Stepping inside the studio of Sweet Saba is like entering a magical candy wonderland. Not of the Willy Wonka, chocolate waterfall variety, but a relentlessly chic, visually stunning world where the confections are like mini sculptures, artful as they are delectable—and the founder is as fashionable as
That founder would be Maayan Zilberman, onetime lingerie designer, current confectioner, and lifetime art and sculpture enthusiast. “Before I ever worked in fashion, I graduated from art school, majoring in sculpture,” she explains, standing in front of three glittering, multicolored soccer-ball sized figures that could be at home in the Museum of Modern Art, though they’re carved from sugar. “I started making little candy sculptures as a side project…I never thought [they] would end up being my focus, but it felt natural to go back to a hands-on process after so many years
I love the idea that candy can look like cosmetics and vice versa. I guess it’s all supposed to be delicious.
The result is a boutique candy company with flavors as elevated as the eye-catching, mouthwatering architectural designs into which they’re infused. Candy lipsticks can taste of coconut pineapple, Manuka honey, Bing cherry or champagne, while retro sugarcoated mixtapes burst with flavors of rosé wine or Night Blooming Jasmine. It was our discovery of this flavor in particular that inspired this story—we asked Zilberman to create candy versions of the ultimate springtime fragrance, Estée Lauder Pleasures Eau Fraîche, with its signature notes of peony, pink rose, white lily and, of course, jasmine represented in striking sweet form.
“I love that perfume can evoke a past era, but still be considered modern and of this time,” Zilberman explains of her creation process. “Pleasures is such a good example. I was inspired by the floral notes of this scent and carved each flower sculpture by hand. Sugar reflects light like glass, so it’s perfect for creating bouquets of magical edible objects. I paired rose and peony with edible floral essence, while white lily became Italian lemon with a dash of ‘Pleasures flavor’ we created as an aftertaste.” The result is a scent- and sensorial delight.
When asked if she ever gets beauty inspiration from her candies, Zilberman had the perfect response: “I once read Donatella Versace say that lips and fingernails should look like candies. I suspect this was during the period when everything was glossy and applied with a wand, but it made a real impression on me. I love the idea that candy can look like cosmetics and vice versa. I guess it’s all supposed to
And when it comes to her actual beauty routine, Zilberman is equally as artistic. Complementing her signature winged liner is most often a juicy red lip. “Even if alone at my studio, I wear bright red lipstick,” she explains. (Here she sports a combination of Pure Color Love in Bar Red and Shock & Awe.) “I keep a tray of about 20 of them on my kitchen counter. My grandmother always told me you have to be ready for whoever might stop in.”