Last night, within the glass walls of LVMH’s Magic Room, 25 floors above a drizzly 57th St, The Fragrance Foundation celebrated their sixth class of fragrance allstars–and welcomed a record breaking number of 200 people in joining them. As Linda Levy, President of The Fragrance Foundation, greeted the crowd of friends, family, and colleagues from behind a podium beveled to blend with the crystalline atmosphere, (and encouraged each guest to top off their wine), the convivial clatter of the room calmed as she welcomed friends and sponsors LVMH and MANE alike before heralding the nine Notables of 2020 in joining the prestigious club of Notables. ”And you get to stay with us forever,” she promised. What a place to stay!
Pol Bardají, Antoni Soszyński, Elizabeth Cavallacci, Alice Inchauspé, Abigail Spratt, Valerie Anderson, Dora Gaffaney, Melissa Pacansky, Patricia Montelongo, the new generation of Notables were each introduced by their nominator colleague or supervisor, who sung their praises (and in some cases, like of Abigail Spratt, consulted her mother and brother for background). Family was a theme throughout the evening– from taller younger brothers filming the festivities in the back, to husbands met while wearing signature scents, to honorees thanking their teams who were like family, and, as Sophie Bensamou of Symrise put it, the very group gathered in the room together that evening, a fragrance family ourselves.
As each newly annointed notable received their elegant blown glass teardrop award, they shared a few insights into their journey. Bardají, Manager, Sales & Business Development for Cosmo International Fragrances was introduced by his nominator, Dulce Almario, as a rare talent and ray of sunshine who always gives “one hundred plus plus plus percent,” which Bardají quickly made apparent when he described the import of his nomination as the notes of a fragrance, top (valuing customer insight) , middle (staying humble), and bottom (creativity).
Toni Soszyński, Coty’s Global Marketing Manager for Marc Jacobs, was celebrated for his “rare combination of business acumen, creativity, and human compassion that is magical in this industry.” Elizabeth Cavallacci, Account Manager at Firmenich, shares that her passion for everything she does, particularly fragrance, sometimes spills out sometimes in unexpected ways, like self-teaching herself fluency in Greek. Asha Talwar Coco called Alice Inchauspé, Digital Account Manager sales & Business Development of Givaudan, someone whose curiosity and competence she wants to keep beside her through her entire career. Abigail Spratt, SCI Researcher at IFF, gave good advice to test the limits of expectations — to “break out of a predetermined box that was developed before you.” Valerie Anderson, Senior Marketing Manager at MANE, was described by her nominator Jason Boland as a radiant light of positivity who can charm conference rooms of people with her presentations–even after a cross country redeye. Dora Gaffaney, Senior Director Global Marketing/Brand Development at Parlux, who finagled the notoriously difficult celebrity signoff on a fragrance in under five minutes, at the celebrity’s own birthday party, was lauded for her charisma and genuine kindness by Lori Singer. Bansamou spoke of Melissa Pacansky, Fragrance Evaluation Manager, zen and quiet strength–but shared that she has the drive of a tiger (and a passion for pysanky). Patricia Montelongo, Executive Director of Education Jo Malone London, North America, summed up the evening as she described her journey with fragrance and love and family through Jo Malone Amber and Lavender, the scent she wore on a blind date that led to a marriage, to the birth of her son, and now here tonight. And so can fragrance change your whole life.
With final thank yous to the evenings sponsors and friends, her TFF “team of angels,” and a promise not to cry tonight, Levy gave her congratulations to all the Notables, and teased the run up to Fragrance Day on March 21, which will be celebrated by a three week long Fragrance Foundation countdown, themed around ingredients, and including a hotly anticipated collaboration with a fashion-industry darling illustrator (to be revealed next week), a Madison Avenue pop-up experience, and “a social media explosion” around #FragranceDay. “We are going to go over the top,” promised Levy.