With Antonio Alessandria who was my partner venturing for the first time into the World Perfumery Congress 2018
There’s always a first time they say and my first World Perfumery Congress, June 5-June 7, 2018 has been no less than memorable. For those who’s not familiar with this event, it is the most important technical event involving the perfume industry and it takes place every two years in different places, mostly France and United States. In 2018 it happened to be in Nice, just a few hours by train from Milan, so how could I miss it?
With Daniela Andrier: I stepped into her while smelling a blotter and said:"Bonjour Mme Andrier". She replied in perfect Italian "Buongiorno Ma-gni-fi-scent, giusto?" then we had a brief talk about how excited she was to work on the next Etat Libre D’ Orange I am Trash
No perfume brands, either artisanal, niche or commercial exhibit here and you won’t smell next season’s fragrant hits. No public is allowed in, just the players in the field and the press. In a nutshell It is the perfumers trade show where you can find producers of both natural and synthetic raw materials, equipments and distributors.
The entrance of the World Perfumery Congress 2018 Palais des Congres in Nice
Also the atmosphere of the World Perfumery Congress 2018 is quite different from shows like Esxence or Fragranze and you can immediately get it just breathing. As you enter the Palais des Congrès Nice Acropolis, the chill of unscented air conditioning surprisingly welcomes you instead of a wall of fragrant pastiche (mostly made of norlimbanol (a woody aromachemical) and trendy sharp ambers lately). There’s a deep respect for the main professional tool, the nose and nobody sprays perfume. Everybody is friendly and explains gently while dipping blotters and showing you their new specialties and their applications. The attire is quite formal, but there’s no need to pinch your cheek in case you spot the supernovas of perfumery like Olivier Cresp, Maurice Roucel, Ralph Schwieger or Anne Flipo passing by and saying “b’jour”. You’re still alive but you hit the fragrant heavens!
Calice Becker at the World Perfumery Congress
To my joy I was also allowed to enter the conferences at the World Perfumery Congress 2018 open to perfumers only, so I could attend so many interesting lectures. One of the most meaningful was about the Societé International des Parfumeurs Createurs (SIPC) given by its president, Givaudan Executive Perfumer Calice Becker. Madame Becker highlighted the mission of this global association established in 2016 to defend the name of the perfumer/creator, no matter if employed in big companies or independent – “We are all perfumers and the SIPC needs every perfumer. Therefore I invite all of you to join us and to invite people also from countries where there’s no Perfumer Society”. Part of this mission will be to share knowledge among perfumers because – she explained – “As the environment changes faster and faster, competition increases on one hand, but we can overcome this sharing knowledge. If two people share information, they don’t lose anything, they both double the knowledge”. Another goal is to involve perfumers to work with IFRA and with flavorists to build better standards for the future of the industry.
Historical Portraits hanging at the Robertet Booth
Last but not least, Calice Becker introduced a new challenging project the SIPC together with the Societé Francaise des Parfumeurs and the Osmothèque are pursuing: the establishment of the International Conservatory of Fragrances. The new conservatory will include the current archives of the Osmothèque that should move from Versailles downtown in the Marais in the stunning Place des Vosges. This way it will be able to expand including many more perfumes from all over the world. This ambitious proposal has been shortlisted by the Mairie de Paris to be founded and if it will be accepted, opening is scheduled for 2022. Of course we’re all keeping fingers crossed for that!
Christophe Laudamiel and his dog Yuki
Speaking about sharing, independent perfumer Christophe Laudamiel gave an insightful lecture at the World Perfumery Congress 2018, “New power and transparency in an open age” on the importance nowadays to make perfumery more transparent to the customer. Technology and social media are powerful tools to give access to the public to information currently extremely difficult as also explained by CNN Senior Producer Josiah Ryan in call conference. Therefore experts and perfumers should take advantage of them to explain it in a simple way, giving “a bird’s eye view into the brain of an expert” so that everyone can feel special and this generates a more trusting, engaged consumer. Some stats from the web highlighted the “war room” of perfumery is currently missing this great opportunity. Exploiting this big potential to raise a strong aware community will lead in the future to more innovation and to new exciting business models. M. Laudamiel’s final line was as much heartening as Mme Becker’s one for a new era to come: “Collaborate. Don’t control. Don’t compete. Don’t fear”.
Natural raw materials presented at the Payan Bertrand booth
A new amazing wind is blowing including ground breaking research developing raw materials to expand the perfumer’s palette with unexpected shades, but I will tell you more in the future. Stay tuned!
Ermano Picco, Editor
Sherri Sebastian will also be reporting on trends in raw materials at the World Perfumery Congress 2018 in her next Notes from The Lab