Wednesday, June 20, 2007

When Luxury Becomes Necessity

I admit it; I’m a sucker for great packaging. I’ll buy (or at least think of buying!) the worlds most useless things because the container beckons me. For example, the Paul&Joe lipstick I bought at Anthropologie, which is like every other red lipstick I own except for the fact that the tube came in such a delicious floral print, or that extra tin of chocolate covered Altoids

that I’ll never use, but that matches my purse. This happens so often, in fact, that I have begun to distrust cute packaging altogether and have fallen back on the starkly practical.

However, in skimming through the pages of my boyfriends GQ magazine on a recent flight, I happened upon a company whose packaging lured me in to such an extent that I was forced to make a purchase. The gold- embossed crests, and thick cream colored boxes all give off the aura of an old-world apothecary that cooks up cures in the ally of some Italian village that one on can remember the name of . And it’s no ruse, for that is in fact exactly what the Dominican friars of Santa Maria Novella (and later the family of Cesare Augusto Stefani) have been doing since 1612. Their product line includes everything from Almond foot cream (said to aid in circulation) to olive oil (which I imagine tastes something like heaven in a bottle).

My purchase was a simple one. A tin of lozenges from the herbalist’s shop said to calm motion sickness. The box my humble purchase arrived in would have been sufficient for a basketball, so carefully was it wrapped. And the whole package carried with it a subtle smell of lilies which had diffused pleasantly throughout my apartment by the time I dug through the packing paper to find my lozenges. It was such a great experience that I suddenly find myself in great need of soaps and perfumes, and am very excited to make my next purchase.

By the way, the lozenges are fantastic. No lie.

You can purchase any of Santa Maria Novellas products online at

1 comment:

immortal barbarian killed by vultures said...

those lozenges were hella fresh. And i do mean HELLA .