By Giulia Piceni. Cover image courtesy of Pitti Fragranze.
Going to a fragrance fair as a neophyte is certainly intimidating: all of these stands whose very few names ring as familiar, the constant anxiety of asking for a tester and everybody looking incredibly expert. If at these premises a pinch of social anxiety is added, the level of utility of the participation to the event is equal to zero.
I found myself exactly in this situation during the 21st edition of Pitti Fragranze: as an art student and aspiring fashion journalist, everything was so new and at the same time thrilling and scary.
While walking around Stazione Leopolda, I felt like I didn’t have the tools to decipher all the incredible world of perfumery: in each spurt I was smelling an entire history which, due to my lack of knowledge, I couldn’t appreciate at fullest.
I had to find a key to unlock this situation and finally find my way into the fair: I just needed a little bit of creativity and then I would have been able to find the perfect topic and angle for this article – otherwise you wouldn’t be reading these lines LOL –
And is there a better place to learn new things as a talk? I was lucky to partake in two of them that had as background a field which is very familiar to me: art. Quoting AI generated images and archeological Roman sites, I found a little island while being in unknown waters.
Spacing in time and practices, the two perfumery brands that hosted the talks made me understand how the world of fragrances is more interconnected to cultural fields than expected; realization that made me finally enjoy the fair and not feel like a fish out of water anymore!
AI ART AND PERFUMERY: DISCOVERING FUTURE WORLDS WITH AGARTHI SCENTCHORE
And what if the astronomer and physicist Edmond Halley was right and the inside of the Earth was hollow? What if under the external crust were hidden dozens of unknown worlds ready to be explored? This is the premise of Agarthi ScentCore, an olfactory journey to the center of the Earth with the help of AI generated images.
Just like inside a Jules Verne story, the creative process started by laying out a narrative text that described imaginary places and atmospheres. After that, the text was submitted to an AI deep-learning algorithm along with a few references; the deep learning algorithm presented the narrated worlds under the form of images.
These last ones along with the text were the main sources of inspirations for the fragrance designers that gave life to perfumes extraits that smelled like pure adventure: Hidden Shores, Burning Chores, Floating Lands, Waterways Spell.
The adoption of AI has created a new way of conceiving marketing and brand identity in the field of perfumery: very storytelling driven, fueled by imagination and fantasy scenarios. Agarthi ScentChore is now planning to present other seventy-six new worlds and new respective fragrances: can’t wait to taste them all!
RECONNECTING PAST AND PRESENT THROUGH A FRAGRANCE: FOROF
And now a little flash backwards in the past, more precisely in the 112 AD. It may be a very far away time in history but with the help of a perfume, the distance is going to be erased.
At the beginning of 2001, inside the Palazzo Roccagiovine in Rome, a small section of marbles were found: this discovery helped the historians locate the ancient Basilica Ulpia.
Inside that basilica it used to take place the manumissio: a rite that included the burning of amber, saffron, incense and roses, during which a slave was finally declared a free man (libertus). The chance was that the venue of FOROF, an contemporary art and archeological foundation powered by Giovanna Caruso Fendi, was located in its eastern apsis, intrinsically linking to the ancient Roman past FOROF’s holistic approach to culture.
With the help of the worldwide respected expert of fragrances Laura Bosetti Tonatto, Giovanna Caruso Fendi has given life to FOROF Essenza: a fragrance inspired by the previously quoted raw materials whose packaging references the Trajan Column thanks to a continuous spiral traced on the bottle.
After these acquired notions, a trip to Rome to rediscover the time of Emperor Adrian is highly required while also having a taste of the Essenza in the dedicated shop.