In the wild lands of mid-19th century South America, two very different families crossed paths. Their encounter helped shape the future of modern-day Argentina. General Bartolomé Mitre, a statesman and man of leers, became unified Argentina’s first President in 1862. One of his first presidential decrees opened the country to foreign investment, with the ultimate goal of building a railway system to connect the interior with the capital and further unify the country. Enter Charles and Walter Morrison. Their father, James Morrison, had risen from humble origins to become Victorian England’s most notable entrepreneur. The brothers saw great opportunity in Argentina and invested a portion of their father’s fortune in the railway system as well as in utilities, banking and land deals that fuelled the development of the young country during the industrial age. 140 years later the direct descendants of Mitre and Morrison met in Italy and fell in love.
ALTAIA is their story.
Marina Sersale is the great-great-granddaughter of James Morrison. Growing up she split her time between England and Italy and built a career as a documentary filmmaker. Sebastián Alvarez Murena is the great-great-grandson of Bartolomé Mitre. After living in Argentina, Spain and Switzerland, he settled in Italy where he worked as a journalist and in 2001 met Marina. The two fell in love and got married. In 2004 they joined forces with the creation of Eau d’Italie, an exclusive line of fragrances inspired by Positano and their favourite places throughout Italy. In 2012 the chance discovery of the extraordinary events that centuries ago linked their families inspired them to create a new perfume collection, which they called ALTAIA.
The making of Altaia ALTAIA – acronym for “A Long Time Ago In Argentina ” – is a celebration of Marina and Sebastian’s love for the art of perfumery and the power of storytelling through scent, as well as the extraordinary circumstances of their shared past. Each Eau de Parfum contains olfactory elements evocatively associated with a strand of their interlaced past and present, lovingly crafted to produce fragrances that are both timeless and contemporary. For the packaging of ALTAIA Marina and Sebastián have created a modern, elegant and minimalist design, to encourage the wearer to discover each scent in a personal way and ultimately to allow the fragrances to speak for themselves.
Marina and Sebastián first met in southern Italy, where orange groves flourish by the Mediterranean sea and the air is warm with the promise of summer. Inspired by the name of an ancient Chinese poem, Yu Son is a celebration of their meeting and falling in love 140 years aer their families crossed paths in Argentina.
Having left his home in Argentina at a very young age, Sebastián now lives in Rome but sweet memories of his beloved Buenos Aires never cease to whisper so words of longing, like the wistful melodies of a tango.
By Any Other Name takes its inspiration from a true story: Marina’s mother was so beautiful that at the age of sixteen she received her first marriage proposal while strolling through the Tudor rose gardens of Sudeley Castle in Glouchestershire, where she was born. Following her mother’s advice she refused, but the beauty of that moment stayed with her forever.