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Where art meets perfume creation

Since 1989, Celso Fadelli, founder of Intertrade Group, has pursued the mission to create and develop artistic fragrances as a curated, olfactory experience. As President and Fragrance Curator of the Group, in over 28 years Fadelli has grown Intertrade to becoming today’s the most advanced and sophisticated international platform for artistic contemporary perfumery. Under Fadelli’s management and strategic vision, the Intertrade team creates, develops and positions Art Perfumery brands globally, from the creation of a fragrance to naming and packaging, market placement, marketing and communication. Over the years, Fadelli has assured Intertrade’s steady expansion through the acquisition of licenses, shareholdings, creating own brands and AVERY PERFUME GALLERY, the Group’s retail platform. 

Today, the Group leads further disruptive and creative innovation with branches and its own AVERY boutiques in 15 countries. UNSCENT, the Group’s communication platform, was established in 2013 by Fadelli to host events and unique experiences related to Art Perfumery and cultural content.

How did you get into the world of niche perfumery?

I actually began my career as an interior designer.  The two design companies I founded in 1984 and 1985, SPEA House and G&T International, were quite revolutionary at the time. The innovation was being some of the first companies in interior design offering anything from projects to work management and final execution. We had clients throughout Europe and the Middle East, and whilst constantly traveling around the world to meet clients and supervise projects I discovered my passion for perfumes.

In the very beginning, the idea was to provide personality to the spaces we designed and executed. This was a new concept in luxury, which immediately caught the attention of brilliant minds such as Elio Fiorucci, who soon became our client and a lover of this new concept. I perceived this new idea of integrating perfumes and space as a perfect blend of uniqueness, class, and sophistication; where, interestingly, design still played a central and pivotal role, particularly in the way in which I approached perfumery. The diversion from my interior design path to that of Art Perfumery, therefore, seemed to come most naturally. 

Why did you choose London as your first retail location?

London was and is an important international design, art, fashion, and shopping centre, bursting with young creativity and innovation. Historically, London has been the home for some of the most important Perfume Houses and retail destinations in the world, both traditional and modern. Important names such as Floris of London, Czech&Speake, Penhaligon’s, Jo Malone, Miller Harris, Crown Perfumery, to name a few, grew up from London. It hence only seemed natural for me to start our AVERY PERFUME GALLERY chapter in a city which I believed destined to be the Capital of Europe, where not only fragrance holds an important position, but where residents and visitors have interest and passion for perfumes. From a purely business standpoint, even in 2009 with financial troubles, London was a solid and highly commercial terrain. Retail has always been an integral part of London’s cityscape, today contributing significantly to London’s economy, the sector accounting for about 40 percent of all money spent in London.  It is also a place where we have access to efficient, flexible and young staff, highly trained and enthusiastic about the products. Often, designers and retailers make London their first location, so it is definitely a location with the “imprimatur” of Avery.

Buying a perfume is a very personal experience. How important art, individuality, and creativity are when it comes to perfume creation? Is there any specific formula?

Yes, it is a profoundly personal experience. Selecting a personal fragrance is no easy feat. It takes time, interest, a bit of research and also exploration. This is one of the reasons why we chose to focus on the customer experience of our visitors when they come into our stores. We believe that buying a perfume involves a dialogue– a conversation between the customer and our staff expert, as well as between the perfume itself and the customer. Our staff is highly trained and enjoy the interaction involved in educating, guiding and helping their clients. I also agree that art, individuality and creativity are very important to perfume creation. 

Our world of artistic, niche perfumery is one that has to master the delicate balance between creating new and unique scents with different fragrance notes and levels, speaking to different emotions and sensory associations, all the whilst respecting the diversity of our individual customers. There is no specific formula, and each scent I have created, guided or developed has had its own unique variables and story. Therefore, how one combines art, individuality and creativity is less a matter of “formula” and more an “art” in itself. We are not limiting ourselves to talk about scientific combinations of this and that, but rather about the feelings the scent is trying to generate. Of course, in our industry, we speak about fragrant essential oils, aroma compounds, fixatives and solvents. But behind that, I feel the real “formula”, if I have to use that word, has much more to do with the emotional expression a scent can create. 

How do you curate the ‘niche perfume brands’ you collaborate with? Are there any particular requirements you always look for?

Curating a brand is a fine process that comprises sharp attention, a deep understanding of the brand’s origins and DNA, as well as unlimited passion. The word “curate” itself defines what we undertake to do: “ innovation to pull together, sift through, select for presentation, take charge of or organise.” To do this well, takes knowledge, sensitivity, interest and, of course, time. We curate today over 20 brands and consider each of them individually. In other words, we personalise and edit with each and every brand. The “requirements” we have are only that the brand has to have content, a soul, quality, endurance and depth to show the market potential. I do like the sense of “curating” though, which is one of the reasons we also chose “Gallery” as part of our name, AVERY PERFUME GALLERY. Just as a visitor going to an art gallery gets exposed to a new world, new messages, new styles, new images, all of which evoke in him or her a particular sensation or feelings, visitors of our boutiques are brought into a world of carefully selected fragrances, each with its own story and soul. 

What is your favourite or signature perfume and why?

Personally, I do not have a signature perfume. Ironically, due to the fact that my job is to evaluate different scents, I myself cannot wear perfume. However, I enjoy them tremendously.

I love the marriage of both a fragrance and the person who wears it, as well as the way in which it is worn, the “how” it is worn. Each perfume has its own story, tells its own story and allows its wearer to tell his or her own story. In terms of favourite,  this is a question I get asked often but it is also one of the hardest ones to answer like: what’s your favourite child? I like scents with a strong personality that stay, that don’t disappear shortly. I enjoy scents that evolve with wearing, that change during the course of the day, a bit like a journey. I admire raw materials that keep find their own space on the individual’s scent, allowing for that fascinating mix of someone’s skin balance, and scents that don’t overpower or take over a personality. Currently, I find spicy, fresh scents such as the ‘A‘ of Avery, one of our wonderful creations, or the warm, deep fragrances of ‘Ilham’, from our SoOud collection, very romantic and comforting. This year, I also had a fascinating time with the tuberose, and am very pleased with our newly launched Agonist perfume, ‘White Lies’, and Andrée Putman’s ‘Tubéreuse Interdite’ which gives the traditionally seductive tuberose juice an unusual and alluring twist of musk, amber accord, pepper and peach.

This article was first published in ESTILA Vol 4/2017.

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