Famed for its dedication to the senses, Alyaka is proud to have Mendittorosa as part of the team. We chatted with Mendittorosa’s creator, Stefania Squeglia, to get to the essence of the company’s vision.
“handmade by Italian passion”
Tell us how Mendittorosa came to be?
Mendittorosa is a very niche brand because it just celebrated its second birthday, which nicely is celebrated on the same day as my birthday. Behind Mendittorosa is actually a personal story, my story. When I was a young girl of just five years old, I made perfume from taking my grandmother’s old jars and putting pieces of flowers and other oils and perfumes that I found. I would then leave the jars in a dark place to discover the smelling surprise of the combinations, this was a very special time for me. This was the start of my perfume creation but then I completely forgot about this part of my childhood and went in search of purpose in art, playing piano and other things like dance but nothing was ever quite right. Meanwhile I studied and became a big manager in events and working with some really big names but it somehow didn’t feel quite right.Then one day, 3 years ago, when visiting the island of Stromboli, I remembered my favourite childhood pastime. Stromboli is a special place, it is an active volcano but the strange thing is the lava goes into the sea, not on to the land so people can live there. I love this place very much and when I remembered the joy of perfume making as a child, I realised that this was something that I had to do and started the very next day to create Mendittorosa. My life changed and I think I finally found my way.
“Mendittorosa will have passions for however long I am alive and is different to the majority of brands. “
What inspires you when creating a perfume?
Behind every creation is my personal life, the richness of my life. When I speak about richness I think in every life there is plenty of inspirations, poetic moments, symbols and deep moments. In particular I am using my life as a treasure. Mendittorosa has never made a perfume for marketing reasons. Every perfume is made to celebrate a moment, not for any marketing decision. Every perfume that I have created was just because I felt something special in my life and I decided to make a perfume which corresponds to this feeling. This happened for sure for the Trilogy, the first set, represents the birth of Mendittorosa. You have Alpha, which is the first letter in the greek alphabet, which represents new beginnings and the new chapter of my life that was Mendittorosa. Omega is the last letter represents the end of old life and the start of something new. ID is the third perfume in this set and is in homage to the volcano that inspired me. The locals nicknamed the volcano Iddu and I wanted to create a perfume that would thank the volcano for inspiring my new life and being my muse, so ID was created.
The same is true for North and South, I decided to make them after another nice experience, so represents a special chapter in my life. I am from the South, I came from naples in Italy but I feel in love with someone from the North. Mendittorosa explores the different vibes in life and I believe all of life is a continuous dancing of the opposites, opposites are the salt of life. I believe it is what makes things possible. North and South was for sure a tribute to my love story but also the chance to explore the power of opposites in life. This doesn’t have to be geographically, but you are always pulled in another direction, a North always looks for a South and a South always looks for a North. Le Mat is the latest perfume and this came from a personal philosophical studying experience. I was studying the art of tarot, not to tell the future but I was interested in the symbols and meanings. In the first lecture we were looking at the Le Mat card, which is the first card of the deck but also the only card that doesn’t have any numbers. The reason it doesn’t have any numbers is it is the card that represents all the different paths we take. We are all travelling on different path of lives and this is the way to our soul.
“Perfume can be something for our souls,it is a very intimate choice.”
The soul is so important and I don’t think we take enough care of our souls. We look after our bodies but not our souls. The full brand name is Mendittorosa odori d’anima, which means the smell of the souls and I believe each soul can smell each other. Learning about Tarot taught me that the soul is not our job, it has no fear. The soul is strong and we should try to follow it. I created Le Mat as a wish for all the people who wear it to leave everything behind and be true to themselves. Le Mat is the symbol of this internal trip.
“Behind Mendittorosa is actually a personal story, my story.”
What do you look for when creating a perfume?
Mendittorosa is different from the rest of the world. They start from deep experiences and I have a mental idea of how I think the perfume should smell. I will then contact my team in the lab in Paris, who I describe the idea to, they then create the proposal for the perfume. It is very important to me that they do not tell me the ingredients, that I just smell the perfume and say when it is what I had in mind. When I do find out the ingredients, it can be quite surprising. The perfume might contain smells that I would normally not like but combined in this way they create the exact smell I had imagined. There is no prejudice, just pure creation.
Why do you believe perfume is so important?
Perfume can be something for our souls, it is a very intimate choice. I believe the right perfume for your soul can give you what was positively missing. Perfume is a companion for life, you can wear several perfumes so it is a companion for that moment in your life. Compared to other cosmetics, perfume is more philosophical, it is closer to the soul.
Do you have a favourite perfume from your collection?
This really depends on the moment, sometime it is Le Mat and other times it is Omega. It really does depend.
“Behind every creation is my personal life, the richness of my life.”
What do you believe is the signature to Mendittorosa?
I think the signature is the total uncompromising way of being. Mendittorosa will have passions for however long I am alive and is different to the majority of brands. There are so many beautiful brands and products out there but many are so concerned with purely marketing. Marketing and business is of course important but for Mendittorosa but marketing is not going to change our ideas. I hope to keep this total artistic way as a signature.
What has been the biggest challenge so far?
I think is related to the signature, the biggest challenge has been keeping the freedom to stay focussed on the artistry of the perfume and to not be restricted by marketing and business. The battle is to be uncompromising to the smell. Another challenge is that the perfume are formulated in France but are Italian design, also every piece of packaging is handmade in Italy. My product is Italian but French and I think some people find this hard to understand. The market wants it to have an identity and it should decided which side the product is from. I think that it is both, the passion comes from Italy but the creation is French. It is actually like me, I am from Italy but now live in France. More importantly I believe the brand is alive, it has soul and it should not matter what nationality is it labelled.
What has been a highlight for the company?
For me it is what is printed on the box – handmade by Italian passion, which it very much is and stays true to the origin of the company. Also it is have a totally artistic vacation and being able to express and explore life.
Can you describe Mendittorosa in one sentence?
The most uncompromising niche perfumery brand that tries to give back a smell to the soul.