Here’s a bit of backstory: I DJed until 3am Saturday night and had to be at the airport by 6:45am for an 8:45am flight. So I didn’t sleep much. I had planned to use WiFi on the two connecting flights (Nashville to Detroit and Detroit to LaGuardia) to stay awake so I would definitely pass out on the long haul. That didn’t happen. I sat down and passed out on both of those flights. On the Detroit to JFK flight, I was greeted by a flight attendant who was so full out of attitude, you could tell he was having one of those days when he had to live the stereotype – remind me to file a complaint with Delta about him. The Detroit to JFK flight was delayed, and with the new “board 30 minutes before takeoff or lose your seat on international flights” rule – I had to literally run from the shuttle (JFK has two Delta terminals now connected by a slow JITNEY). That kind of added stress was not appreciated. I barely made it to the plane – sat down, turned off data roaming on my phone, popped a NyQuil, and passed out for the entire trip over.
The train from Malpensa Airport to Caldona station was fast, direct, and about 30 minutes. Finding someone at the train station who knew where to purchase a bus ticket took longer. The apartment is absolutely amazing – AirBNB is incredible. I took a shower and then headed directly to Etro. The store is gorgeous and I spent about an hour trying all kinds of stuff on. Four shirts (two long sleeve button-down, one short sleeve polo, and one long sleeve knit) came home with me. I am still on the fence about the suit.
I walked up the street and happened upon Mazzolari, a nice, albeit small, store which had lots of large international brands (Tom Ford, Clive Christian, etc.) along with a very nice namesake line (my favorites were the sweet almondy/white chocolate Alessandro and viscous patchouli/amber Lui). The store was recommended to me by Francesco, but I wasn’t sure why until I happened upon the larger showroom in Piazza San Babila. Wow – that place is huge. Three storefronts side-by-side on ground level and then a massive basement full of niche and big commercial brands. The SAs are knowledgeable but not overly aggressive. It’s definitely worth a stop if you visit Milan.
Another place that I happened up on was the Excelsior. The ground floor of the five-story store has a fragrance boutique called Antonia which is niche heaven. Brands include Etat Libre D’Oarrange, Histoires Des Parfums, Biehl, Historie D’Eaux, Carthusia, Laboratorio Olfativo, Undergreen, Rance, Humeicki and Graef, Mark Buxton, and Linari. Two lines that I had never heard of caught my attention for different reason – Calé Fragranze d’Autore and S4P. The Cale line is apparently based at another store in Milan (I had to Google it back in my room), but their names looked hilarious to my inner eighth grader – Assolo and Fulgar. If someone said to me they were wearing Assolo, it would mean something completely different. And Fulgar sounds like it would be new internet slang for “f*king vulgar.” You know I might start that meme. From that line, I like Tepidarium and Dolleriso.
S4P is Scents for Peace, a collaboration of Intertrade that benefits disease research. The four fragrances are named for the four winds – Aurisse, Laawan, Sharky, and Skiron. Again the names to me are a little bit humorous, but it was the bottles that caught my attention. The bottle looks like a ceramic dove. I sniffed the tops of all four and they seemed nice, and if I wasn’t kinda sniffed out I would have probably skin tested a few.
I was walking around and ended up in the Duomo plaza. Realizing that I hadn’t eaten since breakfast on the plane, I bought a bag of chestnuts and a soda. Sitting down on one of the benches, I just relaxed a bit and enjoyed the scenery and the moment. In my daily life, I realize that I work a lot and am always focused at 2-3 things at once. It felt amazing to just relax and breathe the outside air. It was right when that thought hit me that all of the pigeons got excited and started to circle the plaza and all landed on the same statue. I don’t know if this a choreographed bit of a nature, a response to stimulus, or a planned thing but the timing of it seemed to me to be a sign that I need to relax more and do less.
My next stop was a meeting at C&C with the man behind O’DRIU, Angelo Orazio Pregoni. We had a charming chat and interview which I look forward to posting on NotableScents.net. I had skin tested the 16 samples and found several that I liked and one that I loved. It was very much a two-way conversation as he was asking me what I thought as much as I was asking him the same. He very much approaches fragrance from an artist’s perspective, and it shows in his work (that’s a compliment). I asked about the infamous PEETY (the one where you add a few drops of your own pee), as well as his new collaboration with famous Italian comic Eva Kant. One interesting side note, the brand will be doing a unique partnership with retail stores as they expand. The niche boutiques will carry a range of his testers and collect the money for orders. Bottles of fragrance will be shipped by Angelo/ODRIU directly to the purchasing customer. This benefits the store from not having to keep a big inventory (of some really expensive fragrances), the customer by reducing the final cost (by about half), and the company (they get a direct customer list as well as more quality control of final product, ensuring that the juice sent is fresh). I wonder how this new approach will work.
I was starting to get tired, so I walked back to the apartment that I am staying in, grabbed a pizza next door and passed out asleep. This was about 8pm local time and my body woke me up at 3am. Argh.