Because two is better than one

  1. Micallef’s parents Geoffrey Nieman and Martine Micallef shares in this exclusive interview with Ego their inspirations, favourite scents, creative process and the secret why they make the perfect duet

Can you tell us more about M.Micallef?

Martine: M.Micallef is a family brand that wants to honour the tradition of perfume making as an art, using the finest ingredients and exquisite artisan bottles, to create a unique and memorable brand. M.Micallef encompasses passion and love to make special works of art that our loyal customers treasure.

Since one works on the design and the other on the scent, how do you come to terms?

Martine: We have always worked as a great team – we complement each other perfectly and our individual talents have made the brand what it is today. Our job is our passion.

Which comes first, the bottle or the scent or do you start on it together? Can you share with us the creation process?

Geoffrey: This really depends – sometimes I can be inspired by a particular ingredient and start from there, and sometimes Martine designs a beautiful bottle that sparks an idea for a fragrance. I then head to the lab and begin mixing ingredients along with Jean Claude Astier, our ‘nose’ who we have worked with since the beginning – he is the Godfather of M.Micallef! This process can take up to six months before we are perfectly satisfied with the final product. Our handcrafted bottles are made in Grasse; the perfume capital of France, and Martine then decorates each flacon using Swarovski crystals and wonderful hand-painted detail.

Can you tell us more about the inspirations for your special collections?

Martine: For our special collections, we are often inspired by particular events, creating unique bottles for celebratory occasions such as UAE National Day and Valentine’s Day. Other artists also inspire us, for example our Crystal Ceramic collection was a collaboration with renowned artisan ceramist David Branchard.

What makes it different?

Geoffrey: The pieces in our crystal and special collections are unique in the truest sense because each bottle is mouth-blown and its lid will be a perfect fit for it alone. Each is decorated by hand and can be personalised with a name and/or individual message. The one of a kind pieces are then filled with a fragrance of choice from the extensive M.Micallef collection.

How would you describe the man who wears M.Micallef?

Geoffrey: A gentleman who expects high quality and is interested in experience rather than something generic and commercial.

Martine: The M.Micallef man is attracted to luxury, quality and a timeless elegance. He enjoys the ritual of applying scent, and sees it as part of a refined routine to be enjoyed every day.

How would you describe the woman who wears M.Micallef?

Geoffrey: The M.Micallef woman is passionate, elegant and refined, someone who wants to stand out from the crowd with quiet confidence.

Martine: She appreciates the finer things in life and isn’t afraid to embrace luxury. Feminine and strong, the M.Micallef woman’s presence is felt as soon as she walks into the room.

Geoffrey Nieman

You were in the world of private banking, what made you venture into the world of perfume?

I knew perfume making was my calling when I was working in finance for a perfume company and my interest was piqued. I soon discovered I was much more interested in making scents than the numbers side of the business.

What is your favourite perfume from your collections and why?

Aoud Eau De Parfum will always hold a special place in my heart, as M.Micallef were the first niche luxury perfume brand to take the leathery, animalistic wonder oil Aoud, which we discovered in the souks of old Dubai, and mix it with more European scents. It caused a sensation when we brought it back to the Middle East – one customer even told us it changed his life!

Which scent do you think embodies you as a person and the reason behind it?

I love Royal Vintage, which is part of the Les Exclusifs collection and is reminiscent of the beautiful chrome of vintage cars. This men’s fragrance has timeless, sophisticated elegance.

How did you envision your first perfume?

We knew that we wanted to create a luxury, niche scent that stood out for the right reasons, so from the beginning we set out to source the best ingredients, work with the most highly skilled people and use time-honoured techniques.

What is your earliest recollection of being into scents?

Fragrances are linked to special moments and I think the first perfume memory I have would be my mother’s perfume. I’ve always been interested in scents as they can say so much about our individual personalities –true extensions of ourselves.

Can you share with us your perfume philosophy?

It always comes down to the fact that we are firm believers in love and passion. We don’t follow trends but make fragrances from the heart when inspiration strikes and aim to please our discerning customers – perfume connoisseurs who appreciate our high-quality ingredients and cherish our beautiful intricate bottles.

Martine Micallef

Where do you draw inspiration when you go about the designing process for the bottles?

Inspiration can strike anywhere for me and Geoffrey – culture, music, even food can give us ideas for a new fragrance. However, we find that travel gives us the most inspiration; the sights, sounds and smells of a different culture can lead to invaluable new perspectives.

Which scent do you think embodies you as a person and the reason behind it?

Our Mon Parfum collection is very dear to my heart as Geoffrey developed these perfumes especially for me; he says they are my soul, my inspiration and my ‘message in a bottle’. Each fragrance in the collection reveals a different facet of my personality.

Can you share with us a specific bottle which is very personal to you?

It’s always hard to pick just one, however, the special bottle we designed for the opening of our first Dubai boutique always stands out. The unique crystal falcon design is an emblem of the UAE, representing pride, and luxury – all traits which embody the region and M.Micallef.

How do you think your personality reflects in the design of the flasks?

I have always possessed an artist’s soul – I believe art is my destiny and I pour my creativity and personality into every design I create.

What is your favourite perfume from your collections and why?

This changes all the time, but at the moment I love Ananda Dolce – reminiscent of life in Provence, it embodies femininity and grace with delicate notes of peach blending with fresh almond blossoms. A perfect fragrance for warmer months, it truly uplifts the senses!

How would you describe the woman who wears M.Micallef?

Geoffrey: The M.Micallef woman is passionate, elegant and refined, someone who wants to stand out from the crowd with quiet confidence.

Martine: She appreciates the finer things in life and isn’t afraid to embrace luxury. Feminine and strong, the M.Micallef woman’s presence is felt as soon as she walks into the room.

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