Laura Tonatto, the Italian “nose” that has won over the Queen of England

Laura Tonatto - Profumi italiani

In Piazza di Pietra 41, in Rome, there is a gallery where you can find perfumes never put on the market, inspired by some of the greatest masterpieces of the various human arts: from Caravaggio’s “The Lute Player”  to “the Magic Flute” by Mozart, from  Botticelli’s “Spring”  to “the Leopard” by Luchino Visconti. This gallery is the showroom of Laura Tonatto, the world’s most famous Italian perfume maker, or “nose”. Suffice it to say that her most famous and prestigious client is Queen Elizabeth II of England, for whom Laura Tonatto created an exclusive fragrance in 2008, and the following year she was welcomed to the Palace for a private audience. Other well-known names from the world of entertainment, sport, film and fashion have turned to the sublime qualities of her nose: from Giorgio Armani to Francesco Totti, Ornella Muti, Elio Fiorucci, Asia Argento, Ornella Vanoni.

Inside Laura Tonatto’s Roman gallery, visitors can smell the fragrances through special installations that excite the other senses, as well as the sense of smell.  For example in the fragrance of the “Lute Player”,  you can smell the mixture of all the elements present in the olfactory framework, from the flowers to the wax in which the furniture and the floor were soaked. This installation was created for the Hermitage museum in St. Petersburg, which houses Caravaggio’s painting, and was replicated for the first time in a permanent way in Italy.

Laura Tonatto was born in Turin. She began making perfumes in 1986 in Milan, at a small shop in the central Via Brera. Tonatto had inherited her grandmother’s passion for the craft of creating fragrances, not only for people but also for the environment. She will later refine her talent by attending the school of Hassan, a master of essences of Cairo, and then that of Serge Kalouguine of Parfumerie Fragonard in Grasse, Provence.

Laura Tonatto - Shop

Whatever she touches is turned into perfume. For Laura Tonatto, the search for a personalized fragrance begins with the study of the past. That’s how you can recreate the scent of Cleopatra that was described in an Egyptian papyrus, or the fragrance used by Napoleon. What convinced Laura Tonatto to found the cultural laboratory “Nose and Parnassus”, was the link with history and art, and the belief that perfume can also help us to better understand the world around us, and put us in touch with it in a deeper and more intimate way. Here they study the use of essences and scents from the Antiquity to the Third Millennium, to create art perfumes, true invisible artworks to wear, by rebuilding odors evoked by paintings, sculptures, and moving images, from the words of narrators and poets.

Tonatto’s ability to excite with original olfactory notes for many different situations, is truly imaginative: the most exclusive Italian and international hotels such as the Park Hyatt in Milan, Hotel Danieli in Venice and the Setai in Miami, bear the signature of her talent; big cosmetics houses and brands in the automotive world such as Rolls Royce and Lancia (that has realized the first scented car, “Muse”) rely on her as well. A fanciful curiosity: in 2006, Laura Tonatto participates in the event “Scents of cinema, beyond  taste and smell”, a multi-sensory journey in two voices between stills and cookers. Films of all times are chosen for the occasion, from which to steal a “famous movie perfume”: the crème brûlée vanilla of “Amélie”, the cinnamon rolls of “Runaway Bride” and the candied fruit of the cassatine of “The leopard”, the melon of the Italian masterpiece “The widower” with Alberto Sordi, the aroma of cocoa from “Chocolat”, apricots with honey stolen from the empty fridge of Hugh Grant in “Notting Hill”, and many other essences in a infinite path of sensations.

Laura Tonatto:

Laura Tonatto

Laura Tonatto - I profumi

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