Julian Bedel will be cross with me when he sees the image above. He is the guy who creates the perfumes I’m obsessed with since 2012, when I discovered his brand Fueguia 1833 in Buenos Aires. He’s a perfectionist and when the photographer shot that picture, he said it was too bad to see all that tape on top of the bottles.
I could tell you the story of Fueguia 1833, founded in 2010 as a sophisticated fragrance laboratory by Bedel, who never worked in this field before, but if you visit the website you will get all the information you need. You might like to know the voluptuous feeling I have each morning when I caress my Fueguia bottles to choose the perfume which will be me, that day. There is one thing, though, that is even more appealing to me: Julian’s firmness.
He comes from a family of artists. He’s totally unpretentious but you can tell he’s well off, the kind of man who could spend his life travelling, dating models, eating in fancy restaurants and joining exclusive clubs. He likes music, he owns many guitars that he always takes with him in his journeys. I can imagine him spending a whole day sipping drinks and playing with a Telecaster.
We first met at the Park Hyatt Hotel in front of his store in Buenos Aires. He told me he wanted to expand the business responsibly, that he didn’t want to exploit the brand and only cared for small, top quality production not to compromise about the natural origin of the ingredients. He said what most people say when they approach a niche market. I met plenty, full of ardour and commitment, only to see them disappear or come to terms to a much more commercial point of view. A year later he wrote that he was in Milano for a few days. We had a coffee together and he explained about the idea of getting a pied-à-terre here in Italy, to develop the business outside the Americas, then gave me a new perfume to try, I instantly loved. Ten months ago I got an e-mail from one of the biggest press office here in Milano, telling me how happy they were to represent Fueguia 1833 and it’s new boutique just opened in via Spiga 50.
He did it, he got a space. Actually he did more, he turned it into a chic hidden store on the first floor and got another place near railways Central Station to make his perfumes there. Don’t be shy and go upstairs when you are in via Spiga: the stuff isn’t cheap, but you can get little bottles of the lightest versions at reasonable prices. You can also just smell everything and then think about it, Julian always recommends to choose with ease. What you won’t see, unless you get as annoying as me, is the little factory in Ferrante Aporti.
It’s white, quiet and full of light. Bedel hired a few people to help him, but he stays there ages working on new formulas, creating special machineries to improve the production, testing the glass laser printer, deciding about the shape of the wooden boxes, hand-crafted there.
I’m attracted by his hunger. It’s not just a question of money, still Fueguia is not a game. He flew to Tokyo to open a shop there and he did it with the utmost care. It’s not about being famous, you can tell by the coyness he fails to hide. It’s not even the attempt to grow bigger season after season. I sense in him an urgency to say something with perfumes instead of using brushes or words. I admire his willopower.
Don’t take me wrong when I say it can be easier to do something great when you have nothing to lose. John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr would have been the Beatles if they had better chances in their lives? I wanted to be an actress when I was a kid, but I never had the guts to leave the easiness of my personal background.
Friends tell me I should write a book. They know, as much as I do, that I’ve got things in my head, but I find any possible excuse not to start. Why should I risk to fail in doing something new when I can keep on with the safe old stuff?
The reason why Fueguia 1833 perfumes hooked me it’s because they talk to me. They tell me a meaningful story, even if I cannot turn it into words. They are alchemical and inspirational at the same time. They proof that harmony needs discipline to bloom. Julian’s perfumes don’t smell, they are.