Alba Chiara De Vitis, the Florentine perfumer from the world of mathematics
Our meeting with the nose of the Parfumèide brand with two ateliers in Florence
While waiting to meet her in Florence during Pitti Fragranze 2021, we get to know Alba Chiara De Vitis, a Florentine, who is now the nose and creative director of the Parfumèide brand, an olfactory design atelier of the Florentine start-up Alchimia Essenze.
But the curiosity in Alba Chiara's story is her background in the academic world of mathematics: before this exciting experience in the world of haute parfumerie, she obtained a degree in mathematics and a PhD in data analysis, machine learning and AI at the INRIA higher institute in France.
What was the reason you left academic life to dedicate yourself to the world of fragrance?
An extreme love of botany, a mathematical fascination with the invisible, and the intersection of my studies with the world of chemistry and the art of perfumery. Having lived in Paris and Nice for years, it all became natural.
The first quality required of a good nose?
For me, paying attention to nuances. They are the details that characterise a smell or a perfume.
What do you absolutely avoid?
Mannerism and haste, they block the mind.
What is the added value of being a nose in Florence?
Florence is a city where ideas take shape, it is full of valuable craftsmanship and businesses, the know-how is still tangible and very present. And it is so beautiful, and so full of history, that it liberates the soul.
Can your perfumes be defined as artisanal?
I try to blend artisan attention to detail with the most modern techniques of olfactory analysis and formulation.
Do you also make made-to-measure perfumes?
Yes, I usually work on product development for brands in the industry, but I am happy to shape perfumes to order.
Does it go beyond perfumes and colognes?
Fragrance creation goes into everything from cosmetics to the scenting of materials, such as leather or wood. We have created marvellous potpourri from the supply chain, and studied specific maceration techniques.
Choose two of your products and tell me about them...
Lacrima. This is a perfume that encapsulates my memories of the sun and the Mediterranean sea. It is the scent of fig wood in the sun, with notes of resin and undergrowth. For me it is a talisman.
Medusa. A rose with marine notes, intense and fresh. The fusion of floral scents with the scent of the sea.
Choosing to buy a perfume, even for yourself, is not easy. Three tips to think about in order to make the right purchase?
Feel. A perfume must be perceived and loved, it awakens ancient olfactory memories in us. The When. A perfume is like a dress, it is possible to find a perfume that makes us feel safe, and that becomes our signature, but perfumes must also be worn according to the occasion. The material. Although invisible, perfumes are made up of molecules that interact with our senses.
What is your first memory of a perfume?
The smell of the sea in the morning, my grandmother's daffodils in the garden, and my mother's perfume that I played with as a child, with that little bottle that is now so vintage.
Tuscan raw materials present in your fragrances?
Iris butter, juniper berry essential oil, broom flower absolute.
The scent of Florence is?
Solemn and dark. Incense and Leather, for me.
An opportunity to learn more about your work?
Friday 17 September 2021, from 3pm, at the Atelier Parfumeide in Via del Sole 6/8 Florence, I will present Thin air, a perfume that exudes both strength and fragility.