As most of you know, Andy Tauer and Brian Pera collaborated on a film/perfume journey – Brian’s film Woman’s Picture and Andy’s perfumes created to embody the experiences and memories of the women profiled in the film. I was going to give you a basic review of the perfume but that’s already been done (and very well, I might add) by several of the other blogs involved in the project. I can’t do it any better than it’s been done so instead, I thought I would share with you some thoughts from me and Andy, over the course of a couple of chatty emails. This post is a long’un so go grab a cup of tea and settle in..
Me (Musette) to Andy : ..I am writing my Miriam post and wanted to chat with you a bit. what I find so intriguing about Miriam is the immediate visceral response I got upon spritzing it. Given that my response was so …well,’ visceral’ really is the best word to describe it, I wanted to share my response and find out what emotions prompted you to craft this composition
She was my elegant godmother and I always imagined that she lived this life of utter ease, doted upon by my wealthy godfather, Tio Roy. There was that 40s glamour in her apartment and herself ( Coty face powder and mink stoles and those fox tippets with the scary heads. Housekeeper. Great handbags. Gloves. Always gloves. But also a bit of quiet melancholy, their chic, closed-in flat with the Foo dogs and silk drapes, a slight smell of hairspray clinging to everything . I empathized with Miriam’s connection to her mother through her perfume . Your ‘Miriam’ reconnected me to my Tia – it bridges her 40s glamour with a more modern accessibility – it’s very wearable and lovely, in a heartbreaking way.
I’m very interested in what emotions caused you to craft it thus (I know I already asked that – but it’s the premier question here). I watched the Miriam segment on the DVD and it almost stopped my heart! I could barely breathe, watching Miriam’s nearly uncontained rage, fury, despair, frustration, shame….yes, shame…at finding herself at A Certain Age, with a dead marriage, a shackling career and …..a primal relationship that has loosened its fetters and is floating away on the threads of a disintegrating brain. Was it that ineffable sense of sadness that prompted you to create a scent that whisks one back to a silken, powdered past, while reminding that those days are dust, time is not static…and every moment is a step forward into the unknown. Miriam had that same affect on me that the madeleine had on Proust.
I found Miriam to be an intensely moving fragrance and am glad I smelled it before I watched the clip, because I knew I was experiencing it on its own merits, uninfluenced by Brian’s stunningly painful film.. Obviously, you can tell that I have ‘been there, done that’, alas…:-)
I worked on a page of text for you. I hope it helps you understanding how emotions and perfume composition come together. I tried…. In a sense, I am a little bit lost whenever I need to think about perfume. Sometimes, I feel that you, Brian, any perfume lover wearing it, will understand a creation better than I do. I send you fragrant hugs and a little picture of me about 43 years ago…..Enjoy, Andy
(isn’t this photo adorable?)
These are Andy’s thoughts:
I watched the portrait of Miriam –one portrait of three in the film WOMAN’S PICTURE- for the first
time more than a year ago. I remember how I felt very compassionate and concerned. In the Miriam
movie we witness how a life starts to fall apart. I followed how, there, at this particular moment in
her life, so many roads seem to end for Miriam: A partner that is so much more talented than she is
and yet he throws his talents away, a TV job full of lies and a mother disintegrating. Miriam is losing
her mother to dementia. All this in 30 minutes is a sad cocktail, yet there is hope as she moves on
and takes her life in her hands again. That was how I felt.
For me, the most touching scene, was the scene where perfume wakens Miriam’s mother up for a
moment, pulls her out of the dark world of oblivion and brings her back for a fleeting moment.
Perfume can do this.
Miriam connects to her mother and to her own past by perfume. Imagine: Liquid in a glass container
can bring back the past. Perfume can do this. Isn’t this amazing?
I am close to 50 years old now and the older I get the easier I have tears in my eyes. I am convinced
that getting older comes with softness. When watching Miriam the first time, it touched me very
much, because it reminded me in a lot of lines in my own life. There was a time when I was sitting in
a meeting room just like Miriam had to and I too had no way but quitting my job and a good part of
my life. I remembered sitting next to my mother in the hospital and waiting for the monitor showing
me the last heart beat of my mother. I guess we all have these moments in life, where we face
complete failure, where we need to let go.
Thus, Miriam for me is a very emotional and melancholic movie. Is there something like a
melancholic fragrance? Maybe there is: A bitter sweet scent of memories. I wanted to create a
perfume that I could present as a gift to Miriam that evening, when she is home, out of her job, back
from the nursing home, alone. I imaged how this perfume must be. It is a perfume with bitter sweet
memories built in. It is a perfume promising that there is hope. I wanted it to be a perfume that links
her to her mother, that brings back memories of times gone by, but I wanted it to be a perfume that
allows her to move on, with her life.
I tried, together with Brian, to rationalize my construction, my perfume formula. Why violet leaf
absolute? Why roses? Why Sandalwood and why this and not that? I tried to explain Brian Pera and I
tried for myself to find parameters that I used to compose the perfume: Diffusiveness. Uniqueness.
Provocation. Vintage. Feminine. These parameters help to understand the formula. I shared the
composition, most of the ingredients with Brian, but the mystery of a fragrance is hidden behind its
ingredients. It is the magic that a perfume can be more than the sum of its ingredients. Perfumes are
created with intuition and composed with emotions. Perfumes surprise the intellect.
Notes for Miriam from the evelyn avenue website: bergamot, sweet orange, geranium, violet blossom, rose, jasmine, ylang, violet leaf, lavender, vanilla, orris root, sandalwood.) (the notes from Musette: a ton of Aldehydes and roses – very vintage l’Aimant, which always evokes a bit of melancholy in me). You can get purchase info on www.evelynavenue.com and www.luckyscent.com
None of this would’ve happened had Brian Pera not first embarked on his tableaux. I’m not ashamed to say there are so many aspects of Miriam that resonate with me – it may be that the Miriam character is of a similar age, in some similar straits…perhaps I was just looking for something to rip the lungs out of my body that afternoon…who knows? But between the film and the scent, it was a truly visceral experience, with both of them seamlessly supporting the other. Brian shot an interview for each blog – here is the one he did for us: click on this to be directed to the Interview
I hope this hasn’t bored the toenails off you all. I really enjoyed chatting with Andy and wanted to share this with you.
Now to the giveaway – we have 8-beautiful-8 gifts to giveaway, courtesy of Andy and Brian. Each winner will receive a sample of the beautiful, evocative Miriam and a DVD of selected interviews and shorts from the wonderful film “Woman’s Picture”. To enter….hmmm…let’s talk Emotion, shall we? What scent triggers the deepest emotions (good or bad) in you?