Nicola Pozzani is a graduate from the Universita dell’Immagine of Milan, where he studied perfumery under Master Perfumer Jean-Claude Ellena. We talked to him about his career in perfumery and the course he teaches here at London College of Fashion - Design with Scents.
Nicola Pozzani, Design with Scents
Who are you and what do you do at London College of Fashion Short Courses?
My name is Nicola. At London College of Fashion, I run the ‘Design with Scents’ course, the first in the world about the use of scent as design tool. Something I pioneered with my former colleagues Jo Norman and John Ayres. Nowadays I am very lucky to have Senior Perfumer Marianne Martin on my side. We both share an interest in meditation and yoga alongside perfumery.
What is your day-to-day job?
I am mostly based in London, where I work as Fragrance Educator and Artisanal Perfumer. I teach fragrance workshops for art and design at LCF, Slade School of Fine Arts - UCL, Kingston University, Winchester School of Art and Bern University of the Arts in Switzerland.
Outside of the classroom I mainly sit in a 19th century Museum in St James's blending scents for the British brand Floris. Sometimes I’m somewhere else around the world ‘sniffing' around other projects.
Can you describe a typical day in your life?
It always starts with some yoga and a nutritious breakfast. I am Italian so good coffee is mandatory! My work varies so it can be very different although what I do in a way is the same: ‘provoking' emotions through scents and the preparation behind it.
Teaching requires constant ‘curiosity’ and dedication: designing lessons, selecting sensory materials... then hitting the classroom. I particularly love discussing the teaching process with Marianne. As an Artisanal Perfumer I do a lot of smelling, selecting and blending of perfume ingredients, either on my own or with clients - as I create bespoke perfumes mainly, the equivalent of Haute Couture in Fashion. It can get very intense as it's always the result of interaction so I enjoy ’non-scent’ activities. Day ends with meditation.
What was your route into working with the fashion industry?
I work in Perfumery, which in the 1920s became ‘fashion’s best mate’, as the first so-called ‘Parfumeurs-Couturiers’ (Perfumers and Fashion Designers) came up in France, and has continued as a successful liaison ever since.
My first interest was actually fashion editorials and so back in Italy, where I’m from, I took a masters called Universita dell’Immagine in Milano, where we studied fashion and photography however the programme was multi-sensory including perfumery as well. I fell in love with it, thanks to legendary French Master Perfumer Jean-Claude Ellena who elevated it to art form for us.
What has been the highlight of your career so far?
Creating fragrances for people you normally see in the media and having helped ‘anosmic’ students (people who suffer smell loss) to get their smell back.
What’s your favourite item in your closet right now?
A coat with an artisanal gold embroidery from Dries Van Noten.
What should fashion students in London do and see?
What’s the budget? LOL!
Visit Art Museums, such as Tate Modern and the V&A, enjoy some of the best restaurants in the world, find the right outfit, hit the dance floor somewhere in Hackney... and come to study Design with Scents at London College of Fashion.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
Stand up for yourself.
What do you enjoy most about teaching short courses?
The diversity of our students. They are truly global and truly colourful. From perfume lovers to designers, wine experts to food historians, bankers to healing practitioners... from America to Asia, with a common interest in scents.
What can students expect from your course?
Learning how to translate an idea into scent. Quite a few students said it was life changing, referring to being able to rediscover their sense of smell in the digital age and use it to enhance their lives and projects.
Find out more about Nicola’s work on his website Design with Scents.