Fragrance Signatures: Mona di Orio “From Chiaroscuro to Monaesque”

Mona Di Orio

Mona di Orio picture courtesy of Jeroen Oude Sogtoen©️

“What I really like about being impartial is that I’ve the fantastic alternative to make use of all the perfect and marvelous pure elements as I would like, with none compromise, I don’t have any temporary, no costs restrict, I’m completely free and these days it’s an unimaginable and uncommon privilege and an excellent luxurious.” –Mona Di Orio from Michelyn’s interview August 23, 2011

Mona di Orio first meeting with edmond roudnitska

Photograph of Mona di Orio with Edmond Roudnitska July 1987, the primary assembly when she was solely 18 years outdated, courtesy of her sister Bernadette di Orio©

All through this collection we now have explored the “signatures” of  perfumers, who we consider have left their indelible scent imprint that can affect perfume for generations to return.  It’s uncommon for a perfumer to put out an outline of their signature. Mona di Orio did that from the beginning. After ending her research with Edmond Roudnitska, she selected to strike out in a distinct route. She wished to design fragrance within the creative type of chiaroscuro. In visible artwork it’s outlined as “use of robust contrasts between gentle and darkish”. Many perfumers have a tendency to decide on one or the opposite by shading the alternative. Mona di Orio would see this, when utilized to perfumery, as a design problem. How do you give the sunshine and the darkish items of perfume the best steadiness? Mona di Orio completed this all through her too-short profession.

Mona Di Orio Chammare, Jabu, Lux, Nuit Noire, Oiro

Photograph of Mona Di Orio Chammare, Jabu, Lux, Nuit Noire, Oiro unique  “muselet” bottles Sandi Lundberg©

It was obvious from her earliest compositions the problem inherent in translating this course of to scent. Her first releases outlined the framework for what was to return. Within the early phases of 2006’s Carnation there’s a fleeting second the place a powdery veil overlays the spicy clove-like nature of the titular floral. Even now attempting it on reflection that corona of powder across the floral nucleus is that distinction of opposites she was in search of. Finally the stronger elements take the foreground.

This is able to additionally maintain true for the opposite two of her earliest releases, Lux and Nuit Noire. In Lux it was extra of a descent from gentle to darkish, from citrus by inexperienced into woods and resins. Within the transitions there was chiaroscuro to be discovered. Nuit Noire was a extra fascinating take as she used some energetic elements like ginger, cardamom, and cinnamon to present a lightning-like sizzle to distinction the darker elements. There’s a second earlier than they get overwhelmed by the leathery amber base accord you possibly can sense the crackle of electrical energy throughout it.

Mona di Orio Photograph by Ermano Picco©️

It will develop into totally realized within the assortment begun in 2010, Les Nombres d’Or. These earlier releases really feel like sketches main as much as her audacious conceptualization of fragrant chiaroscuro. It’s significantly clear whenever you evaluate the sooner Nuit Noire and the Les Nombres d’Or Cuir. The place the previous discovered a steadiness between power and darkish with spices and leather-based; Cuir finds a stream. As an alternative of spices it’s a single spice, sticky cardamom floating on a pool of absinthe. A wonderful furry growling leather-based accord tries to push again earlier than permitting the formation of a helix-like spiral. That is the precision of sunshine and darkish parts of chiaroscuro. Besides now a brand new factor is added. Mona di Orio provides movement. As an alternative of static steadiness it’s now placed on a carousel to please our senses.

Les Nombres de Ors

We started to understand that she had not solely cracked the code of olfactory chiaroscuro, she had imposed her personal evolution as outlined by fragrance. You discover this in each one of many Les Nombres d’Or releases. We take into account this among the many most creative collections of this century. Every of them a shining jewel. There’s one which shines brightest.

In 2011 when Les Nombres d’Or Oud was launched it stood aside. Oud had develop into a stale overused ingredient. Even Mona di Orio agreed. Michelyn interviewed her earlier in that yr and she or he stated, “The primary time I smelt a pattern of an oud important oil, I used to be not satisfied, there’s additionally many various qualities and origins, as I used to be not seduced I used to be not likely to work with it… Final yr my supplier referred to as me, he simply has obtained a brand new high quality from Laos and this time after I smelt it, I used to be completely subjugated, intoxicated… Such an aura, such a important oil, at this second I spotted deeply why this product was so mystical, intimate and secret for hundreds of years and thru many religions on the earth.

This Laotian Oud was virtually tailored for her to make use of. Her alternative because the contrasting keynote was an osmanthus absolute from China. This was additionally an ingredient with its personal aura. She must discover a approach to have them co-exist. Her alternative was to characteristic the 2 of them in live performance, all through. If you put on this fragrance these two elements kind such a compelling concord there is no such thing as a oud or osmanthus simply Oud Osmanthus. Just a few years after it was initially launched the identify was modified to that.

We miss you Mona (July 19, 1969-December 9, 2011) picture apped by Michelyn 

This brings us to her signature. All over the Les Nombres d’Or she exceeded her need for chiaroscuro with one thing extra complicated that solely fragrance may present. Describing it as a visible time period is needlessly self-limiting. Perfume has its personal vocabulary for this. We name it Monaesque.

Mark Behnke Editor of Colognoisseur and Michelyn Camen, Editor-in-Chief

all images from the model except in any other case famous

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