meli melo is a combination of designer Melissa Del Bono’s rich Italian and patriotic English Heritage, paired with the inspiration from her daily life. Named after Melissa herself, ‘Meli’ was the playful nickname given to her by friends and family whilst ‘meli melo’ means a mishmash of things.
Part of a fiercely entrepreneurial family, Melissa always wanted to start something creative of her own. An Island girl at heart, Melissa had been inspired by the large wicker baskets that the local women would carry on the volcanic Aeolian Island of Lipari, Sicily, where she grew up. In 2005, having never been to design school, Melissa drew her take on the local fisher women’s basket, interpreting the relaxed shape and the inverted handles from the traditional design. This became known as the BB Bag.
She sourced the finest Italian leather and contacted the local Italian factories to produce the first samples of what would become her first meli melo handbag.
Melissa launched meli melo from her London home, funding the label with money saved from a plane ticket she had purchased to move to Argentina. At a time of ‘it’ bags and logos, Melissa saw a gap in the luxury accessories market for beautifully made handbags without the extortionate price tag and harsh branding.
Having previously worked for the in-house PR teams at Harper’s Bazaar, Tanner Krolle and Asprey, Melissa used her skills and contacts to launch her label.
The brand soon became a go-to label for industry insiders and A-List names alike. The Duchess of Cambridge, Sienna Miller, Pippa Middleton and Poppy Delevingne were the first to wear the bags in 2005, favouring the subtle branding, buttery soft leather and timeless styles.
Since meli melo began its journey in 2005, the label has formed a remarkable legacy of milestones
Melissa designs the first meli melo handbag, the BB bag, inspired by traditional Sicilian baskets
meli melo is acclaimed by British Vogue as a ‘brand to watch’
Melissa is approached by LVMH to become a designer for one of their global brands
The Duchess of Cambridge makes a meli melo bag her go-to accessory for summer
Melissa designs the Thela tote, worn by Olivia Palermo on numerous occasions
meli melo opens its flagship store on Portobello Road in London’s Notting Hill
The Art Bag launches, in collaboration with renowned art collector Federica Fanari
meli melo opens its first pop-up store on London’s prestigious Regent Street
meli melo introduces the new Severine Collection, a special edition collaboration with Olivia Palermo
The limited-edition Rose Thela launches, a contemporary reinterpretation of the Thela design.
The story of meli melo began on the volcanic island of Lipari with the traditional Sicilian wicker basket, the label’s core inspiration.
meli melo’s first creation, the B.B. bag, interpreted the wicker basket’s inverted handles, establishing them as the defining feature of its luxuriously minimalist design.
The hero Thela tote, an evolution of the B.B. Bag, is widely recognised for its design. Leading in originality, the handbag can be worn in five different ways, encouraging self-expression.
A contemporary reinterpretation of the Thela design, the limited-edition Rose Thela has a ring closure symbolising eternity and an interchangeable wide shoulder strap