For sisters Giorgia and Ambra Martone, a passion for perfume seems to simply run in the family. After completing their studies at Bocconi University, and embarking on several ambitious projects in the US, the sisters returned with a common determination to carry on work in the family business, ICR Cosmetics, from their father, company president, Roberto Martone. After spectacular stints working for corporate juggernauts such as Symrise and Procter & Gamble, the sisters have returned to ICR, with Giorgia taking on the dual role of Marketing & Communications Director and Creative Director, and Ambra taking on a consulting role in the production of fragrances. Together the two are constantly seeking out innovative partnership opportunities both here in Milan and abroad.
In 2013, the sisters were instrumental in opening the Hotel Magna Pars Suites Milano – the world’s first ‘Hotel à Parfum‘.
Both sisters bring unique experience to the business, with Giorgia personally overseeing marketing and communications at a national and global level, and Ambra specializing in strategic marketing.
Art, photography, volunteering and travel… Today we are with Giorgia and Ambra to find out a little about what they love about working and living in Milan.
Ciao, ladies! First of all, thank you very much for agreeing to carry out this interview. We would like to congratulate you for your professional success, and we are excited to get your personal thoughts on our beloved city.
If you were to tell us about your work in a phrase or a few words, how would you describe it?
Ambra: Smelling, not just with your nose, but with your heart.
What do you think is the most difficult challenge in your work?
Giorgia: Creating scents that evoke memories.
You represent the third generation of Martones. What are some of the big innovations you have pioneered?
Giorgia: The love story for perfume that began in 1945, continues with each passing day. Now our big innovations include our ‘Hotel à Parfum’ and our Perfume Laboratory, LabSolue.
Perfume for you is a family affair: How does it feel to be part of such a tradition?
Ambra: It’s simple. Natural. Like a tree that has its roots in the earth.It’s also an important responsibility and something that encourages me to live with gratitude, admiration and passion. I can say that I have perfume in my name, in my DNA, and in my heart.
How does the Hotel Magna Pars Hotel & Suites and the Perfume Laboratory – LabSolue, fit into the context of the neighborhood and into the wider context of Milan. Who are your most loyal customers, and the ones you love to contact most?
Giorgia: The Hotel and Perfume Laboratory represent magical places in which you can breathe in both tradition and innovation. It’s a secret corner where you can immerse yourself in nature, relax and indulge your sense of smell in an olfactory paradise. Its a new type of lounge for hotel guests and for lovers of the neighborhood. A unique place to relax, drink tea, have an olfactory aperitif, or to have lunch or dinner surrounded by nature.
Is there a particular scent that you produce that you have a particular connection to? Why?
Giorgia: All of my perfumes tell a different story, an olfactory memory. They are born from an idea, an intuition, or an inspiration. I have a special connection with each one.
If you were to give a scent as a gift, what would you choose?
Ambra: I wouldn’t try copy something that that person already wears. Definitely try understand their style and personality, but at the same time, be a little daring, and give them something they’re not expecting. And of course, you should like it too! I think it’s really interesting how perfume says a lot about us. Giving it as a gift shows to those who receive it what we think of them.
We know that the Perfume Laboratory – LabSolue is a laboratory of ideas. What news can we expect to receive the Autumn and Winter seasons?
Ambra: We have olfactory aperitifs, a beautiful event that celebrates the Japanese ceremony of Kodo, and a workshop on candle-making.
Looking back over all your perfumes, how many have you made? Who is your typical client.
Giorgia: We’ve made a few. The clients for these types of products love perfume and they are people who will not settle for a fragrance that already exists. They are people who want a unique olfactory thumbprint.
Tell us your 3 favorite places in Milan and why?
Giorgia: The Milan I know and love has to be discovered behind the façade of its buildings. There are so many amazing hidden places that make you so proud to be from Milan. I would have to say my favorite things are the painting of the great flood that is inside our ‘little Sistine Chapel’ (San Maurizio al Monastero Maggiore Church in Corso Magenta), the gardens of Villa Necchi Campiglio and Palazzo Reale, and getting lost in the alleys of Brera or Navigli.
Where would you go in Milan for the following occasions:
Brunch: Da Noi In in Via Forcella. On Saturdays we are choose the front garden.
Lunch: La Specialità
Aperitif: The Olfactory Aperitivo at the Magna Par Hotel & Suites
What is your ideal day in Milan?
Ambra: Starting with a tasty breakfast of cream-filled pastries, then following it up with a busy morning in the park with my three kids, and a beautiful lunch at home with my family. The afternoon is much less effort. I recharge with a yoga class and a gorgeous dinner chatting with a few close friends.
If you have a friend who has never visited the city, where must you absolutely take them?
Ambra: To live in Milan as a true Milanese, you must walk its beloved neighborhoods. The 5 ways, the heart of historical Milan, Brera and Navigli, and definitely going to see the Santa Maria delle Grazie, Corso Magenta and Sant’Ambrogio.
As a treat for our readers, what is your favorite ‘hidden corner’ of Milan? Can you reveal it?
Ambra: The beauty of Milan lies in its hidden corner. I would have a very long list if I revealed everything, but I would start with L’Orto Botanico di Brera, La Vigna di Leonardo, and the cloisters of Santa Maria delle Grazie.
Thank you again from all of us at Flawless Milano and good luck in all your exciting projects!