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Melissa: Our Creative Director and her Italian Heritage

Growing up in the serenity of Lipari, a small isle off Sicily’s northeastern coast, Creative Director and Founder Melissa del Bono enjoyed a joyful and richly cultured childhood.

Melissa spent a lot of her upbringing beside the shore, where her father opened Lipari’s first hotel; a luxurious, ceramic build, designed in the style of old island houses.

Spirited and carefree, Melissa developed a passionate love for the beach, believing the sea in Sicily glistened like nowhere else in the world.

'Local fisherwomen would regularly pass by Melissa playing, relaying their catch in an array of beautifully woven carriers' 

It was on the coast where Melissa first discovered the traditional wicker basket; local fisherwomen would regularly pass by her playing, relaying their catch in an array of beautifully woven carriers.

Here she would dream of founding her own collection of bags, lovingly crafted in the same way that artisans weaved the baskets, perched in the shade on sun-drenched afternoons.

 

For her seventh birthday, Melissa received a wicker basket of her own; the most sensational interlaced basket, which she would subsequently take everywhere she travelled, overflowing with her brother’s books and her father’s sun cream.

     

When she wasn’t exploring the Aeolian beaches, Melissa was happiest with her family, up in Lipari’s unspoilt fields, rejoicing in playful woven hats and tucking into flavoursome picnics.

Steering through the narrow streets and cobblestone alleys, made even narrower by the great pots of geranium and jasmine vines, Melissa and her three brothers would pack into the backseat of her mother’s Fiat 500; their legs sticking out of the windows all the way up to the meadows.

You could always find the family picnic hamper bundled in the back with them, squeezed into the car’s tiny foot well. Crafted from raw wicker and Italian tan leather, the hamper would be brimming with succulent citrus fruits and sandwiches loaded with salami, ham and capicola.

'She regularly reminisces about the sublimity of Lipari and the beloved memories she holds of her wicker basket'

Being so close to nature and savouring the desirable simplicity of life on the island are what Melissa misses most about Lipari, now that she’s based in London.

Although she welcomes the urban energy of the capital and often draws on it for inspiration, Melissa dearly cherishes the aloe plants’ purity and the fragrance of eucalyptus trees.

To escape from London’s urgency, she regularly reminisces about the sublimity of Lipari and the beloved memories she holds of her wicker basket.

Influenced by the natural way of living and the baskets that influenced her youth, Melissa sought to create a woven leather which would convey her childhood happiness and strong Italian culture.

Authentically blending art with design and channelling Melissa’s muses, a family of Florentine artisans delicately emboss each weave onto soft leather, sourced from founding established Italian tanneries.

Our woven leather embodies hundreds of years of local tradition and showcases the exceptional quality of techniques, materials and expertise for which Italy has become renowned.

 

 

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