Acqua di Parma is one of Italy’s iconic brands. Tell us more about the heritage brand and its Italian DNA?
Acqua di Parma has become a global ambassador for the quality of handmade Italian products and an emblem for the most refined Italian lifestyle, it perfectly embodies the elegance, passion, grace and traditions of true Italian Heritage. Sometimes a brand stands out because of its disruptive ideas or outbreaking innovations, in other cases a brand arises because of its history. This is where Acqua di Parma falls. What we do today is the expression of a vital purpose Acqua di Parma was born with: the purpose of perpetuating the Italian Arte di Vivere.
Let me explain, Acqua di Parma was not born as a brand to be “marketed”. It was created by a man, Mr. Magnani, for himself, and his inner circle of friends and family. He didn’t want to create a brand, but something personal. Acqua di Parma was never conceived as a “marketing creature”, that’s why, as the time passed, it turned into a quintessentially Italian experience for all those people looking for an authentic, transparent and genuine brand that really stands for something.
Being created as a personal scent gives the brand such an intimacy and truthfulness, which you hardly find these days. Just think that for the first 60 to 70 years Acqua di Parma was never sold in fragrance stores, it was only sold through tailors who used it to spray Colonia on the suit as a finishing touch. Isn’t it a wonderful story that really gives depth to the product, elevating it beyond any other fragrance? In my experience at Acqua di Parma, I’ve met so many people who told me they may have used the brand once, yet they all love it. This happens because Acqua di Parma resonates with people, something that genuinely delights me.
The brand has been gradually expanding its product lines, from fragrances to men’s grooming as well as home collections.
We are very good at creating amazing Eaux de Colognes, it’s our DNA, what we are famous for and we’ll keep doing it. At the same time, we are lucky to have the wonderful landscapes and the luscious nature of Italian Mediterranean, a sort of Garden of Eden, which inspires our Blu Mediterraneo fragrances. Not to mention our Signatures of the Sun collection, the highest expression of our fragrance mastery. Each ingredient is distilled until the purest essence is obtained; each one is the protagonist of a fragrance that reveals itself to be nothing less than an olfactory epiphany. Signatures of the Sun is like breathing a familiar ingredient for the very first time.
Each collection is a quintessence of Italy; whether that be drawing inspiration from a place or like with the Barbiere line, an interpretation of the long Italian shaving tradition. All these collections allow the brand to be enjoyed by everyone and represent a way to promote the Italian excellence and Italian values on a global level.
You are represented with mono-brand boutique but also throughout department stores and travel retail. Do you see any risks of losing exclusivity?
We are very proud of our boutiques as these allow us to truly immerse our consumer into the world of Acqua di Parma but this isn’t possible in all markets. By being present in carefully selected department stores it allow us to target a specific audience that can’t or wouldn’t normally visit our boutiques and is vital to our success.
Acqua di Parma was born over a hundred years ago as a personal fragrance and it soon became a must-have for a grown-up generation of illuminated and discerned connoisseurs. The reason of our steady success over the century is that Acqua di Parma is a timeless and genderless brand, able to evolve accordingly to the age we live in, always driven by passion and beliefs – not by the obsession of reaching a specific gender or age. Losing exclusivity isn’t something we worry about – with such a strong legacy, our creations are not simply products but rituals that grow within our lives and in the long term become tools to transmit values from one generation to the other.
How would you define Acqua di Parma as relating to luxury lifestyle?
For over a century, Acqua di Parma has interpreted the most sophisticated Italian lifestyle. For this reason, we haven’t just had fragrances in our portfolio, but also candles and leather travel accessories to accompany everyday moments. When you are Italian, taking care of your lifestyle is a central piece of your culture and living is a true form of art. Our Home Collection expresses this concept at its full potential.
Last year we launched a collection of new scents for your own home that could either express the idea of typical Italian moments or transport you to the most fascinating places of the Italian Mediterranean. Scented candles and diffusers which combine sensuality and design, and further enrich the world of creations conceived for the home, ranging from the Cube Candles to the refined Murano Glass Candles, Powder Soaps and Scented Paper for drawer liners. Home Collection was so appreciated that we decided to launch two new scents this year to the Italian moments collection: Aperitivo in Terrazza and Orto in Città.
Your brand can also be found at some of the finest luxury hotels in the world. Do you plan to diversify the lines available for bathroom amenities?
We are very fortunate to have partnerships with some of the most exclusive hotels in the world and are always looking at ways to diversify our offerings. This year we expanded the amenities with the addition of Arancia di Capri fragrance which is now available alongside the original Colonia scent in the iconic Art Deco bottles. The 40ml & 75ml bottles come in a special recycled plastic (RPET), produced in Italy from Recyling PET plastic bottles. In fact, Acqua di Parma is among the first to introduce this innovative process, designed to reduce the introduction of new plastic into the environment and to make smarter use of already-existing resources. From now on, Acqua di Parma’s Italian style is an even more sustainable choice for all the most exclusive and environmentally friendly hotels.
What is your view on the potential of Acqua di Parma at Spas or even mono-brand Acqua di Parma Spas? What about men’s grooming?
Our barber stations located in our Boutiques have been a huge success and last year saw the opening of the Barbiere in Selfridges; the first permanent, stand-alone Barbiere. With an array of different treatments on offer from Facials, to shaves, to haircuts, it allows the consumer to experience the unique and authentic ritual of a traditional Italian shave but also discover the brand’s entire olfactory universe. We even introduced some new haircare products to our Barbiere collection earlier this year, allowing you to recreate the full experience in the comfort of your own home. SPAs are not in our radars at the moment, as we want to stay focused on
Are you considering brand extensions? – permanent or capsule collections, ex beach accessories or home collections (ex. towels, bathrobes etc)
We have actually just launched a beautiful new must-have Summer kit with La Double J. Designed to let you experience summer in authentic Italian style with every product encapsulating the emotion and essence of the Italian Mediterranean. The exuberant and playful maximalism of La DoubleJ, founded by California-native and Italy-aficionado JJ Martin, merges with the sophisticated essential nature of Acqua di Parma to create much more than a collection.
JJ has specifically dedicated 2 beautiful patterns to decorate the packaging of the new ancillaries of Arancia di Capri, Fico di Amalfi and Mirto di Panarea, among the best-loved in the world of Acqua di Parma. Shower Mousse, a Body Lotion, that’s as light as the sea breeze, and a gentle Body Scrub, which smells like a delicious fresh fruit compote. The same patterns apply to a full range of lifestyle accessories, from pareos, to tote bags to swimsuits. This is our first foray into the fashion world, and it has been a huge success so far so watch this space!
8. Which are your strongest markets? Which markets do you see as presenting opportunities to expand?
Europe has been historically our core area, but currently it is widely acknowledged the main opportunities are in the APAC area. However, the recent global emergency has strongly highlighted that the digital channels, namely e-commerce and e-retailing, is key to expand.
9. You recently implemented a new retail design concept at your boutique in Milan. Tell us more. Do you operate directly such mono-brand boutiques or they are franchised?
Correct, we revealed the new look boutique in Milan last year and we recently renovated our boutique in Rome in the stunning location of Piazza di Spagna. The new concept is designed with a true Italian house in mind; spaces with light and a different experience in each room. Vibrant tones of Parma yellow juxtapose the rich travertine for walls and floors, and cane wood in ever-differing shades. Each finishing touch, every object, every item of furniture implies a timeless and yet entirely modern elegance, giving a welcoming, intimate, and dynamic atmosphere for people to discover our full range of products. As you might understand, it’s key to operate directly mono-brand boutiques to offer the highest level of brand experience.
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