By Marcella Martinelli
Our sense of smell has closer links to our memory than any of our other senses
Creative director and founder of Stories Parfums, a collection of unique fragrances with a story to tell.
Perfume is the key to our memories
Following your childhood trauma , It was not until you visited a Perfumer in the French Riviera that your memories returned.
Do you remember the first scent that provoked such feelings?
I was 12 years old when my life spiralled out of control, I lost all my childhood memories and it was through counselling that I could address the trauma in my adulthood. I began working with a perfumer in the South of France and then the memories started coming back to me while I was working on my second fragrance. I blind test notes so I did not know what I was putting into the fragrances and when the scent was in its final note the memory started flooding back and the recollection of my grandfather garden started coming back and I knew I was starting to remember, a memory of being protected by my grandfather and father whilst I played in the garden, this gave me back my memories that had been stolen from me through darkness of that traumatic time.
You view fragrance as an art form, which artists inspire you and your
I can loose myself in Irish artists such as painters Terry Bradley, Glenn Donnelly and Martin Mooney. I can create a fragrance after spending time with an artist which I believe would represent their story but it’s my own personal story that inspires my fragrances..
Has the imposed lockdown given way for any new creative projects?
The lockdown has not affected me creatively, but has given me time to recalibrate, so to speak. It has given me time to be thankful, and look forward to the new normal. This is a chance for us all to be creative and reflective of our live.
The power of fragrance in your life has been profound what is your favourite scent?
That is like asking a child in a sweetshop what is their favourite sweet. I do not have a favourite but I am drawn to nature’s scent.
What inspires each story written inside the perfume’s packaging?
These are my true stories of what the perfume means to me.
The reason I choose to tell my story though the creation of fragrances is in the hope that it will inspire others to connect to their past, present and future.
Who was or is your biggest inspiration?
My biggest inspiration is my grandmother who sadly I never met. She was an extraordinary business woman and broke a lot of glass in Northern Ireland in her time.
A perfume is a personal journey, what is yours?
Your story is just that, a personal one, how you perceive a scent to how another person perceives the same scent is completely unique to the wearer. But do you know that we all can have a preconception of what we read on a bottle of perfume before we even smell it? This is why I chose to number our perfumes and to keep our packaging to a minimal look, I wanted the fragrances to speak for themselves. You can either love or hate a fragrance just by reading the notes of the perfume on a box before you actually inhale it. This preconception will be related to a memory. The only way to remove this is to use your nose and skin to make the decision.
Coco Chanel famously said “A woman who doesn’t wear perfume has no future, do you agree?
I totally agree .. I never ever leave the house without wearing a fragrance, I have been known to turn around and go home if I have ever forgot to spray, even if that means being late for a meeting.
What is your favourite place in London?
It has to be Annabel’s for its art, interiors, fashion, food, drinks and vibe… it has it all. As one person put it it has the “the spirit of English eccentricity”
What is your motto?
Fragrance hold your story and your story is worth being told.