Our trip to Pitti Fragranze

Pitti Fragranze is one of the world’s leading fragrance trade fairs, where the industry come to see (and smell) new perfumes, spot new trends emerging and spy new houses showcasing their scents for the very first time. We took a trip to the glorious Tuscan city of Florence, our noses a-quiver in excitement, and invite you to look back with us at some of our favourite things…

Can you spot Thomas Dunkley (a.k.a. The Candy Perfume Boy)…?

Pitti is held in a huge old building that used to be a train station, an annual event that’s now celebrating its 17th year. If you can picture a space filled with hundreds of brands all competing for attention, and thousands of perfumes being sprayed in that space, you’ll get an idea of just how fragrant the whole situation can get. Add to that several thousand visitors, including press, distributors, buyers and store managers from around the world, and the odd perfumer wandering the exhibition – we spotted Betrand Duchafour, Cecile Zarokian and Pia Long – getting to have good catch-up chats with those last two – and you’ll also understand how overwhelming the experience can be!

As you walk into the exhibition space, the question is: where to begin? And the only answer is to wander around and around, going back with a greater focus for several hours over three days, and homing in on the things that caught your eye (and nose) the most.

We were delighted to see so many houses we know so well proudly showing their scented wares, and were introduced to other really exciting brands we hope will make it to the U.K. very soon…

The Miller Harris stand was definitely the most vibrantly enticing in the whole show – if you’ve ever visited one of their boutiques, you’ll know how these guys excell at visual merchandising that makes fragrance artistically exciting and accessible for everyone. Here they were showing recent launches of the ‘Brighton Rock’ collection (including our favourite, Violet Ida (softly powdered lipstick kisses) the lovely Blousy (all luscious strawberries and rose), and a sneak peek at a forthcoming launch of Secret Gardenia (think voluptuous bouquets of dewy white flowers).

Sana Jardin had their soon-to-be-launched candles on display – a first for the house which we will certainly be filling our own homes with! Torn between the options, if forced to choose we’d plump for the Tiger By Her Side: a stunning evocation of the perfume, weaving Morocan rose and Somalian incense for an intenseley beautiful scent we couldn’t stop smelling. There was a real buzz around the stand, of people entranced by the story of the foundation they’ve set up for the women who pick the flowers – allowing them to create their own side-business making products from the rose water, for example, left over from distilling the fragrances. With lots of questions about sustainability circling the industry, here’s a house who are way ahead of the game.


Talking of candles, we couldn’t help but fall in love with the entire aesthetic of Coreterno – meaning ‘eternal heart’ in Italian – a lifestyle brand ‘conceived in Rome and born in the streets of New York’ by designers Francilla Ronchi and Michelangelo Brancato. Drawing inspiration from rock stars and rebels throughout history, they began with candles and were now showing their fragrances for the first time. We loved The Wild Passion candle and the Catharsis perfume, which smelled spicy and soothing all at once, with drifts of cardamom and transcendental woodiness.

We bumped into Olfiction Director and perfumer Pia Long at the very moment she first saw the fragrance she’d created for BeauFort London finally on display. Given a difficult brief for Terror & Magnificence to evoke the imposing structures and life of notorious architecht Hawksmoor, with all the associated brooding spaces and darkly mysterious atmospheres, Pia absolutely nailed it. We sprayed and felt a shiver of cold flagstones, echoes of hushed voices, ancient church pews infused with incense and a stunningly wearable suplle leather dry down. There’s far more magnificence than terror, and she looked rightly proud (if a little overwhelmed) holding that bottle aloft.

A new name we got excited by was the French niche house of Maison Rebatchi, founded only last year by Mohamed Rebatchi, collaborating with a stellar line-up of perfumers, including Bertrand Duchaufour, Alienor Massenet and Maurice Roucel. All seven scents are remarkably beautiful, with an assuredness and elegance reflected in the noses who made them, and the freshness of this Rose Rebatchi really blew us away – exactly like standing in the rose fields of Grasse during May. We have no doubt this house will be picked up by a U.K. stockist soon, and we’ll be forming an orderly queue…

A standout event had to be the Jean-Claude Ellena Retrospective – choosing fifteen of his fragrant compositions and discussing how and why they were created. Collated by Chandler Burr, and including a fascinating interview with the great perfumer himself, you can listen to to the English translation in full, here. It’s a must for any perfume fan, to give you greater insight into Ellena’s work, and no doubt (as we did) scurrying to find your own favourites from his collections, now smelling them again with a new understanding.

We could go on and on (and on) about the highlights we saw and smelled at Pitti this year, but are still mentally processing the many hundreds of perfumes and people, to be perfectly honest! We do hope, though, that we’ve given you a flavour of this year’s fragrance fair, and an idea of what you want to smell next…

By Suzy Nightingale

Recommended Posts