Fabrice Lecler, the creator of the innovation lab for L’Oreal Prestige, described Maria Candida’s creations as “reaching the heart because they come from the heart.” After graduating from the Perfumery School of Grasse, she learned more under the direction of Carol Andrew and went on to work with lines such as Sinfonia di Note, Farmacia SS, and Profumi del Forte. In her line, there are two groups – classic (inspired by the natural treasures of the Mediterranean) and exclusive. Using a large percentage of natural ingredients, she channels her energy to make them sing in a truly inspired way.
Ron Slomowicz: Becoming a mother affected your love of perfumery and why you became a perfumer; can you explain more about that?
Maria Candida Gentile: My grandfather was a pharmacist, and when I was a child I played in the pharmacy; I would distill the clair matin roses for fun. I didn’t know at that time that my real interest was in perfume, and after I became a mother I became even more interested in perfumery. When my son was born I went to live in the beautiful valley of Valle d’Aosta. My life changed, and when I was there I met some people that worked with perfumes. There was a woman who lived near my house that had a lot of experience with herbs. When I lived in the mountains I smelled the smell of the snow, the trees, and nature, and I understood that was my passion. I started to study at a university of cosmetology but only went for one year. One of my professors told me that I was so far advanced from the other students and asked me why I didn’t want to go to a school of fragrance in Grasse. I took her suggestion and started going to school in France, but still lived in Valle d’Aosta which was very hard for me at the time because I had two sons and it was such a long drive back and forth. Going to school is a lot easier for younger students. I started working in a laboratory with my professor, named Carol André, and once I started I didn’t want to go back to any other enterprises. It is so important for me to create my perfume with a lot of creativity, and that is difficult to do if you work for a large enterprise. Some of my best friends worked for large companies and they didn’t get to follow their heart and do what they really wanted to.