Masque Milano is a brand that is fascinating in every possible way. From its creators, the two engineers in a perfect fusional friendship, Alessandro Brun and Riccardo Tedeschi, both very technical in their daily jobs, to their incredibly diverse fragrances and the artistic stories behind them. We are talking about two charming men, massively talented, like-minded visionaries, united by the same passion for high-quality scents, travel, reading and music.
Their brand and the adjacent stories are carefully crafted, with the patience of ancient jewelers. Extremely knowledgeable about the intricacies of the current business environment, they are “a team made in heaven”. Their joint power is stemming from a bewildering combination of technical consistency and down-to-earth practicality and an artistic imagination overload.
Nothing about this brand is left to chance, nothing is usual or predictable. Everything is skillfully planned, like a scented military invasion that we can’t have enough of. In spite of their basic formation as engineers, Alessandro and Riccardo are the quintessential dreamers, in love with beautiful objects, modern design and lavish getaways.
These part-time hedonists recharge in activities that are taking them all over the world, both for business and pleasure and we get the feeling that their pleasure is deeply rooted in their business. The relentless quest for new materials, new natural scents and untold stories is accurately reflected in their perfume collections.
Right after 2010, testing the waters of the cosmetics business, they completed an educational program in olfactory techniques (encompassing study of the reference books, attendance to seminars and training courses). It is said that “perspective is a function of experience”… so, their perspective shifted and they started feeling at ease in the mysterious world of raw materials and perfume manufacturing.
After living for a while in Australia, Riccardo became interested in fragrances learning about the world of scent through his girlfriend, who worked at MOR Cosmetics. This interest turned into a burning passion, while Alessandro, had been researching small Italian luxury companies with the ambition of creating his own luxury brand.
In 2013, Masque Milano was born with a bang, as an Italian niche perfume brand. Just like many philosophers, artists and playwriters before them, Alessandro and Riccardo came to the conclusion that “the world is a stage”. It is this phrase (a monologue from William Shakespeare's pastoral comedy As You Like It), that brought their minds together, in trying to decipher what is behind the “masks” that we all wear on the stage of life.
While we, the “normal” people in the world, default to the path of least resistance, the audacious creators and storytellers like Alessandro and Riccardo come up with new, imaginative, innovative ways to make things better…. more enjoyable… more memorable.
There are certain characteristics that make Masque Milano quite unique as a brand and as business practices. For instance, they selected perfumers already established but yet not too famous. Masque Milano works with very young and very different artists around the world, considered to be the up and coming golden generation of outstanding perfumers. Secondly, they leave the creative process in the able, talented hands of these creators. They give credit for their work, by having their names on the perfume bottles (something that Frederic Male does, too, another iconic brand that honors the laborious work of otherwise hidden or hardly ever mentioned perfumers). Thirdly, the perfumers are given “carte blanche” and “No budget”, meaning that they can use the most expensive ingredients as they see fit, in order to obtain the best scent possible.
Now, it is worth mentioning that the secret is not in using the most expensive materials unsparingly. The secret is in the balance, harmony and skillful combination of ingredients. And what better group of incredibly talented, young and innovative perfumers to accomplish this mission than the following rising stars: Fanny Ball, Alex Lee, Delphine Thierry, Julien Rasquinet, Bruno Jovanovic, Meo Fusciuni, Christian Carbonnel, Luca Maffei, Cristiano Canali, Cécile Zarokian, Mackenzie Reilly, Vanina Muracciole.
A whole lot of thinking and planning is going into different settings for their fragrances. They stage theatrical backgrounds and create a script for emotions, then they bottle these emotions in perfect little recipients. Emotions are just energy in motion…and trying to capture that, is an act of bravery in itself.
In the ever-changing business scene, where so many brands are struggling for survival, the Masque Milano opera-inspired fragrance collection was a hit from the very beginning. As Alessandro and Riccardo put it, every fragrance represents “a scene in the scented opera of life,” and each of these scenes is depicted through an evocative name, a scene-setting description, and an illustration.
Terralba, Montecristo, Russian Tea, Mandala, Hemingway, Kintsugi, L’Atteza, Romanza, Tango, Love Kills, Lost Alice, Ray-Flection... These are all fragrances from the Opera collection, each and every one with its own fascinating story of inception. Another stunning collection is Le Donne di Masqua, a series of more feminine fragrances composed by female perfumers, comprising scents like Dolceaqua, Petra and Madeleine.
Masque Milano is a brand that moves with the times. In 2020, due to the worsening of the pandemic situation across the world, the launchings of perfume brands were drastically reduced (by a staggering 80%). Consequently, to the total disappointment of perfume aficionados all over the world, two of the biggest niche perfume shows – Pitti and Esxence – were canceled. The latter one was rescheduled to April 2021 only to be rescheduled again to June. Under those circumstances, the only smart and tech-savvy thing to do was move to online promotion. That’s exactly what Masque Milano did and their 3 new perfumes Ray-Flection, Madeleine and Lost Alice were launched via the Google Meet platform.
In the same line of futuristic endeavors, opened to the public by cryptocurrencies and the emerging world of NFT (Non-Fungible Tokens), Masque Milano got involved in the launching of the first NFT in the niche perfumery market.
For those who arrived later to this party (myself included), NFT stands for “non-fungible token,” and it can technically contain anything digital, including drawings, animated GIFs, songs, or items in video games. Non-fungible means it is individual. If something is “non-fungible,” it means it can’t be swapped for something of completely equal value. A tract of land would be non-fungible, since land is unique, and finding another tract with the exact same value would be difficult to impossible. Art is another example of a non-fungible asset, since its value is highly subjective—and this is where NFT’s come in.
The NFT market is the last frontier of the world of cryptocurrencies with a total value of 250 million euros. Authena is a Swiss startup among the main providers of blockchain-based solutions aimed at guaranteeing the authenticity of products throughout the supply chain. The company, in collaboration with Masque Milano, has launched the first collection of NFT able to offer a synaesthetic experience in the Metaverse.
It is clear to us, that Masque Milano – as a niche independent Italian brand – has been around for a while and its reputation has been steadily growing. This is a brand at the forefront of groundbreaking technology while, at the same time, being fully immersed in the artistic creative process of the past.
If curiosity is constantly getting the best of you (story of my life) go try the fragrances of Masque Milano. Their unique perfumes have been haunting my dreams and after smelling some of their scents I felt like my soul just left my body. It was, truly, an almost religious experience. The words of Alessandro are still resounding in my head: „We have the arrogance of saying we want to create masterpieces”.
I say... mission accomplished...