More Pitti Fragranze: Scents & Sensibilities


The model turned perfumer Annick Goutal, a legend of the scent world, once wrote “perfume is the music of my dream.” Perhaps there is no other art that brings us back to a place and time quite like the olfactory art and yet perfume isn’t limited to memories alone. It deserves its own top place in the firmament of wearable art.

I found out at this year’s Pitti Fragranze, a labyrinth of the best the scent world has to offer held inside the atmospheric Stazione Leopolda, that I’ve been somewhat wrong all these years to pine for long lost loves and far away times when I smell a scent that reminds of an ex or of my childhood. Yes, perfume can and will do that, but it’s the scent of imagination and wonder than give it the honors it deserves. As a stand-alone, one of a kind, truly magnificent art form.

The person responsible for this newfound mindset when I look at — better yet, when I smell — a fragrance, is NY Times “nose” Chandler Burr. Burr is a perfume historian, a journalist who has been the scent critic for the NY Times, and a curator of the olfactory art. Based in NYC, Burr travels all over the world, partly in search of fantastic new scents but mostly to enlighten his fellow human beings on the true art of perfume.

In all his kindness, he let me sit in on an interview he was having with a fashion editor on the phone from NYC, while the woman pushed for him to reveal his ideas of the “best new trends” in fragrance. With class and grace, he answered by saying, “I was a perfume journalist at the Times, not a beauty writer. I didn’t focus on trends and brands, marketing doesn’t play any role for me at all. I’ve always held a different position from most of the people who deal with perfume.”

For the entire piece, some exclusive videos by Mike Figgis for Diane Pernet Paris and a whole lot more, check out my Huffington Post Style blog.

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