“Year after year, the identity of our community gets more and more clear and defined.”
Silvio Levi – Esxence Co-Founder
A week after returning to Paris from The sixth edition of Esxence – The Scent of Excellence, Artistic Perfumery’s trade fair in Milan, I’m still under the spell of what was essentially a 4-day non-stop perfume celebration with some of my favorite people on the planet.
In hindsight, I should have begun pacing myself earlier. I might have seen it coming when less than half-way through the first day, I had to leave the Triennale di Milano campus to sit in a café and grip the side of the table as I tried to clear my head. And this head clearing must be seen in relative terms. I was, after all, in the middle of a Milanese neighborhood, bustling with Italians.
An hour later I was back at Esxence, drawn as if by a magnet to the intoxicating pleasures of the perfumed air.
Had this been cocktails instead of perfume we were consuming, they’d still be sweeping up bodies along with aftermath Charleston party confetti and streamers in the halls of The Triennale.
Indeed, so volatile and grand was this year’s elixir d’ Esxence that the only dynamic powerful enough to slam the top back on the bottle and bring the entire Esxence extravaganza to a close, was reality: return flight plane schedules and — exhaustion.
Esxence 2014 for me was a stunning reflection of what artistic niche perfumery is today, exceptional, complex, volatile, and sparklingly aldehydic, presented by Silvio Levi in a sculptured, limited edition Triennale flacon, housed in a Milanese box.
A classic perfume pyramid of the Esxence 2014 phenomenon might read like this:
A heady, inspiring and generous top note of perfume brands, owners, CEOs, creative directors, noses, new launches, and an adoring perfumista public.
A luminous and complex heart: rich, round, and plump as the earth, composed of retailers, distributors, essential oil companies, and perfume writers;
A dynamically structured and resistant base with a tenacious trail of planetary proportion: anchored by trade fairs, of which Esxence is the largest and most influential, with Silvio Levi at the helm; documented in a noble pedigree through the monumental works of Michael Edwards’ Fragrances of the World, animated by national perfume societies, and watched over by an honorable and trustworthy foundation institution, L’Osmothèque, presided by Patricia de Nicolaï.
No longer a fleeting shadow on the walls of perfume history, artistic niche perfumery is fully manifest.
Tomorrow and tomorrow when you wake up it will be there, promising as the dawn, greeting, affirming, and beaconing, ready to accompany you in doubts or fantasies, and later, much later, in dry down it will lay a memory at your feet, generous, layered, and touchingly sincere.
In subsequent posts I’ll offer glimpses as through the tiny keyhole of my perception. What I lived and loved in this bright world.