This beauty guru will revolutionise your on-the-go regime
Inspired by her regular trips to Sicily, Irene Forte’s eponymous organic skincare line highlights the importance of old traditions, nature and family. Here, the scion of the Rocco Forte hotel chain chats to High Life about her love of the natural world and how she switches off
I always love going to Sicily. I am Italian, but not Sicilian, and I first went to the island in 2003 for the first site visit for a Rocco Forte resort there, Verdura Resort. It opened its doors just under ten years later and I went to work there on my year out from university. It’s on the southwest coast, on 230 acres of olive trees, and it is home to the biggest Irene Forte spa. I got married there and I now have an organic farm there, where I grow the ingredients for my skincare line. The brand is quintessentially Sicilian, and that is reflected in the earthy, natural colours of the packaging and the scent of the products.
All our treatments at the spa include the inhalation of orange blossom scent from a hand-painted Sicilian ceramic bowl. We also ring Burgio bells to start and end all treatments. These handmade bronze bells are made at the Virgadamo foundry in Burgio, Sicily – a family-run firm that has been around since the 16th century.
What’s amazing about Sicily is that it’s at the crossroads of so many civilisations and cultures. You have the sea and very fertile land, ancient Greek ruins and baroque architecture, but also very warm, friendly people, where family is really important. And, of course, there is a strong farming tradition. Sicily’s rich organic ingredients and bountiful produce from Verdura’s organic farm make the perfect base for a skincare line. We harvest prickly pear from the juicy leaves of the Sicilian cactus, which is rich with hyaluronic acid-like properties, and olive oil, which we produce at the farm and is full of fatty acids and vital nutrients that improve skin hydration. And then there’s white wine, which comes from a local vineyard called Di Giovanna. It’s vegan and organic and acts as an antioxidant, which promotes cellular renewal.
Sicily is at the crossroads of so many civilisations and cultures
I love travelling with my husband. He’s very laidback but, at the same time, very organised. So it’s always very smooth when I travel with him. I love travelling with my family, too. They are very Italian and loud and I am a bit of an introvert, so it’s always fun going away with them as they add a bit of spice to the proceedings.
I don’t think I know how to totally switch off. I did a trip where I went in search of snow leopards in the Himalayas and had no reception for ten days. I was able to completely switch off because I was entirely disconnected. But for me, it’s mostly about being somewhere I can work for an hour a day and then relax.
You have to be inspired by wherever you go. I tend to travel a lot to Italy, where there are so many amazing things to experience, from churches and museums to the people and the food. I also find a lot of inspiration in India. Travelling is always so inspiring.
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