Paris Perfume Week: A Fragrance Event à la Française

2024 . 04 . 18 | written by Karen Marin

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Fashion Week now has competition: Fragrance. As Pret-à-Porter shows move from Milan to London, Paris, and other cities, now fragrance follows suit, because hot on the heels of Esxence in Milan, 6 – 9 March, Paris Perfume Week took place 21 – 24 March. The perfumistas and fragrance community were out in force at both events, eager to continue smelling and discovering fantastic new scents while bonding over all things fragrant.

Kicking off on International Fragrance Day, Paris Perfume Week (PPW), organized by Nez, was a celebration of the many different facets of the universe of fragrance. There was plenty to see and do, with nearly 50 exhibiting brands, 60 conferences and workshops referred to as SmellTalks, plus master classes and an exhibit dedicated to the 20th year anniversary of Parfum d’Empire. Together with fellow Essencional contributor, Ermano Picco, we share thoughts and observations in a two part series. May I begin?

A light filled space
Multi-level space


For my part, I was happy to have the opportunity to attend this show to see many young, upstart brands who, for the most part, all had equal footing in the show in terms of space and the rather generic display allowed. It reminded me of the early days of Esxence where the brand and the “juice” were the standouts, over and above any visual and marketing cues. I was also pleased to see so many young women entrepreneurs and creative directors including Natalia Outeda of Frassai, Caroline Plessier at Racyne and Laura Girard at Cadèle. Ms. Outeda was inspired by her native country, Argentina, by its’ lands and by its’ people. Her slogan, “Perfume is an experience best savored slowly” is a call to (slow) action, to enjoy fragrance through the breath, to be present in the sensorial moment. Frassai’s Dormir al Sol, lives up to its name, embodying a lazy afternoon, sleeping in the sun while resting in the arms of gentle mimosa. Meanwhile, Ms. Plessier is guided by her vision of creating short-formula fragrances that favor natural and even vegan ingredients. Racyne currently counts five fragrances in the collection; Verdeur took me on an olfactory journey away from my urban surroundings to a lush green space and a moment of tranquility. As for Ms. Girard, she has created a crossroads for perfumery and crystal healing. In each of the three Cadèle fragrances, you will find a gemstone which infuses the scent with its energetic properties. Once the bottle is fully used, the top may be unscrewed to retrieve the jewel. I have to say, my “best of show” goes to Ms. Girard’s latest creation which will launch later this year. A concoction of rich oud blended with ambrosial nuances of plum was absolutely delicious. But let me share her words: “I wanted to create a completely genderless perfume with a captivating sillage, mysterious and elegant. There are notes of plum liquor, tonka, oud, tobacco and vanilla, among others. I was inspired by oriental scents but wanted to keep a chic Parisian undertone, just like in all our perfumes, this is kind of the brand’s « signature » .

Thomas de Monaco
Anatole Lebreton


I have to hand it to Nez for putting together a very rich program with topics ranging from women in perfumery, to how to work with Influencers to shining a light on the olfactory rituals of the Middle East. In addition, they had an amazing roster of high profile personalities – Francis Kurkdjian, Chantal Roos, Mathilde Laurent among them – who gave master classes and interviews. They had a great stage on the building’s lower level, where the set up consisted of informal couches, so conducive to informal conversation! It was also encouraging to see that the audiences were made up of both professionals and many students who were attending ISIPCA, the Ecole Supérieure du Parfum and other institutions. What a fantastic learning opportunity for young people who want to get into the industry! In addition, in the near future Nez will broadcast all the workshops as podcasts. One call out, however, – all the presentations were made in French without translation capabilities.

Heading downstairs for lectures
The stage is set for workshops & lectures

Educational and informative moments weren’t lacking at PPW because I also attended brand Master Classes were the noses behind the scents made the presentations. I particularly enjoyed the class hosted by Soul of Makeen during which perfumers Patrice Revillard and Anne-Sophie Behaghel spoke about what inspired them.

Soul of Makeen
Soul of Makeen Masterclass


Many Parisian perfumeries and boutiques were also hosting events on their premises during PPW. The only one I was able to visit was the pop-up shop for Infiniment Coty, a new collection of 14 fragrances which, according to the brand, pays tribute to the pioneering spirit of François Coty who is recognized as the father of modern perfumery. Using proprietary technology, Coty has created the “Aura Moléculaire” which brand representatives claim ensures that each fragrance will have a wearing time of 30 hours. Given the worldwide penchant for longevity and projection, Coty’s objectives are clear as they pursue a greater slice of the fragrance market. The collection, which covers all olfactory families, is divided into 3 times of the day: dawn, day and dusk. I felt the packaging (perhaps a retro nod to Courreges?) looked more mass than artistic, especially given the white cap, which to the eye seems to be plastic. Upon entering the pop-up shop, one is greeted by a gauntlet of artificial, oversized flowers which can diffuse fragrance. I give them credit for the efforts, but the proof will be in the sales. The pop-up shop will remain open for six months. (5 Rue des Blancs Manteaux, Paris 75004)

Infiniment Coty
The oversize flowers greet you at the Coty pop-up


PPW gets kudos for its freshman effort. The democratic approach to showcasing small, up and coming brands allowed everyone to have an equal footing (although I daresay the poor brands on the upper level who suffered under the blazing sunshine coming through the sky lights might disagree with me). I think it was a tremendous learning experience for many brand founders/creators who are looking to get on the radar of content creators, retailers and buyers. That said, however, I had the impression the event skewed more B2C than B2B, and it certainly favored the French fragrance community over the international one. A key point of difference for PPW was the fact that it was a selling event – in that brands could sell product on the spot to consumers. Some had credit card machines while some took cash only, so there is definitely an opportunity for coordination and organization.

Via François

But we all have to start somewhere, and anyone looking at Esxence’s first edition as opposed to the 14th one last month can attest, the world of fragrance is growing exponentially. I laud the team for the fantastic educational program of workshops and presentations, and I again praise the inclusion of many young students who have aspirations to work in this sector. Should PPW occur at the same time next year, at least the date will be more than a month after Esxence, which could spur greater participation and interest, while allowing everyone to have a “nose break”.