‘Io sono L’ amore’, or ‘I am love’, is the self-consciously, meticulously rapturous film by Italian film director Luca Guadagnino that had the art house cinema crowd in a flutter a few years ago:  the ‘must-see’, gorgeously romantic, ‘exquisitely crafted’ work of the season that had the critics, and some of my friends, swooning, and foaming, at the gills.




The story of an aristocratic Milanese Russian emigrée, played by the redoubtable Tilda Swinton (acted in Italian, with a slight Russian accent; no mean feat), this is the story of a pale and beautiful, yet strangely unpresent woman, the matriarch and bedrock of her family, lost in her own numb, unregimented life, who comes gradually undone, erotically and socially, at the hands of a brilliant young chef.


A friend of her son’s, the handsome man’s independence, artistry, naturalness and almost guileless, masculine simplicity stand in such contrast to the glassed and gilded cage she finds herself in on a day to day basis that she surrenders, perhaps inevitably, to a honey-lensed, edenic ecstacy of eroticism in his hillside flower garden; making love in the guiltless Italian outdoors as butterflies flit above their skin and fronds and eyelashes bat with sunlight;  nature; desire. A latter day Lady Chatterly cleaving to her young, bearded lover in a delectable, unfettered paradise that is aeons away from the gendered rigmarole of her life in the family home.







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I was assured I would like this film;  no – I would LOVE IT:  it was totally up my street ( am I that predictable? probably ),  but I am never very good at being willed, or expected, or worse, told to love something – I always buck against it in childish rebellion or else find it can’t possibly meet my expectations – and in all honesty, though the film had an undeniably gorgeous sheen and the production and set design were certainly easy on the eye, ultimately I have to say that it left me cold, and Duncan too actually (and, incidentally, Nina also, the one who had sent it to me in the first place – not because she particularly liked it herself, just for the cinematic, indulgent, hell of it.)






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In any case I was completely unmoved, to the point of irritation, almost;  the scenes of gustatory sensuality ( she is seduced, in the beginning, by his food)  seeming too obvious, somehow – the swiftness of her adultery too much of an improbability. It was all just too……..perfect. Too earnest and wilfull, or simply just not my personal cup of colour-drenched, lurid tea.




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Mona Di Orio’s Vanille, a very well regarded vanilla perfume, had also been highly recommended by everyone and anyone who likes vanilla scents: a new departure; divine; the only vanilla I can wear; the best vanilla of all time, you have to try it you have to try it and so on and so forth, and so I was intrigued, to say the least, by this hugely heralded vanillic masterpiece, from the equally posthumously fêted Nombres D’Or collection, quite desperate to smell it, and I must say that the first laying of this delicate, gold-dusted scent on my skin elicited a small exhalation of pleasure, an ahh….ah yes I see.  Another of her ‘difficult’ perfumes, une vanille compliquée.




Original? Certainly. A sensitive, emotional perfume (like many of the late perfumer’s creations), most definitely, but like the film, so delicately, painstakingly crafted – it didn’t move me at all personally.




A feeling of appreciation for its skill, certainly, and integrity, yes, but not something to touch the Narcissus’s cold, critical heart in reality.





So there you have it.







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But I am afraid that now I have to retract what I have written above.








One Saturday morning, for no apparent reason, I suddenly felt an inexplicable urge to watch ‘I Am Love again’.




Even though I had hated it.




And this time……






Wow, it seared right through me,  this time, like the love-filled adrenaline of the characters in the film.





I was RAPT.





As I write this I am playing the soundtrack,  on loop,  and my heart is beating faster as a result: I am feeling heightened, alive, even on this gloomy, rainy Friday.




The blurb on the DVD case, and my friends, had told me, I would be breathless, and I was:  in tears, actually.




The film, and the perfume too, in truth, are actually really really quite beautiful. I just needed time (and a big enough sample to try it properly- thanks, Jasmine) to come to this realization.






Where I had initially found the film to be too obviously in ‘good taste’,  with nothing left to chance, on second viewing, to my surprise, I fell in love; with the house the family lives in and its surroundings (exquisite! ),  the exhilarating soundtrack by English composer John Adams; the kinetic propulsion that runs through the film, and the sense of exciting liberation, as both mother and daughter release themselves from the patriarchal chains that have been binding the family for generations.





































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The perfume, also, on repeated wearings, really stands up;  it is a very sensitive, and poetic creation that seems to contain a story: I may be stretching the film/perfume analogy a little (though I don’t think so; I can feel it ),  but Vanille struck me,  as I rewatched the film,  as having several affinities with Tilda Swinton’s character, Emma Recchi.






On the surface she is composed, refined, brittle: almost burnished, like the peppery, protracted petitgrain and bitter orange top accord in the perfume; the aristocratic mellow of ylang-laced rhum, as she graciously hosts the grand family celebration at the beginning of the film (carrying obvious echoes of Visconti’s Götterdämmerung):  a liquid, ambery gold that flows under the citruses and spices like meniscus.





This stage of the scent, which I really like, has an almost palpably nervous sense to it; a refined heart that is clearly ‘thoughtful’ (unusual in a vanilla perfume, where comfort and/or seduction are usually key);  a lightly cloved vetiver giving further, grounding, dignified resonance ( a word that also, applies equally and strongly to both Tilda Swinton and Mona Di Orio herself). .






And yet. We sense the warmth and sexuality that is suppressed, about to spill over, and this is the rich, sweet, mellifluous extract of true Madagascar vanilla beating in the heart of the perfume that, like Emma, is waiting unconsciously to be released.
































The guaic wood and sandalwood  ( probably the main protagonist in the perfume, I would say)  provide some brakes on fully fledged abandonment, but once she does let go, and fully embraces her lover, Emma efflulges,  and blooms,  and sheds her restraining skins of politesse and hardness, revealing her inner self.





The vanilla that finally emerges from her, then,  is of obviously high quality, quite sweet, quite tenacious – I could still smell it on my skin the next morning, and this combination of deep sensuality and refracted refinement could be truly beautiful on the right person whose skin was predestinated to unlock its secrets : I would love to have a friend or colleague who wore this scent; the connections such a scent  could create in others’ minds –  beautiful, but mysterious, are what perfumery is all about.
















Mona Di Orio Vanille is not a scent I could wear myself. I do not really like sandalwood, especially in conjunction with vanilla, and that beginning, though ingenious, is not what I personally like to have in a vanilla perfume ( I prefer simplicity ). At the same time, like the film which I have come to really love  (it is destined, I think, to become one of ‘my films’, those I suddenly crave as much as a person craves food),  I have come to realize that this perfume is raved about for good reason.








It has delicacy. It has soul. And,  like the film by Luca Guadagnino, it is primarily an affecting, and voluptuously executed, elegant work of heartfelt, contemporary art.









































Filed under Flowers, Vanilla

63 responses to “I AM LOVE : : : : : MONA DI ORIO VANILLE (2011)

  1. Cath

    Neil, Neil, Neil.
    My dear friend.
    Why do you always manage to seduce me with your words. By seducing I mean of course, into the world of perfume and movies/music, into wanting to look hours online trying to get my hands on a sample, into willingness to spend money…
    You are a true seducer.
    I love you for it, even though the reasonable part of me would disagree.

  2. It’s fascinating to me to read this and see my own progression with this perfume made articulate. Now it’s possibly my favorite scent and yet I don’t wear it that often. It seems to demand a level of attention that I don’t typically give to my daytime scents. And yet I feel rich every time I look at the bottle and know that I can wear it again as soon as I have a little free time. And you have summed it up perfectly; amid my other comfort vanillas and sexy vanillas, this is a contemplative vanilla, almost a mystical scent for me. It’s a great pleasure to read your experience with it

    • I feel relieved not to have done it a disservice, that our experiences chime. I think this one must smell best on a woman, somehow. It isn’t feminine, exactly, but there is some kind of delicacy that I at least don’t have: it is certainly a fully realized scent, and that quality is rarer than people perhaps realize.

      • Far from a disservice! You honestly and fluently expressed your experience with it, and that’s why I read your blog. One thing I do have a problem with on some perfume blogs is the neverending niceness about any and all perfumes, as if they were all equally good if we just looked for their positive qualities. My response is, if that were true, why do most of us have large stockpiles of “reject”samples and bottles that we haven’t touched for years? Honest thought about why we don’t like the things that we don’t like seems to me to be more productive in the long run. We can be upfront about the fact that our opinions are subjective, but is there any reason why we can’t express our opinions? And when you are critical, you’re so thoughtful about it that I always learn something, even if the scent under critique is one that I love.

      • I definitely agree about full honesty, otherwise there really is no point.

  3. Tora

    I was so sad at first when you did not like the film…then Whew! I was so swept away by the juxtaposition of cool and hot in Tilda’s character. I wanted to be her. I wanted to be taken away to the realm of senses by that young man. A great fantasy for a family woman! Ah. As for the Mona di Orio, I had trouble with it. In a very small dose, I found it beguiling. The next day, with a large spritz, it was so unpleasant. I do want to someday try it again, just to give it another chance. I am so happy to have read this beautiful review!!! Thank you, Neil.

    • Thanks for reading it!

      Actually, I can imagine in large spritzes this could be sickly, as there is just too much going on. I was given a little sample bottle that releases just the right amount…I also found it kept morphing and smelling different each time.

      I wonder what other experiences people have had with this perfume.

  4. Dearest Ginza
    As I reached the conclusion of your initial dissection of the film I thought there might be fisticuffs between us.
    You see I’m afraid you can’t have I Am Love as one of your films as it is already one of mine and Emma has already been faithful once which can be excused as misfortune, but twice well… we know where that line ends.
    This film occupied a big part of The Dandy’s mind, no being, for quite some time after I first saw it and I was forced to return to the cinema for a second viewing in attempt to resolve my emotional response to it.
    I can, sort of, understand why the apparent over-perfection of the production might irritate – it is a quality that grates with me in A Single Man (an over extended commercial for happiness crafted out of a literary work which seems to be about coming to terms with melancholy), but here I feel quite strongly that the force of the film is magnified by the way in which its own apparent flawlessness mirrors and amplifies that of Emma and her family’s life and in essence ends as a commentary on both cinema and character.
    I shall stop now for fear of exploding a pouff of critical prension, but just to say I’m very glad you changed your mind and your heart about this.
    As to the perfume when sandalwood meets vanilla The Dandy normaly scarpers.
    Yours ever
    The Perfumed Dandy

    • PS Please excuse typos I am still in state of IT digrace and therefore just muddling through.

    • We think similarly. I HATED A Single Man with a passion, and for exactly the same reasons you mention. HATE HATE HATE!

      Amore initially just seemed too….’exquisite’, if you know what I mean. And yet it actually IS exquisite; there is something so pure and palpitating about it, and you are right in what you say about Emma and how the flawlessness reflects everything around her; very interesting and not pretentious at all.

      I just wish I had seen it in the cinema. It must have been overwhelming. That music…..

      • jennyredhen

        Why did you hate a single man?? I saw it at the movies and again on TV.. It is much better on the big screen. I think I remember the Sound track was pretty good??? Tilda swanson once again played a 1 dimensional character. There was no development of who she actually was. She was very beautiful but very irritating The whole movie was quite stunted and stilted and very stylised.. Wasnt it directed or produced or something by Tom Ford and he is a fashion designer??? not a movie maker..

      • A Single Man, for me, is made by what I call a B-Grader. I probably shouldn’t say anything more about that, as it will out me for the arrogant f*** that I actually am, but it essentially means someone who sticks to all the rules of ‘good taste’ in aesthetics, and comes up with something completely dull. And obvious.

      • jennyredhen

        What you say about good taste and aesthetics is very interesting… I thought A Single man Was the epitomy of all that extremely.. well styled … Maybe you get enough of that in Japan whereas out here in the antipodean colonies we could be a bit starved for imammaculate good taste… shallow and all as it is. The one thing that I took from that movie apart from the perfect hair dos, cars and twin sets… was the fact that that guy couldnt go to his gay lovers funeral because the family of the dead man hadnt accepted he was gay…. How sad is that??? I had never thought of that before.

  5. Hey buddy,
    What a wonderful and intense review. Interesting that you feel about Vanille that it is a little up tight/unwearable at the beginning but I suppose it’s the confluence of flavours you don’t love together. I’m glad to have read your review and love the way you write, so grand and clever.
    Portia xx

  6. I’ve been meaning to reply to this post for ages, so please forgive me for not being more prompt, my dear Neil. I know how much you adore vanilla, so I was stunned that you didn’t like the MdO at first, then not so surprised when you eventually started to appreciate more of it. It’s definitely an unusual vanilla, I think.

    I’m not a vanilla fan, and I didn’t like it, I must say. There was almost a buttery nuance to the vanilla extract paste that I found extremely repellent and which… well, I’ll spare you a summary of my review. But I’m probably biased because vanilla and I don’t often see eye to eye, and I know a lot of people (including those who normally hate vanilla) love this perfume. Still, it makes me feel a bit better to know that even a hardcore vanilla lover struggled a little with this perfume.

    • I also read your review (twice) and agree with your assessment, the clarified butter and all: at certain points it becomes discomfiting, especially on me.

      But I was thinking the whole time more of how it might smell on other people: on cooler skin, on a more cerebrally distant person than myself I can imagine it being magical .

      • Oh God, you also got the clarified butter?? *shudder* You have my deepest sympathies.

        Can you explain a little more what you mean by “cooler skin”? I’m not sure I’ve ever entertained the thought of hot and cold skin types, though it sounds quite possible now that you mention it. But wouldn’t it really depend on the note in question?

        Also, I’ve got skin which amplifies base notes and, while that could possibly make me warm skinned (since base molecules are larger, heavier, and usually stronger), I would never think of something like white musk (a typical base note) as a warm note. So, I’m confused. And I’m theoretizing myself into a pretzel. LOL. But I love this whole train of thought, so tell me how you see it! 🙂

      • I wrote it without even thinking about it, I reckon.

        You are right: it doesn’t make sense, as in purely temperature terms I am definitely cold skinned; where others are boiling in hot temperatures I am not: it is amusing to touch Duncan’s arm and then mine in that situation as there is a very vivid difference.

        In terms of perfume though I think I am warm-skinned; top notes evaporate, and like you, I REALLY bring out the base notes, which last a long time.

        There are some people, women especially, who have porcelain like skin that bring out the hidden delicacy of a fragrance, where the top notes last longer, and where the base notes remain concealed. Helen, for example. Apres L’Ondee on her; utter perfection – so beguiling, anisic, impressionistic. On me – foul musk. Likewise, Chanel No 19 parfum, which we both love, is on Helen a really green, light, slim affair. On me it is a deeply elegant vetiver leather.

        And so I think that the Mona di Orio would work better, somehow, on the cold-skinned type. More gilded; delicate, magical. You and I get the clammy vanilla; I reckon on lots of people it would be anything but, the pods concealed, more immutable.

  7. What a beautiful review of both the movie (which has been on my watch list for ages) and the perfume (which I quite like). Isn’t it funny how other people’s raves can influence us in the opposite way? For example, I recently went to the Krigler boutique with my mom, who is in town. The SA was very insistent that I try the three “most popular” ones. Why would I want the most popular ones insisting that I would love them because everyone loves them. Would not wear them. At all.

    Did find some very lovely UNPOPULAR ones I would wear and am currently coveting though 🙂

    • You are clearly as diffident as I am, Daisy!

      As for the film, surely as a food-maniac you would love it. This is a VERY sensual film, but I won’t try and persuade you like it as otherwise the opposite reaction is likely.

      I was very irritated by it the first time, though, so would love to hear your reactions.

  8. I can’t reply to your comment in the appropriate place, my dear, so forgive me for posting it here. I suspect you’re absolutely right about the porcelain skins and how they may extend or emphasize the top notes, as compared to what our skins do.

    I’m fascinated now by your friend Helen’s skin and Apres L’Ondée on her skin, but even more so, how an animalistic, musky, resinous, labdanum scent would be on her. Would her skin be too delicately “gilded” (such a beautiful description) to take the spicy mix or would it turn the animalistic tendencies into something ghastly? Wouldn’t it be amazing to have all 3 of us try the same fragrance (like Cuir Mauresque, for example, with its leather, florals, and powder) and compare notes? On me, it’s a gorgeously sexy, almost classique, sex appeal type fragrance that is mostly indolic florals with some musky leather and powder, but I bet on a skin like hers, it would be the “dirty” thing that some people complain about and hate. Anyway, thanks for putting up with my intellectual meanderings about skin chemistry. Between that and my new fascination with temperature controls on perfume notes, I’m becoming a bit pedantic. LOL. 😛

    • No I love it.

      Labdanum and Helen: unthinkable. All ambers smell laughable, rubbish, although when I think about it, for some reason Caron Tabac Blond smelled remarkable. Truly enigmatic.

      As for Cuir Mauresque, you know I actually mistakenly bought a bottle of that in Paris, along with Sarrasins (idiot! Neither of them are acceptable on me; I should have bought something else..)

      The Mauresque I just never really understand. It just smells so weird. I have worn it, but it never morphs into anything I want to smell like. Have you written a full length review of it ?

      I might have to reread and reinspire and retry.

      • Heh, your friend, Helen, sounds like Lucas, the blogger, who hates anything even remotely heavy. I think the words “myrrh” or “labdanum” can actually make him shiver. In contrast, his beloved aldehydes, soap, clean freshness, and powdery iris make me want to run a mile away.

        I luuuurrrrve Cuir Mauresque! LOL! It’s really a very classique scent on my skin, no dirtiness at all. It was actually going to be my next full bottle of perfume, but I somehow got sidetracked by a renewed obsession with Coromandel which blooms gloriously in the heat here! If I weren’t intent on that right now and if the shipping didn’t render things so ludicrous, I’d buy the Cuir Mauresque and, probably, the Sarrasins off you.

        I must say, I don’t see you as a Cuir Mauresque guy, even if it did manifest itself on your skin as it did on mine. (And I doubt that it did.) Now, I have to go hunt up your review for the CdG Patchouli Luxe. Patchouli with celery…. gah!

  9. I am revisiting my sample of the afore mentioned fragrance, inspired by your beautiful post. This film left me rather emotionally unengaged while I admired it’s beauty and the craft with which it was made. I think the same of the perfume……..

  10. Tora

    When you first said you were unmoved by this movie, I was bereft. I found it to be so erotic, so damn good, and so erotic. I thought, well it must be a film that appeals to women. The seduction was so real, so palpable. And then, thank god, you recanted your disinterest. I cannot tell you how badly my skin wanted to be her skin.

    MDO Vanille. Hmm. Not what I would have associated with this movie. But I get the parallels, now that you point them out. I love your view of one of my “this is serious” vanillas. And sometimes, I don’t even understand what that perfume is all about. It is just crazy sultry.

    I am so fucking grateful that you are in the world.

  11. jennyredhen

    That movie was a load of over done over blown piffling crap,.There were too many pregnant pauses and long suffering glances… the sex scene complete with butterfies , honey bees and full orchestra was comical. The only saving graces were the the lushness of the clothes and the settings as well as Tildas stunning beauty…. but the storyline… oh my dear… I think that sense of unfufilled female desire, longing for Romance and general female fustration that permeates Japanese society has finally got to you When I was watching I am love I felt embarrassed that a woman could be so vaccuous and stupid.. She was like a shell… Completely dominated by men and she broke out by screwing her sons friend .. she went running to another man .. but was still a shelland ended up going nuts Where was the development of her personality? Have you heard of the bechdell test…. to pass it a movie has to have at least 2 women in it, they have to talk to each other and talk about something other than a man… most movies fail it…I am love doesnt pass any of those tests its about a woman completely obsessed with and dominated by men. Tilda in I am love is the antithesis if the modern woman… its a joke ..

    • jennyredhen

      Screwing your sons friend is pretty trashy.. it crosses a few boundaries. How would the son feel… “my mother slept with my friend”… this scenario does not have a happy ending.

      • I mean it’s not incest…..

      • jennyredhen

        If you want to see a movie about Women screwing their sons friends… try Adore starring Robin Wright and Naomi Watts. The reviews are fairly patchy. The people that hate it seem to hate it on moral grounds. I dont think Tilda Swinton should score brownie points for being seduced by or for seducing her sons friend as young men that age will screw anything!!!

      • I almost went to see that, actually, and bad reviews (and I am not just being obstinate or perverse for the sake of it) quite often mean that I will like a film.

        It does look a bit naff, though.

      • Also, my particular cinematic soul always values aesthetics massively above story and conventional morality. I can get stories and truck loads of moralizing from the newspapers and daily life. In a film I just want to be mesmerized. And the second time I saw I Am Love, I really was.

        But cinema is always completely personal, and there is no use arguing over it. One man’s The King Speech (I HATE that film) is another’s Black Swan.

      • jennyredhen

        What I am getting at is most movies cast women as imbecilic side kicks to men and who usually have no lives outside of what men provide for them or have allowed them to have. I am Love completely reinforced all those stereotypes . the main character just ran maniacally from one man to anothe.. instead of using her brains to get out of her situation.. Martin Scorsese is the worst at portraying women as morons.
        Healthy debate on any topic ( especially movies) is to be encouraged. .

      • I totally agree, which is why I love it when women are portrayed interestingly (like in Jane Campion’s In The Cut, which I adore, but which everyone else seems to hate).

        Or even Bridesmaids…simply because I loved the main woman being…well, the main character. The ending, though…I imagine it must have got your goat.

    • An interesting take. I don’t believe in any kind of ‘test’ that a film has to pass, but I can understand exactly what you are getting at.

      A yearning for romance, though, and seduction, are surely part of all of us, no? And he was so sweet and primally innocent, somehow, that I didn’t feel that it tipped into the usual cliches.

      The first time I also found the butterflies somewhat ludicrous (as one might watching Jane Campion’s Bright Star, another film I adore to death, as I love anything by Campion). I think you have to be in the right mood.

      • jennyredhen

        I have never watched that movie. I am put off by the name Bridesmaids as the concept of hand maidens waiting on a woman who is virginally about to be handed from one man to another is quite repugnant to me…
        However I believe it is very funny and now I am tempted to watch it… It is mid winter here after all and we are all consenting adults!

  12. I commented extensively when you first posted this and should probably limit the amount of air time that I use now, but must say that I am impressed all over again by how, without liking one of my favorite perfumes, you totally and completely got it.

  13. jennyredhen

    point taken about the longing for romance and seduction.

  14. I adore Tilda Swinton. The movie sounds intriguing and I definitely want to see it.
    That said, I love MdO Vanille so I’m glad to see you came around to loving it.

    • Definitely see this film. With the volume turned up, and with no distractions.

      Please report back when you have seen it!

      As you can see, it stirs up people in a certain way, and in that regard alone it must surely be seen to have succeeded.

  15. I remenber like if it was yesterday, when I saw I am love for the first time on screen. I was expected to be seduced, but what i felt at the end of the screening was really unexpected, for the usually difficult viewer that I am.
    “I am love” is a rise, the film makes you experience it. There is a tension, during the whole movie, making you feel something is more and more imminent but it’s not suspense.
    It could be a classical story about a trophy housewife, leaving her husband for some wild guy. But, the story is about her own revelation, she’s not becoming someone else for her lover, and she’s not becoming back who she was before her husband. She discovers who she is, and realize, maybe, the one she loves is love, herself and those abble to feel it. The movie’s title declares its mysticism.
    When i left the cinema after the movie, like after every good movie I felt surprised, excited and lost ( in a good way). It’s a generous film.

    I love the diptychs you creates between films and perfums ( like solaris), your combinations have an unseen and secret power, such as haïkus! Bravo!
    Have you seen “Lady Chatterley” (wins a César in 2006) by Pascale Ferran? More recently , in a very different set (Roissy Airport) but by the same french director:”Bird People”. Less glamour and more rough than L.Guadagnino, Pascale Ferran’s concerns could be self revelation too, recognation, communication and humanity, a nice schedule!

    • I like the sound of these films and your feelings about I Am Love: there is something glorious and unexplored in the link between perfume and film (if there even is one….I don’t know…there is for me personally) and I love delving into it.

  16. jennyredhen

    .” I Am Love” and “A Single man” were shown here as part of the 2010 International Film festival… They were both trumpeted as “must See’s” however the best movie in that Film Festival was a little movie called “Herb and Dorothy.”
    “Herb and Dorothy’ tells the extraordinary story of Herbert Vogel, a postal worker, and Dorothy Vogel, a librarian, who managed to build one of the most important contemporary art collections in history with very modest means. In the early 1960s, when very little attention was paid to Minimalist and Conceptual Art, Herb and Dorothy Vogel quietly began purchasing the works of unknown artists. Living only on Dorothy’s modest income, the Vogels devoted all of Herb’s salary to purchasing art. “Sasaki’s documentary really shines when she gives centre stage to the greateful artists whom they helped nurture” – Time Out

    These 2 people lived frugally in New York, ate TV dinners, didnt travel overseas, They attended all the new artists openings …and only bought art they could carry home on the Subway.They stored the art under their beds, in the hallway and around the walls of their tiny flat until eventually there was no more room . their beds were up to the ceilings and you couldnt move . So they decided to gift their Art collection to the United States National Art Gallery. It was worth millions If you want to see a truly inspirational movie see that one!!!

    • I almost did, actually. Saw the poster in Tokyo.

      But as I said, inspiration for me doesn’t come from the moral content or story but from the images and atmosphere. Which is why I adore Brian de Palma and Dario Argento, directors I imagine you might detest.

      • jennyredhen

        Havent seen any Brian de Palma …Julie Salamon has written “many critics argued that De Palma dressed up his woman-hating wickedness so artfully that the intelligentsia didn’t see him for what he was: a perverse misogynist.” David Thomson wrote in his entry for De Palma, “There is a self-conscious cunning in De Palma’s work, ready to control everything except his own cruelty and indifference”. He has been married and divorced three times Two of his marriages lasted two years and the first marriage lasted four years.. ,Its not sounding very good…Ther’es enough misogynism in the world without going to see it at the movies… so I think I will be giving him a miss. Not familiar with Dario Argento either but I do like Sergio Leone..

        Re “Adore”. being naff.. Its very Australian which is always interesting I thought Robin Wright was a bit uneasy in her role… It has been described as “good trash” I saw it on the plane going to Japan… Reminded me of a book I read by Ian Winton an Australian author which was on a similar topic .. cant remember the name of it.. must be all those sun bronzed surfers running around getting the middle aged ladies wound up.,

  17. Absolutely glorious movie, so pleased it turned into a positive for you; Tilda was magnificent in it. The fragrance sounds glorious also. I really should branch out and try some of the more popular nich fragrance houses, Mona di Orio being one that sounds interesting.
    Saw Cuir Mauresque mentioned in the comments, absolutely heavenly on me, I just adored it; one of these days I will invest in a full bottle of it.

    • I don’t know: The Mona Vanille is a strange thing…as I said, I wasn’t sure about it at first, but it is certainly quite interesting, smoldering…

      • Smoldering…now that makes me really want to experience it. I have grown weary of all my heavy aldehydic scents and want something different, smoldering is definitely a harbinger of something different.

      • Definitely try a sample of it if you like sandalwood. It is a niche perfume with definite soul I would say.

  18. Ana Maria Andreiu

    So strange! I wore Vanille today for the first time, and while I enjoyed it, didn’t truly love it. It feels bizarre to get a notification in my inbox about your post on Vanille on the very day I put it on my skin. Serendipity, right? Love “I am love” but it grew slowly on me. Same as in your case. One perfume that reminded me of the movie was Romanza by Masque Fragranze, a work of refined wilderness which feels so incredibly, heart-searingly alive.

    • I think I read about that one recently – echoes of Bal A Versailles and the like. ‘Heart-searingly alive’? I will have to smell it for sure.

      • Ana Maria Andreiu

        I don’t know Bal a Versailles intimately enough to make such comparison but Romanza has indeed a golden muskiness, a soft animalism folded into layers of verdant, earthy narcissus. One of the many aspects of the fragrance. I was thinking rain soaked black earth, spring flowers, crushed leaves and grass, hay, linden blossoms tea, jasmine, woody-ambery drydown. Quite complex but very vibrant.

  19. Nelleke Oepkes aka Booknose

    Thanks for rocking the boat again. TI did not know or see this film. I mailed this to a friend who appreciates beauty in food as well as in pictures.
    Is Gotterdammerung the same as the Damned?
    What perfume for Helmut Berger? Black Widow Orchid? Which or wich scent fot Ingrid Thulin? Wilted watery flower stems? And is Bogarde earth and musk?
    You got me going on the combination of senses; to me they are family. When I read I see images, even movies and I eat when I smell …

  20. carole

    Holy cow. Just read your post, and the responses. Yu blow me away. i love how you linked the perfume to a movie, and then revisited both, and came to a different conclusion. I watched I am Love at Christmas time, in 2010. It was a horrible Christmas, and having a sumptuous movie like this calmed my nerves. As for the Mona scents I’m new to them. i have a small, elegant bottle of Suede de Suede, curtesy of Etiket in Montreal. It’s fantastic. I love cloudberry, which grows around here and in Newfoundland and in Sweden. It’s this sunny sweet golden smell-and it only grows in certain parts of the world. To use it in a perfume is genius. This lead me to purchase Mona’s Musc scent, which I adore, and I don’t normally wear must ( remember in A handful Of Dust, the little boy loves the wild lady’s must perfume? He thinks she smells heavenly, and the other women think she smells awful!). This is a soft tender musc-a personal scent. And I wish someone around me would wear it. I love smelling familiar perfumes on someone else’s skin. It has aspects of L’here blue, L’eau Chaud, and Annick Gout’s Musc Nomade. Straight up Vanilla scents aren’t normally my thing but based on your review and my experiences I’ll give it a whirl.

    Best regards,


    • Thanks for this. I love the sound of Suede De Suede (and LOVE A Handful Of Dust: that film is just so melancholically perfect). I suppose I just had to repost a piece about a perfume that DOES contain sensitivity in contrast with the previous one!

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