Almost invisible among surrounding trendy bars and concept stores, hidden behind an old storefront, Sava perfumery instantly makes its philosophy clear: it is what’s inside that counts.
Once inside, you will find rows of unbranded apothecary bottles with perfumes and toilet waters for every personality and taste, handmade by the last remaining Belgrade perfumer Nenad Jovanov. You will also experience the forgotten kind of customer service that turns shopping into a ritual.
The shop, founded by Nenad’s parents, has been at the same location since the ’50s and it has hardly changed at all. Yet, everything else around it has. One by one, other small Belgrade perfumeries have closed under pressures of big brand perfumes and beauty industry, leaving Nenad the last practitioner of his disappearing art.
Apart from perfumes, the shop is locally renowned for the face powder Nenad still makes following an old family recipe. It comes in a plain, modest packaging (see the theme here?), packed with top quality ingredients Nenad orders from the same Paris maker his parents once did and certain luxury cosmetic houses still do.
If Nenad was still making the eyeliner I bought here, the first makeup item I ever owned, which stayed impeccable through all teenage mischieves, this text would be about it. Since he is not, it is about a unique place where one can experience and, in this case, smell the authentic Belgrade spirit, which is faint and fast disappearing, like a note of perfume caught in passing.