With so many celebrities rolling out fragrances and so many millions of consumers buying them, it's easy to forget that creating a scent is actually an art form. It takes talent, skill, and inventiveness.
I was reminded of this fact earlier this week at Elements Showcase where an impressive collection of niche fragrance brands came together to present their diverse products. The bi-annual showcase that first premiered last January, is the vision of Jeff Lawson, owner of an events consultancy, Ulrich Lang, a former L'Oreal exec, and Frederick Bouchardy, founder of Joya, a creative collective specializing in fragrance.
The goal of the event was to connect fragrance designers with the media and buyers from top distributors like Barney's and Henri Bendel, while at the same time, highlighting the artistry and craftsmanship of the exhibitors' products. At the event, held in midtown's Skylight Studios, Bouchardy and Lawson were excited to inform me that due to the success of the first Showcase, they were able to double the size, and feature twice the exhibitors this time around. The impressive lineup included Bond No. 9, C.O. Bigelow, Juliette Has A Gun, Odin, and Robert Piguet.
I must admit, upon walking into the Showcase, I was unsure how exactly one defines a "niche fragrance." My perfume knowledge is limited to the womens fragrance wall at Sephora. My signature scent is Chloé Eau de Parfum--the same as I imagine thousands of other girls in New York City alone. I learned that niche fragrances differ from the mainstream brands because of their select distribution and unique and innovative scents.
Traveling around to the different booths was an enlightening and an overall great smelling experience. One of the most intriguing products I sampled was Histoire de Parfums' 1969. I was told that it's Angelina Jolie's favorite perfume. After taking a whiff, it was clear as to why. The fragrance features notes of chocolate, coffee, and musk. Somehow all of the notes work together to create an intense, yet intoxifying scent that only someone as bad ass as Jolie can pull off.
Juliette Has A Gun's (created by Romano Ricci, the great-grandson of Nina Ricci) offerings also stood out. One of the brand's products, Not a Perfume, comes to life on the skin--literally. The scent can barely be detected on paper. Skin triggers the scent to grow in intensity. This effect is achieved by the product's sole ingredient--Cetalox.
Bond No. 9 was one of the few exhibitors that I had heard of before so I had to stop by and see what's next for the brand. I Love New York by Bond No. 9 is their latest collection of 15 different scents that will launch in series beginning this September. The line, like the I Love New York t-shirts, will feature easy to wear scents and will even be offered at a lower than usual price point. As always, the bottles, which come in hot pink, black, and an electric blue with the I Love NY logo emblazoned across the front are ones that you'll want to display even when the fragrance runs out.
Not only am I now excited to expand my fragrance horizons and find a new, unique, signature scent, but I also can't wait to see what Elements has in store for next time. I do know that they've partnered with the Fragrance Foundation to create the new "Indie" FiFi Award, a category that brands are able to enter themselves. The first ever winner of the award will be announced at the next showcase in January 2012, so stay tuned!