The history of Acqua di Parma is a great Italian story. It all started back in 1916 in a small essence laboratory at the old heart of Parma. Here, skilled master perfumers conceived an unusually fresh and modern fragrance – the first true Italian Cologne. Colonia Acqua di Parma, a new classic bound to achieve timeless success.
The composition of Colonia, still unchanged, gained increasing recognition. In the 1930s it became the “fragrance” of the time. The Art Deco inspired bottle, with classic black bakelite cap, was designed in those years and promptly became a true style icon. In the 1950s Colonia achieved international success. Hollywood actors, summoned to Italy by the great masters of local cinematography, discovered its intimate and elegant notes in the historical tailor’s workshops, where custom-made suits were finished with a spray of the Acqua di Parma fragrance before delivery. Based on this tradition, Colonia has been associated with men’s tailoring since the outset and thus became a cult accessory.
Despite changing trends, in the 1960s Colonia, with its unabated charm, was confirmed as the favourite fragrance of an international elite of connoisseurs, and such remained until the 1990s. At this timethree outstanding Italian entrepreneurs sharing the same passion for Colonia decided it was time to reinvigorate the iconic Acqua di Parma scent with the introduction of new creations in this range. And so was born a new style for the brand, a way of being, a life philosophy. Elegant and educated men, glamorous and sophisticated women saw in Acqua di Parma the expression of understated luxury, a search for precious materials (ingredients?), the culture of a brand that draws from true Italian craftsmanship and turns it into a value of its own.
The world of Colonia was then expanded further with new creations for the home – a collection of precious terry cloth items, home fragrances, and top-quality perfumed candles – the expression of the finest Italian art of living. The year 1998 saw the opening of the first historical Boutique on via Gesù in Milan. One year later Acqua di Parma complemented the Colonia line by the introduction of the unique and iconic Parma yellow hat-boxes with the launch of the Blu Mediterraneo line – a range of fragrances that embody the energy, the sun, and the colours of some of the most emblematic locations on the Italian Mediterranean sea which define the style of sophisticated and exclusive leisure.
Profumo, the brand’s first women’s fragrance, was launched in 1999 as an Eau de Parfum as precious as a jewel, a great Chypre dedicated to demanding women of innate elegance, with a luxurious structure signifying the tradition of the highest perfume-making art. The 21st century marked a new era for Acqua di Parma when the brand joined the luxury powerhouse LVMH – a world-leading group in the production and distribution of luxury goods. As a result the brand’s unique style acquired more power and international acclaim. In 2003 the legend of Colonia evolved and was enriched with the creation of Colonia Assoluta, a new classic, the sensory portrait of a multi-faceted and creative man, the expression of instinctive, original, and contemporary elegance. New entries continued successfully (what does this mean?). Such was the admiration for the brand that in 2003 Acqua di Parma launched a new Hotel Line, offering the pleasure of enjoying the fresh and subtle fragrance of Colonia to the guests of the best luxury hotels around the world. The Barbiere Collection, launched in 2006, is a shaving products and accessories line designed for the rituals of men’s elegance. The Acqua di Parma women’s line was expanded in the same year to include a new elegant collection of fragrances inspired by the most beautiful flowers of the great Italian noble gardens. Iris Nobile – the iconic Acqua di Parma women’s fragrance - was the first of Le Nobili, a unique line of fragrances dedicated to noble and sophisticated women. The range was developedin time with more new creations: Magnolia Nobile in 2009, Gelsomino Nobile in 2011, Iris Nobile Sublime in 2012, and – the latest new entries – Acque Nobili Iris, Magnolia, and Gelsomino, as precious as the fountains of noble Italian gardens. 2007 saw the world of Colonia grow with a new, charismatic creation, Colonia Intensa, followed by Colonia Essenza in 2010 and by Colonia Oud in 2012 – a collection of men’s fragrances custom designed, like bespoke suits, for the different styles of contemporary gentlemen.
Travelling is another expression of the unique Acqua di Parma style. Born in 2000, with the introduction of a leather bags and accessories collection, the range now includes new exclusive travelling and business items as well as more moden cult objects such as iPhone and iPad cases. The Acqua di Parma leather goods are all completely hand-made by Italian master craftsmen using precious hides, such as calfskin and buff.
Acqua di Parma is a lifestyle brand, a way of being that offers to its fans unique and comprehensive experiences, creations, and locations. This is the philosophy at the core of the first Blu Mediterraneo SPA that Acqua di Parma opened in 2008, a wellbeing haven in the stunning setting of Porto Cervo, inside the Costa Smeralda Yacht Club. The SPA provides an intimate and refined space to enjoy the same deep and revitalizing effects of a day spent on the shores of the Italian Mediterranean sea. The unique formulas used for on-site treatments are contained in the Italian Resort line of face and body care products.
While Porto Cervo is home to the first Blu Mediterraneo SPA, the last one opened in 2013 in Venice, inside the Gritti Palace Hotel, another iconic venue of great historical tradition and a favourite destination of the finest travellers from all over the world. The new Boutique on via Gesù was opened in 2012 and became the noble mansion of Acqua di Parma, an inspiring space encompassing the very essence of the brand, its values, atmospheres, and style. The new Boutique in Paris opened a few months later on Rue des Francs Bourgeois, at the old heart of the Marais district. In 2014 opened its first boutique in Rome, in the beautiful setting of Piazza di Spagna.
As Acqua di Parma approaches its hundredth anniversary, the brand now has a presence in Europe, Asia, and the US, offering to highly sophisticated and well-educated customers small masterpieces of craftsmanship that have roots in ancient savoir faire.