This year, the iconic once-a-year fragrance fair Pitti Fragranze, which is held in Florence every September, incorporated the entire city into its scent design. Thus, in the process, let the select audience of buyers and journalists that attended the event, in on the secret nooks and crannies of the great renaissance town. From the Officina Profumo Farmaceutica di Santa Maria Novella, to the church of San Miniato al Monte, from the center to the outskirts, Florence became the “City of Fragrances” and in the process, reclaimed its scent heritage.
Following are a few personal highlights of this incredible journey of scent.
ABEL ODOR’s Frances Shoemack
I always love catching up with Frances Shoemack and smelling what her Amsterdam-based brand Abel has to offer. This season, the introduction of their new Green Cedar scent is really exciting, especially since the fragrance is not as woody and spicy as one would expect. In fact, I’d wear this Green Cedar, and I’m more of a flower fragrance girl!
I caught up with Shoemack for a quick one of my “Selfies Interviews” and the result was super cool. Of course, interviews can only be as great as their subject!
The Officina Profumo Farmaceutica di Santa Maria Novella
As a child, I remember vividly that the Santa Maria Novella shop held endless possibilities for me. I would spray on their colognes and try on their cremes — uninterrupted and unstopped by my parents. As a grownup, I can’t say my experience inside the wondrous fragrance, beauty and wellbeing shop has changed much. Perhaps holding the power of money allows me to actually purchase some of the things I craved as a child but I still find wonder inside the nooks and crannies of this beautiful establishment. On a special press tour during Pitti Fragranze I learned how the place was established in 1612 by the Dominican monks as an apothecary for natural medicine, was then inherited by relatives of the last friar in the 1800s and how in 2012, for their 400 years anniversary, it was restored. improving on the look centuries eroded away but also bringing back what the flood in 1966 destroyed.
Pictured above, are the frescoes from the adjoining cappella, which were painted by Mariotto di Nardo, from the school of Giotto.
Ludmila Bitar of IDEO Parfumeurs
What I love most about Beirut, Lebanon based perfume company IDEO is their approach to fragrances, which always seem like a step back to the era when women smelled delicious and men smelled like men. When I wear one of their unisex masterpieces of olfactory creation like Last Canto or Malika’s Temptation, I find myself transported to a continental street in the 1920s or 30s, with men smoking cigars walking side by side with perfectly dressed, bejeweled women, scented with jasmine and white musk.
Below, I caught up with the ever kind and elegant Bitar on her scent philosophy.
401 È AMATRICE
I always love a fragrance with its heart in the right place. And this creation by Marina and Roberto Serafini has its heart and soul at the center of an event that changed Italy irreparably. Hailing from a family of shopkeepers, two years ago the Serafinis found themselves at the epicenter of one of the most devastating earthquakes central Italy has ever experienced. Having personally been nearby during the tremors, awoken by the rumbling, I can tell you that the Amatrice earthquake felt and sounded like the end of the world. And to those who owned businesses there, it was.
As survivors of the earthquake, the Serafinis decided to give back to the town that meant so much to them and their family. So along with master nose Lorenzo Dante Ferro, the couple created 401 È Amatrice, a fresh and citrusy scent that is both an homage to Amatrice as well as a testament to the survivalist attitude of its citizens. Unisex, of course, and made of 140 unique ingredients, I shall wear this fragrance with pride — Italian pride.
Stay tuned for Part Two of this scent journey.