It’s impossible to have ever needed to buy any type of perfume or cosmetic product in Malta without having heard of FRANKS. With a mission to open the doors of luxury to those with a flair for opulence, FRANKS is making everyone’s goal that of always “embracing individuality”. The Maltese company has been around since 1893 – that’s a very long time; 125 years, to be precise, which is why FRANKS pulled out all the stops to celebrate in style last week.
In a fabulous do at the glorious Villa Bighi, FRANKS’ heritage came together along with the island’s own heritage, as exhibitions and videos going back generations really helped put the company’s last century and a fourth in perspective.
Under the beautifully romantic backdrop of 200 candles set up by Stephen Cordina, staff and loyal customers alike came together for a night of sharp-dressed celebrations.
The night really did leave no stone unturned, serving up champagne thanks to an actual Bollinger truck (the fanciest food truck you’ll ever see). The fancy black tie event was made complete with Jaguar’s, Satariano’s and Alistair’s decor.
FRANKS even rewarded all their loyalty card customers with 125 points to show their appreciation for their continued support of the brand.
With so many decades worth of memories and milestones, you’d expect FRANKS to have gathered quite the collection of relics over the past. Well, you’d be absolutely right.
The night also featured an exhibition with mementos from the last 125 years. Everything from the original signage of the Bormla shop and old family photos, to products sold in the 1940s, 50s, and 60s were on display, including a flawlessly-kept old school Guerlain perfume.
A video which played on the night also told the story of FRANKS, a 125-year-history about going against all odds.
Back in 1893 Bormla, Salvatore Abela used to sell shaving accessories to British sailors. Why Franks, we hear you asking? Well, the British sailors couldn’t get Salvatore’s name right… so they called him Frank instead.
From there, Salvatore’s son, Vincent, eyed an expansion to a different location, opening up shop in Valletta in 1915. Even though Vincent had 10 children, only one of them took up the family business; Joseph Abela, who used post-war Malta as the perfect opportunity to expand and start importing and distributing luxury goods.
At only 18 years, Joseph’s son Lauro flew to London and was inspired by the high-end Oxford shops like Selfridges to forever change the perfumery game in Malta.
As a result of this, in 1979, Abela transformed his family’s Valletta shop into a perfumery, the very first of its kind on the island. No longer solely sold at pharmacies, perfumes and cosmetics were brought to the Maltese population once and for all.
The rest is the celebrated history.
Photos by Michael Calleja