viernes, marzo 22, 2019

Violet, a story to tell. E. Duse and Violette à Sydney.


    The Violet

  In Ancient Greece, Aristophanes referred to Athens as the Violet-Crowned City due to the fact that the name of Ion, the founder and later crowned king of Athens, was the equivalent of violet in Greek. Ion was leading his people to Attica and he was welcomed by water Nymphs with violets, as a symbol of their good wishes. Since that day violets became a symbol for Athens. 
The Ancient Romans considered the violet as a mourning symbol, while the Victorians, which could not publicly express love, considered purple violets to be a sign of love and the white ones a symbol of candor and innocence.
There's a Romanian legend that says that once upon a time was a beautiful girl called Viorica (Violet) whose recently widowed father remarried  a woman who didn't liked the girl. The stepmother decided to get rid of Viorica so she took the girl to the forest, leaving her in the winter`s cold. Viorica, not knowing how to get back home, fall asleep on the cold ground and froze to death. The second day, on the spot where Viorica died a small purple flower blossum - the Violet, a flower that always shows herself to the end of Winter, right before the last snow melts.
The color purple or violet was named after the purple violet. Purple is obtained by a merger between the peaceful blue and the zestful red and it's a symbol of creativity, devotion, magic, imagination, creativity, peace and pride. Often associated with spirituality due to its calming effect, purple in its normal to light nuances enhance the imagination and gives a boost to the mood, while too much violet can cause moroseness.
Violet, both flower and color, is also associated with Christianity, one of its most important meaning connects Mary to modesty, the religious name of Viola Odorata is Our Lady`s Modesty - a symbol of spiritual wisdom, humility and faithfulness.


    Who was Eleonora Duse?

   Laura Tonatto`s (now known as Tonatto) fragrance E. Duse (2005*) - a Special Limited Edition named after the Italian actress Eleonora Duse - was a a soft, delicate and gentle violet fragrance and "an olfactory interpretation of the artistic personality and humanity of the greatest actress" Eleonora Duse, a renowned actress of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th, regarded as one of the greatest actresses of all time.
Born in Vigevano, Lombardy on the 3rd of October 1858, in a family with profound artistic roots, both her father and grandfather were actors, Eleonora followed their steps at a very young age, joining the troupe at age of 4 by making her first stage appearance in the dramatic Les Misérables by Victor Hugo. At the age of 14, when was already widely recognized, she played Shakespeare`s Juliet. After her family passed away, she unsuccessfully moved from a company to another, portraying role after role, from Emile Zola`s Térèse Raquin, which won her a great acclaim, to Giovanni Verga`s Cavalleria Rusticana in the role of Santuzza. 
After watching the great Sarah Bernhardt on stage in 1882, Duse decided to step out of her classic repertoire and portray contemporary plays. After a South America tour in 1885 she returned to Italy where formed her own company - The Drama Company of the City of Rome.
She was the actress of a thousand faces - changing and methamorphosing from a role to another, always researching for a new way of playing her roles - without stage makeup, jewelry or unconventional clothing - and in a very revolutionary manner. Despite her tumultuous love life, Duse was very private, often saying "i do not exist" as a person, "an actor vanishes without a trace". 
Due to health problems she quits the stage in 1909, and returns in 1921. During the break, in 1916 she made a film called Cenere (Ashes) which was a big disappointment as there was "nothing, or almost nothing" of her "in that film". She inspired and helped many actors in becoming, one of them was Constantin Stanislavsky, who worked on a method of acting inspired by Duse`s genius that lead him to found the Moscow Art Theater in 1897.
Duse was the first woman (and besides foreigner) to be featured on the cover of Times on the 30th of July of 1923
She died of pneumonia at 65 in Pittsburgh, her body being returned four days later to Italy and buried in Asolo.


Source: Laura Tonatto old website. 

     E. Duse by Laura Tonatto 

  Duse`s adoration for violets was well known among her wide circle of friends and acquaintances. She wore a violet fragrant water ordered from Harrods in London, slept with sprinkled violets on her bed and often was gifting bouquets of violets to her friends. According to Helen Sheehy in Eleonora Duse: A Biography, Duse set violets as a symbol of awakening and, in a letter, from Stockholm in 1896, to her lover, the writer Gabriele D`Annunzio, she wrote: "I found some violets under the snow, living, LIVING, and tranquil, as if they were in a greenhouse."
E. Duse was created by Laura Tonatto with Art Historian Alessandra Marini. The main note of E. Duse is of course Viola Odorata, the Victoria variety, grown in in Grasse since 1875, the same used to produce the fragrant water she so much adored. There are other subtle flowers that play around the violet and add a slightly candied tone with an intense woody base created mostly from the violet leaves. The fragrance is sensually clouded by a powdery background and an ancient ambery shadow that evokes Duse`s figure in the picture. There is a certain old fashioned or classic style in E. Duse that trasports its wearer to the La Belle Époque era, on a velvety seat in an old theater watching Eleonora giving her best in an Alexandre Dumas play. (From a small decant heartily gifted by a friend.) 

     Violette à Sydney by Laura Tonatto 


   E. Duse was reissued in 2013 under the name of Violette à Sydney, a fragrance that follows its predecesor`s steps to almost being the same. A different story lays as inspiration for this Violette - a magic bay and, according to Laura, one of the most beautiful cities in the world - Sidney, the city where always someone is coming or going. 
Violette à Sydney has a clean and almost vegetal iris opening that mimics at its best the Parma Violets scent. A powdery mimosa delicately embraces the herbal side of the iris with a woody setting and touches of a soothing and comfortable vanilla. 

    Conclusion
  
 Both, E. Duse and Violette à Sydney, are clean, fresh and powdery smelling fragrances that give a complex feeling of warmth and intimacy in their most simple and approachable way. 
While E. Duse takes me back to the golden era, making me live the magic of La Belle Époque, Violette à Sydney holds me tight to the present only dreaming of those glorious times. Now i understand what Gil must have felt during his midnight trips in Paris. Should i go or should I stay? 



* i couldn't find any information about the precise year of E. Duse`s launch. 

Sources: Wikipedia, Eleonora Duse: A Biography by Helen Sheehy, comenius-legends.blogspot.com. 


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