôme Di Marino explained the whole process, and also presented and explained a heap of truly wonderful raw materials, such as Jasmine Sambac Abs, Jasmine Sambac E-Pure Jungle Essence, Jasmine Grandiflorum Abs, Jasmine Grandiflorum E-Pure Jungle Essence (to smell the difference between Absolutes and Jungle Essence materials), Cocoa Alc. Resinoid, Hemlock Blue Abs, Patchouli Essential Oil, Bran Abs, Red Champaca E-Pure Jungle Essence, Orris Pure Jungle Essence, Timur Pepper Pure Jungle Essence, Patchouli Gayo Pure Jungle Essence, Hazelnut Neo Jungle Essence, Sichuan Pepper Neo Jungle Essence, and Cofee Pure Jungle Essence (beautiful!).
if you want to create a simple Nutella Accord using just two materials, Cocoa and Hazelnut do the trick!
Can’t wait for the next learning experience with MANE!
Off-Pitti Fragranze 2023
Even evenings were reserved for more meetings, more perfume talks, and more – new releases.
We met, had a couple of Aperols, and talked about their new creations and collaborations: Sultan Pasha, together with Antonio Gardoni created a new fragrance in cooperation with Al-Amin Abedin – for Shekor (brand name, meaning roots).
It’s a beauty, dedicated to Bangladesh, so keep your eyes open for this exceptional perfume, launching sometime in 2024!
Angelos Balamis had his moment of inspiration, talking about the importance of “elements in traces” in perfume, and pulled out a couple of od his new creations.
One moment made me cry out of pure happiness for him! Angelos is working on his new creation, a perfume for Nishane!
Moments like this make the most beautiful memories of Pitti Fragranze 2023.
Thank you all mentioned plus many more, for sharing your love with me.
I hope you’ve enjoyed my Pitti Fragranze 2023 report! It took me some time to finish it up, I’m still a bit slow and needed to rest after Florence. Stay tuned – another fair is coming up, and The Plum Girl is an official media partner! With Beautyworld ME, 31 Oct – 02 Nov 2023 in Dubai!
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