MILAN — Artistic perfumery show Esxence — The Art Perfumery Event is gearing up to resume its IRL showcase after a two-year hiatus caused by the pandemic.
To mark the return, the event moved to a larger venue, swapping The Mall venue for the MiCo-Milano Convention Center space. The move will allow organizers to increase exhibit space by 15% to accommodate 260 exhibitors on 75,347 square feet.
“We are full and even had to turn down some requests because we couldn’t squeeze more brands into the venue,” said Maurizio Cavezzali, co-founder of Esxence and managing director of show organizer Equipe Exibit. The last edition of the show in 2019 had 221 exhibitors and attracted nearly 8,000 visitors from 77 countries.
Cavezzali pointed out that the greater location and footfall of brands signals the growing interest in niche fragrances in the market. He also pointed to the growing international appeal of the show, as evidenced by exhibitors from Japan, Australia, Argentina, China, South Korea, Hungary and Hong Kong for the first time.
The location will be divided into Main Brands and Spotlight, the space dedicated to emerging brands, 70% of which will also come from abroad.
“We are witnessing a real renaissance in artistic perfumery, with a considerable increase in international and Italian brands applying to join the event,” confirmed the co-founder of Essence, Silvio Levi, also highlighting the strong market demand. “Over the past two years, I think people have realized that losing their sense of smell [due to COVID-19] is a real shame and have rediscovered its importance and beauty as well as its influence on our well-being.
Levi, who is also founder and president of the Essencional research center dedicated to artistic perfumery, said that also in light of this approach, in recent months “we have noticed that consumers have not reduced the use of perfume – which is capable of offering escape and emotion – but has developed the desire to experiment.
In recent years, Italy has shown growing interest in artistic perfumery, which recorded sales of more than 270 million euros last year, accounting for 2.8% of the country’s beauty business. Specifically, niche fragrances accounted for 14.2% of sales generated in perfumeries and 30.6% of total fragrance sales in Italy.
The evolution of Essence reflects this growth, as Cavezzali recalled the various venue changes over the past decade and the move from a local event to an international event. “When we started, there were really only a handful of people who believed this category would grow and grow in the future,” he said.
In line with Esxence’s commitment to promote olfactory culture in addition to fostering business opportunities, a series of talks, lectures and workshops will be organized and accessible to the public during the four days of the event. The rest of the fair will be open to the public for the last two days only.
Developed in collaboration with Essencional, the conferences will be led by key industry players, including the Osmothèque of the Versailles International Perfume Conservatory, anthropologist Annick Le Guérant and “Fragrance of the World” writer Michael Edwards, who will join the event remotely. Additional conferences will analyze business opportunities in new markets, with a particular focus on Africa; the role of digital in the business of artistic perfumery; the evolution of the creative role of “noses” in the industry and sustainability as a central theme in the fragrance supply chain.
To further telegraph its educational mission, Esxence will host an art exhibit developed with IFF for the first time. Titled “Fleeting-Scents in Color,” the showcase will be an excerpt from the exhibition at the Mauritshuis Museum in The Hague, the Netherlands, which correlated scents with 17th-century landscape paintings, exploring works of art from a visual point of view and an olfactory angle.
To also meet the growing market demand for niche cosmetics, in 2019, Esxence transformed its Esxkin space dedicated to independent international beauty brands into a larger and distinct space, called “Experience Lab”. The showcase will mark its second edition this year by doubling the number of exhibitors to 60 international players specializing in niche skincare, sun care, make-up, grooming and baby care, among others.
Essence and Experience Lab are set to wrap up the Italian beauty season as they follow Cosmoprof Worldwide Bologna and the inaugural edition of the Milano Beauty Week event.
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