In the heart of Montebello Vicentino lies the Bottega Veneta atelier. The sprawling villa is where the house’s luxury skins are treated and dyed, and where its bags are handcrafted by the most skillful artisans. It’s also the exclusive venue for the label’s latest fragrance launches. Between the sky-high box hedges, an impressive mirrored installation has been constructed, featuring the Parco Palladiano collection’s nine existing fragrances, I-IX, and six new juices, X-XV.
From the very beginning, each of the fragrances has been named after its key-note and a Roman numeral, and drawn inspiration from Veneto, the town in which Bottega Veneta was founded in 1966. Similarly, all of the unisex scents, created by a team of perfumers that includes Michel Almairac, have been formulated with only the native region’s finest raw materials. And within the range of 15 fragrances, each belongs to one of four botanicals that correspond to a part of the garden: flowers, woods, herbs, and fruits. For the collection’s perfumers, the starting point for each fragrance was significant. “It was very interesting, because the general theme was about the architect, Andrea Palladio, and the gardens that he created within the [Palladian] villas,” explains perfumer Alexis Dadier, whose personal path to creation always begins with a tale. “It’s very important for me to have a story in mind, and then I can start creating the fragrance when I know exactly the kind of smell I want to create,” he says. It was a similar process for his partner, Sophie Labbé, for the new scent, Castagno. “I imagine myself going in this garden and through this kind of labyrinth to discover the different flowers, to smell and to translate this feeling of the blooming flower during the summer,” she says.
Castagno is the perfumers’ second fragrance within the range, and the follow-up to the pair’s Azalea scent. “It’s a genderless collection, so for Castagno, we found it interesting to have a feminine vision and a masculine one, to make a fragrance that could fit both women and men,” says Dadier. “Sophie illustrated the fragrance by working on the chestnut fruit, which is more gourmand and a bit toasted,” he says. “I treated the Castagno thinking about the roots, the twigs, and the leaves,” he continues. Dadier expects the notes of vanilla to be more present on women’s skin, and the hints of spice and wood to be more forward on men.
The culmination of the perfumers’ two visions comes together in a harmonious blend. “It’s a mix of something very gourmandise, something sweet and something very reassuring with the strength of the wood and of the roots,” says Dadier. “There is a kind of twofold—a duality in the fragrance,” he says of the scent, which can also be layered with any others in the Parco Palladiano range.
For the pair, the process of developing fragrances demands their whole beings. “We are creating with a lot of passion. It’s beautiful work, but we have to work hard,” says Labbé. “So, of course, it’s a part of yourself that you put in the fragrance.” And when she catches a trail of one of her scents worn by another person, the experience is always a bit thrilling for the perfumer. “It’s very touching, because there’s something I have created that they like, and it’s as though I’ve entered in their lives with something that is very intimate,” she says. “I have the feeling that I know this person a little bit.”
Bottega Veneta Parco Palladiano X-XV is available exclusively at Holt Renfrew.