Perfume Inspired by Travel

I possess a strong sense of smell and simply adore perfume, but only very select scents. For the last few years I’ve been wearing Coco Mademoiselle by Chanel. I wasn’t planning on changing my fragrance until a trip to Courchevel last March. Testing a few samples of a perfume I hadn’t heard of or smelt before, I became completely smitten with the notes of a particular scent, which rarely happens. This is how I discovered Memo.

Little did I know, it was the perfect setting in which to become acquainted with a perfume company started by a couple that met on a ski lift. Clara and John Molloy are both avid travelers, he from Ireland and she from Andalucia, Spain. Together they set off on a journey to create Memo, a collection of scents inspired by their adventures around the world.

Why perfume? Fragrance has the same rite-of-passage dimension as travel, serving as a threshold between the known and the unknown. Smelling, breathing in a scent, is accepting to leave a safety zone in search of new sensations, and tying them to one’s personal experience. Fragrance kindles an excitement similar to that of a journey, a departure. It is about openness and abandonment. As a fellow traveler, I couldn’t agree more.

After writing a book on “noses” in 2006, Clara embarked on a voyage through the olfactory senses and Memo was born in 2007. For the last decade, Memo’s Les Echappées collection has been inspired by journeys from Asia to Africa including Manoa, Hawaii, Marfa, Texas and Granada, Spain. The scent that won me over was Lalibela, inspired by the mystical land of Ethiopia. This unique fragrance, with key notes of rose, patchouli and frankincence now joins me in Paris, Monterosso, The Hamptons, or wherever my adventures take me.

Visiting their flagship store off of rue Saint-Honoré in Paris, I discovered all eighteen luxurious scents, the most recent being Eau de Memo, a commemorative fragrance celebrating the 10th anniversary of Memo Paris. Just as their perfumes are inspired by travel, so too do they travel, now being available all over the world.

The expression that best captures the spirit of Memo is “The journey is the destination”. A perfume after my own heart.

At Home with Maison & Objet

To discover what’s new and in vogue in the home design world, there’s no better place than Maison&Objet, the annual trade fair that takes place in Paris every September. Select wares that pass through the doors of this massive exposition will be chosen by local boutiques and leading department stores, eventually making their way into Parisian homes.

As a designer with an affinity for home décor and all things food related, I thought I’d share my top artisanal picks from all over Europe. I have no doubt that these products and the artisans behind them are paving their way towards success in Paris and beyond.

A well-set table is of key importance in any home. Liisu Arro is a third generation artist from Estonia, who now calls Finland home. Her porcelain tableware series “Birds” is inspired by the long, dark Nordic winters. These plates, bowls and cups come to life in vivid turquoise, coral and yellow, emanating warmth as though born from a “Midwinter’s Dream”. A perfect modern compliment to these elegant ceramics is silverware by Dutch designer Heiko Balster. His minimalist stainless steel collection, available in either satin or gloss is impressive in both design and function. Each fork, knife and spoon is designed to rest on the edge of a plate, should that be your preference.

Let’s add linens and candles to our setting. Several year ago, two sisters from Sweden began designing a collection of home products including linen tea towels and aprons. Most recently, Terrible Twins launched their hand-crafted wellness collection including all natural soaps, salt scrubs, bath and body oils and scented candles. Each candle is poured by hand in reusable amber brown glass jars. Every product from the Spa Series is numbered from 1 to 10, referencing its ingredients.

As far as food preparation is concerned, a good cutting board is crucial. Russian brand FUGA creates handcrafted cutting and serving boards, as well as other items of home decoration. Using Northern crafting techniques and only natural materials, each piece is a unique work of art. Made of oak, often considered a symbol of power and strength, and with added healing powers in the tannins, the wood only becomes more beautiful with age.

To bring the outdoors in while adding to a home’s ambiance, plants are essential. Even more so when they become part of the decoration. The latest living green accessory comes from Italy. Inspired by their design of vertical green walls, Ortisgreen has created a smaller version called HOH! Hang.Oasi.Home. Nature can now become integrated in any home, regardless of the size or space.

Maison&Objet also exhibits innovative food and drink. Being a connoisseur of both sweets and wine, I was immediately drawn to The Real Wine Gum. A healthy adult treat containing no artificial colors or alcohol, you can taste your favorite wine on the go with no fear of over-indulging. Flavors include Rosé, Merlot, Chardonnay and the latest addition, Riesling. Also keep an eye out for their new Whiskey flavored gums.

Another sweet discovery comes from France and began in the form of apples. Started by two friends from Normandy, Sassy cider is a modern version of what every Normand grows up drinking. Named for the château where one of the partners was raised, this 100% natural beverage is made of pure fruit extraction with no concentrate. An ideal refreshing apéritif, with varieties include original, pear and rosé.

This article was originally published in Bonjour Paris where you can find other features I’ve written all about food, fashion, art, travel and lifestyle. Enjoy discovering Paris through my eyes!

Downtown Inspired

With fashion week taking over the streets of New York, London and soon Paris, I thought what better time to launch a new Kasia Dietz handbags collection. During a recent trip to New York City, I became inspired by the colors and energy of the city, namely downtown, my stomping ground. Thus, the Downtown Collection was born, representing the West Village, Soho and the East Village (also included in that is the Lower East Side, of course). As always, all Kasia Dietz handbags are limited edition and made in Paris. And perfect for travel!

The shoot took place on a late afternoon in the charming West Village. Clothes by designer and friend Yumi Kim.

By the end of the shoot I made an adorable and very fluffy friend. How well does he fit with the Soho bag?

I hope you enjoy the latest Downtown Collection! Stay tuned for more exciting design projects ahead…

Sardinia Part Three : Bosa

Our last stop on this whirlwind week exploring Sardinia was the medieval town of Bosa, set on the Temo river. Little did I know that we saved the most picturesque for last. The palette of colors stretching before us was reminiscent of a Paul Klee painting, incidentally one of my favorite artists. With this kaleidoscopic view from our hotel room terrace, I was already smitten before even setting foot in the old town.

Mornings and late afternoons were spent lost amidst the maze of colorful streets, each building laden with its own wall of flowers. Streets were lined with recycled tomato cans converted into hand-painted flower pots.  The entire town blossomed beneath the mid-summer sun.




I became completely smitten with the attention to color and detail in this vibrant town. Truly a living painting!

Our last morning we walked up to the castle in the heat, seeking shade while admiring the views from above.


My favorite architecture in Bosa was this strip of pastel colored houses lining the river, once tanneries dating back to the 19th century. Now it seems, perfect for loftlike residences.

The colors of Bosa and the feeling of Sardinia would stay with me for a long time. At least until the next visit.

Sardinia Part Two : The Dunes

Our next destination was Sardinia’s west coast, called Costa Verde for its lush greenery. After making a few stops to explore the mainland and take several dips in the sea during what was in effect a heatwave, we arrived to our home in the dunes.

Sometimes life is most beautiful at its simplest. While I do love five-star luxury, this was a different type of star setting. We slept in what resembled a cabin with a view of the sea, dining on local cheese, bread and wine beneath a sky filled with stars. And if you looked closely enough you may just find one falling. We did.


In the morning we ran down to the sea for a swim on a completely deserted beach. THIS was paradise defined.

We spent the day on the beach taking shade beneath an umbrella and cooling off in the refreshing sea.

Night fell and with the setting sun we continued on to our last destination, one of Sardinia’s most picturesque.

Sardinia Part One : Carloforte

This year for my birthday at the end of July, a certain Italian planned a week in Sardinia. It would be my first time on this island, and his second. We flew into Cagliari, picked up a rental car, stopped by one of the magical beaches Sardinia is known for, and headed to our first destination, the island of San Pietro.

The only town on this island of 6,500 inhabitants is Carloforte. We settled in at charming hotel Villa Pimpina in the town’s center. Our room boasted a grand terrace with views of the town and the sea.


We were completely charmed by Carloforte’s maze of colorful streets and the warmth of its locals. My Italian even spoke with them in dialect. As it turns out, the Carlofortini are of Genovese descent, having arrived to San Pietro via Tunisia in 1738. With them they brought customs and foods from Genoa including focaccia and pesto. Surrounded by tastes of Liguria, we both felt very much at home!

Our mornings were spent exploring the town and mingling with the locals. Afternoons were spent discovering one of San Pietro’s many beaches. Every evening we enjoyed live music and performances in the main square. So much culture for such a small island! For dinner we feasted on tuna dishes, the island’s specialty. Tuna in more ways than I’ve ever imagined, including tuna lasagna, a fast favorite. The best tuna meals were had at Ristorante Da Andrea Osteria della Tonnara, where we even dined two nights in a row. Another favorite restaurant was Al Tonno Di Corsa.

Three days and many birthday celebrations later, it was time to leave San Pietro and return to the mainland. Next stop adventures in Costa Verde…

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