It’s always a pleasure to discover new niche perfume houses and hear the stories behind them.
Last year at the Tax Free World Association 2019 in Cannes, I made the acquaintance of Gianluca Zin, the creator of the mysterious brand Venezia 1920.
We spent around 5 hours talking about the story behind this brand. Venezia 1920 is not simply a niche fragrance house - it is a souvenir that brings together all the memorable impressions that you've had of Venice.
Now, I've been lucky enough to have seen Venice twice. But what makes this brand so special is that it's not about my personal Venice. It can evoke your personal version of Venice as well.
Here is the result of our interview. I hope you will enjoy it as much as I did.
When did you decide to create this brand, Venezia 1920? What was the trigger point for you? Why did you feel the need to create this company and what is your goal with Venezia 1920?
I’m a designer and I’ve always pursued the aesthetic into functionality. It might sound strange, but perfume for me is exactly like that! It’s the most functional way to feel better, it’s a therapy sometimes.
It took some time, but after 20 years spent in designing and branding for my clients (most of them from the luxury sector) I’ve decided it was time to create something of my own.
I like challenges, so I’ve deliberately chosen the most difficult expression of art in terms of how to reach the soul of the people. It is like starting to narrate a book which bears the title of your brand. Then you have the prologue, which is just the beginning of the journey represented by the packaging. The packaging itself must be clear in terms of what you will find inside…Then you go home and, in the most intimate way, you open the bottle, thus unleashing the magic of the most hedonistic ritual that I know.
You wear the perfume for yourself because perfume is one of the few “no logo” luxury things: it can change depending on who wears it, thus making the person feel unique.
Italian perfumers are often in this profession because their parents and grandparents were perfumers. How did you take this decision to become the artistic director of a niche fragrance brand such as VENEZIA 1920?
I think I’ve answered above, but in general terms I’ve noticed that most of them are experienced in making juices (sometimes very good ones) but they don’t care too much about all the other important aspects when you decide to create a luxury brand.
To me, everything must talk about luxury (luxury in terms of time that you dedicate to yourself), is not just a question of money spent to create a packaging what I mean that everything must be perfect to be sustainable. For me, to open a bottle of perfume is a ritual which deserves all the time needed to do it. That’s why I’ve created this special wooden box were everyday i love to open it, take off the cap and finally (just finally) to wear the perfume; and when everything is finished, I close it and put the bottle inside the box, as if it were a precious jewel.
What's the story behind VENEZIA 1920? Why did you name your brand after this spectacular place, Venezia?
We are based in Venice and I’ve experienced Venice under different aspects: as a tourist, as a worker, as a lover etc. So when I started this journey with my business partner, there was no discussion on what could be the inspiration for our brand.
As explained, to me it is important to evoke and to provoke emotions before my customers smell the juices and it was so clear from the beginning that Venice was a neverending expression of this behaviour.
Venice was overused to narrate the same story made by ancient stuff… but we are a niche perfume brand and we decide to narrate a Niche Venice – an intimate story of Venice, a story that few people know. Starting from the art nouveau age with all the avant-garde art movements that took place in this fantastic period, Venice became a place where artists, writers, actors were used to come to drink a Bellini in the Piazza San Marco, where our flagship store was located, before going to the Guggenheim museum or eating the Cipriani restaurant.
Do you have a particular style or approach to creating fragrances?
I work a lot on the briefing, creating a mood out of images and music and perfume, because I want to involve all the senses in this very intimate creation .
Sometimes it requires a lot of time but it is something that I need to do by myself in order to find the right inspiration.
How long does it take to create a new scent for your collection - for VENEZIA 1920?
For the reason just explained above, our last juice took about 4 months.
Do you work with a single perfumer or you believe in mixed compositions from different perfumers?
I love to work with different noses because I don’t want to the brand to become a sort of extension of myself, Venice is the queen, so it is interesting to assist and notice how your inspiration could become the inspiration from someone else and lead to a unique result.
What's your biggest goal for VENEZIA 1920?
I just hope that the customers will love the brand as an extension of themselves.
What is your favourite fragrance from Venezia 1920? Which are you using everyday?
Oh, good question! As a perfume lover, I usually change perfumes everyday depending of my mood. And I usually wear a juice that is at the opposite of my mood because perfume is a cure…
What’s your favourite ingredient when it comes to perfumes? What's the most beautiful memory when it comes to a fragrance? Is it a person or a place? Describe a moment that was remarkable for you... olfactorily speaking.
My favourite one is the LYS, very difficult to mix with most of the ingredients., The peak in this respect was reached by Edouard Fléchier with Lys Mediterranee for Frederic Malle.
The memory that I think opened my mind on the perfume world was linked to my father who, after the shower, used to splash his fragrance all over the body and hair as well. And I remember how every time I was close to him there was this good smell which for me meant home.
Do you have any favourite artists and paintings?
I love modern art. My favourite painting is "Three Flags" by Jasper Johns.