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

Mona Di Orio

Mona di Orio photograph courtesy of Jeroen Oude Sogtoen©️

“What I really like about being impartial is that I’ve the great alternative to make use of all one of the best and marvelous pure substances 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 awesome luxurious.” –Mona Di Orio from Michelyn’s interview August 23, 2011

Mona di Orio first meeting with edmond roudnitska

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

All through this sequence now we have explored the “signatures” of  perfumers, who we consider have left their indelible scent imprint that may 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 needed to design fragrance within the inventive fashion of chiaroscuro. In visible artwork it’s outlined as “use of sturdy 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 suitable stability? Mona di Orio achieved this all through her too-short profession.

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

Picture of Mona Di Orio Chammare, Jabu, Lux, Nuit Noire, Oiro authentic  “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 levels 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 making an attempt it on reflection that corona of powder across the floral nucleus is that distinction of opposites she was in search of. Finally the stronger substances take the foreground.

This could 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 via inexperienced into woods and resins. Within the transitions there was chiaroscuro to be discovered. Nuit Noire was a extra attention-grabbing take as she used some energetic substances like ginger, cardamom, and cinnamon to offer a lightning-like sizzle to distinction the darker features. There’s a second earlier than they get overwhelmed by the leathery amber base accord you’ll be able to sense the crackle of electrical energy throughout it.

Mona di Orio Picture by Ermano Picco©️

It might develop into absolutely 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 notably clear while you examine the sooner Nuit Noire and the Les Nombres d’Or Cuir. The place the previous discovered a stability between vitality and darkish with spices and leather-based; Cuir finds a circulation. As a substitute 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 a substitute of static stability 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 think about this among the many most inventive collections of this century. Every of them a shining jewel. There may be 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 12 months and he or she stated, “The primary time I smelt a pattern of an oud important oil, I used to be not satisfied, there may be additionally many alternative qualities and origins, as I used to be not seduced I used to be not likely to work with it… Final 12 months my supplier referred to as me, he simply has acquired a brand new high quality from Laos and this time once I smelt it, I used to be completely subjugated, intoxicated… Such an aura, such a important oil, at this second I noticed deeply why this product was so mystical, intimate and secret for 1000’s of years and thru many religions on the planet.

This Laotian Oud was nearly tailored for her to make use of. Her selection because the contrasting keynote was an osmanthus absolute from China. This was additionally an ingredient with its personal aura. She must discover a strategy to have them co-exist. Her selection was to function the 2 of them in live performance, all through. If you put on this fragrance these two substances type such a compelling concord there isn’t any oud or osmanthus simply Oud Osmanthus. A couple of years after it was initially launched the identify was modified to that.

We miss you Mona (July 19, 1969-December 9, 2011) photograph 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 photographs from the model except in any other case famous

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