A meeting with Mona di Orio


15th May, 2006

Earlier this year, Basenotes had the good fortune to meet with Mona di Orio while she was in London.

Mona di Orio - the person

Mona di Orio has had an interest in perfume since she was very young. Her family had many fragrances and as a child she would attempt to create her own using an empty wine bottle filled with rose petals and lemons. Di Orio's interest did not wane, and for her sixteenth birthday her father built her a simple perfumer's organ - a device which contains flacons of the many different raw materials used to create perfume.

Di Orio's ambition was to train in Grasse, but without any family in the business and no connections she was turned away. Undeterred she continued teaching herself with the aid of the books of Edmond Roudnitska - a world class perfumer, who created masterpieces such as Eau Sauvage and Diorissimo.

She decided to write to Roudnitska. Some of his books were now out of print and she wondered if he could help her complete her collection. Her friends told her she was naive to expect a reply as "he was getting old and was too busy".

Her friends were wrong. Not only did Roudnitska send Mona all of his books, but also an invite to meet him. This would be the start of their friendship.

Over the next three years they kept in contact by telephone and in 1986, Roudnitska invited Mona to continue her tuition in Roudnitska's laboratory where she was taught how to recognise the best raw materials. After Roudnitska's death in 1996 Mona continued to work at the laboratory at the request of his wife.

Mona di Orio - the brand.

Fast forward about ten years and after meeting with Dutch fashion designer, Jeroen Oude Sogtoen - now her business partner - the house of Mona di Orio is born.

Mona's first range consists of three fragrances. Lux, Carnation and Nuit Noire (which I am wearing as I type). Each is housed in a chunky square bottle with the cap of a Champagne Muselet from the Champagne House of Jaquesson.

Lux is the Latin word for light, and the fragrance is in the citrus style, but is by no means light and fleeting. It contains notes of Lemon Sicilia, Sandalwood and Vanilla. Originally created as her own personal perfume, and dedicated to Roudnitska.

Carnation contians notes of Bergamot, Violet, Jasmin and Amber; and is a powdery-floral perfume.

Nuit Noire was inspired by Serge Lutens, who di Orio met several years ago. An oriental style fragrance with notes of Cardamom, Ginger, Cinnamon, Sandalwood, Clove, Amber and Tonka.

The three fragrances are available from Les Senteurs [London], Aedes de Venustas [New York], The Perfume Shoppe [Canada], Cosmeticary [Brussels], Taizo [Cannes], Skins [Netherlands], Cow Parfymeri [Stockholm].

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About the author: Grant Osborne

Grant Osborne is the founder and editor of Basenotes. Grant has two children, and a dependence on tea, haribo and bacon.

Website: http://www.grantosborne.com

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Comments

    • tigrushka | 15th May 2006 15:15

      Thanks for this lovely article, Grant!

      I've been interested in her scents since reading Donna's raves of Nuit Noire... I quick-sniffed all three scents on cards in Brussels in February and ordered samples of Carnation and Nuit Noire last week to test them on my skin.

      She's beautiful, btw: looks like a star of the silent screen!

    • ikkitosennomusha | 15th May 2006 18:15

      I agree Tigs, she is a hot babe, very classy and elegant! I wonder if her fragrances refelct her soft, supple portrait? Maybe you can do a review Tigs. Great write-up Grant, I enjoyed the article!

    • tigrushka | 15th May 2006 18:18

      I hope to get the samples this week so can test them and possibly even scribble a few words about them during the weekend... [smiley=happy.gif]

    • castorpollux | 15th May 2006 20:39

      Thanks for the article! Gives us hope that there are people out there that won't take no for an answer that if you percevere, you get good results.

      I also thought she was very attractive! Love her nose, please never ever change it! it might damage your sense of smell! (well not reallybut still!)

    • Grant (article author) | 16th May 2006 07:53

      [quote=castorpollux]Thanks for the article! Gives us hope that there are people out there that won't take no for an answer that if you percevere, you get good results.

      I also thought she was very attractive! Love her nose, please never ever change it! it might damage your sense of smell! (well not reallybut still!) [/quote]

      Her story is an inspiration to us all. Just goes to show that if you want something and work hard enough you can achieve your goals.

      Jeroen - the brand designer is a great guy too - and a big fan of Basenotes!