Valentine's Day might seem rather corny to you (and to me): after all, isn't the point in celebrating love every day? But the pleasure-factor of watching a romantic film hand in hand with your loved one, silently hunched onto each other in a dark theater or at the abode of one's home and enjoying an accompanying fragrance shouldn't be shunned due to such esthete concepts as mentioned above. It gives us a wonderful excuse to indulge into a little cinematic game, of which Perfume Shrine never tires. Hopefully, neither have you, dear readers.
So, without further ado, here is what I came up with for today: Let's pick some trully romantic movies, watch the clips I selected and match the mood they exude with a perfume to wear. Shall we?
One might as well begin with the sacred cow that is Casablanca: not because of its screenplay and acting so much (although they too are wonderful), but due to its superb direction and editing, it should be taught in every film school. And it is. The final shots of Ilsa boarding the plane should be taught in every fashion school as well, but I digress. The story is eternal, the repercussions of such decisions echo in eternity and any other ending would be colosally less brilliant.
(uploaded by kayjae)
There is really nothing that can be worn lightly in view of such a torrid affair as the drumroll of war is marching on. Perhaps the introspection and melancholy of Après L'ondée by Guerlain suits the mood more than other scents. Another choice would be the suave 31 Rue Cambon from Chanel Les Exclusifs with its inherent veil of elegance over human warmth and tenderness or the white, heartbreaking beauty of Un Lys by Serge Lutens. All trully Parisian scents, the Paris they will forever cherish in their hearts.
One of the lighter, funnier romantic comedies I have been enjoying every chance I get has been Down with Love with Renee Zellwegger and Ewan McGregor from 2003: a superb homage to the Doris Day-Rock Hudson movies.
In a very accurate (down to the last detail!) retro early-60s-style it tells the story of Barbara Novak. A feminist advice author, she shuns love only to get caught under the spell of Catcher Block, a playboy who, disappointed when no longer able to pursue his affairs due to her book's success, goes undercover in an attempt to "break" her and prove the falacy of her axiom. I will leave the end for you to discover if you haven't yet.
Pure unadulterated, unapologetic fun and with the usual amazing singing by Ewan, who could be an excellent singer any day.
(uploaded by catalinadarling)
Since this is about the eternal battle of the sexes and so firmly set in the 60s I suggest you watch it with a good swooooosh of nearly unisex Eau Sauvage by Christian Dior. This light, citrusy spell with a fresh whiff of jasmine aroma will have you longing for spring days of love.
Or you could go for Parfumerie Generale Eau de Circe, a potion for a light-hearted hip seductress and Pillow of Flowers by Parfums Armando Martinez which is as luminous as a string of pearls over a colourful, tailored shift dress.
The way we were (1973) by Sydney Pollack is arguably one of the better known tearjerkers in cinematic history as we all feel a pang of silent pain as we watch the determined heroine unexpectedly meet the object of her younger days adoration in the arms of another woman years later, simply stating: "Your girl is lovely, Hubbell". Their separation due to different goals in life holds a moral tale: Jewish Katie with her leftish views doesn't quite fit on the arm of WASP Hubbell who is a promising writer who ultimately compromises his talent. But as her personality shines through in the duration of the film, his own shortcomings, despite the smashing looks, become poignently apparent.
However I chose not to show you a clip of the film in question, but off the beaten track rather go for a glorious reference of it in pop culture: from the finale of season 2 of Sex and the City , in which Carrie identifies with the heroine. Be sure to watch this in its entirety, it is trully funny and sensitive.
(uploaded by denysa25)
If you want to pop in the DVD and watch it (again or for the first time), might I suggest you bring out the quite good scent by Sarah Jessica Parker herself, Lovely: musky but refined, it doesn't quite fit the last lines, but it is very pretty. As much as Sarah Jessica's gown with all those blonde curls are in the final scene.
If you are after the wild mood suggested by the final line however, you should choose Vero Profumo Onda: a beast of a scent that is trully untamed!
Romantic tales couldn't be left without one of the most lyrical films in the history of cinema: Elvira Madigan (1967), a Swedish film of the doomed affair of a circus acrobat and a married lieutenant with kids. Set to the ethereal 1st movement of Mozart's piano concerto No.21 it utilizes the beauty of swedish midsummer nature as the backdrop of its beautiful heroes.
Dzing! would be the obvious choice if you want to evoke the atmosphere of the circus, yet somehow the scenery is too beautiful for such a quirky (albeit fabulous) scent. The hay stacks, the summer skies, the youthfulness of both protagonists' features call for Extrait de Songe/L'ete en douce (the name it has recirculated under) by L'artisan Parfumeur. Perhaps the tragic tale behind Fleur de Narcisse, the limited edition of L'artisan from 2006 is even better suited to the fateful end of the two lovers.
Sometimes, romance comes with the feeling of a well-worn slipper. What I mean: Sometimes, love is under our own nose and is someone we're taking for granted. Just like Harry and Sally and their meeting. Or rather series of meetings which culminate into genuine friendship. And then romance. And then...
But surely, you have watched this modern classic about relationships!
(uploaded by agizemk)
And there is even a perfume reference in the very end: "I love that after I spend the day with you, I can still smell your perfume on my clothes". What other declaration of true love could you ask for?
A fragrance that can be worn casually, with conviction and flair, secure in the knowledge it suits you like your favourite sweater, then. Like Marc Jacobs Amber Splash. Or Tauer's Reverie au Jardin, the softly envelopping of fresh lavender by velvety musk, which can be shared between you two.
Last but certainly not least, my own favourite: the fourth story in the Greek classic film The counterfeit sovereign (Kalpiki lira) from 1955 by Yiorgos Javellas/ In four chapters a counterfeit sovereign is made by an honest engraver guiled by a dishonest seductress to fall into the hands of a beggar and a prostitute and then to a wealthy miser.
In the final chapter, with a gut wrenching performance by Elli Lambeti and Dimitris Horn, a young struggling artist falls in love with a rich girl when they meet at said miser's New Year Eve's dinner when they win a gold sovereign while cutting the traditional lucky pie of the day: upon it they pledge their love, never to sell it and decide to marry. He paints her portrait when he is inspired by her casual "I love you" one day. But hardships come their way and they split, for her to remarry in line with her social class this time. We can feel the bitterness as the former husband says in the gallery: "Unlike the model that posed for it, this is not for sale! This is all mine."
Years later they meet again:
-"The sovereign on which we pledged our love was.....
-Counterfeit...But our love was true, Paul."
(uploaded by elliniki kardia)It never fails to move me...The yearning and poignancy remind me of the delicate silk faille of Pontevecchio W by Nobile 1942...and of course the eternal Mitsouko.
What fragrance would you choose to match the mood of these or your own favourite romantic films?
I'd love to hear.