III – II
– Victorian Narcissus –
The studio was filled with the rich odor of roses…
Act III Scene II
If Alessandro had the chance to travel in time, he would certainly go back to London in the Victorian age. Gentlemen had many ways to enjoy life. Yet, according to the accounts, the city smelled very badly – burnt coal, sewage and body odors.
The way dandies enjoyed life in the Victorian London is perfectly described in Wilde’s masterpiece, The Picture of Dorian Gray. Romanza’s inspiration comes from the first pages of the novel, where the studio of the painter is described in a vibrant way. Roses, Lilac, Pink-Flowering Thorn, Laburnum Blossoms, Woodbine, … so many different flowers Wilde mentioned, while the Narcissus Poeticus he did not.
Yet Lord Henry addresses the painter, referring to Dorian, as follows “Why, my dear Basil, he is a Narcissus, and you…”. So, yes, of course, the Narcissus we used in our Romanza aimed at representing the duality of the never-ending beauty of Dorian and the ineluctable ageing of the portrait.
Narcissus di nome e di fatto.
Romanza is a decadent fragrance built around Narcissus, a very dualistic flower. The perfect flower to interpret the scene with the dualism of a person itself: Dorian Grey – he is a dandy, he is a real man, he is rather frivolous and absolutely controversial. Th e internal name used during the development of this fragrance was “L’innamoramento”,an Italian word for falling in love, which expresses the exact moment in which you are falling. During the “innamoramento”, you are neither here nor there. So to make an olfactive representation of innamoramento you need something that is not quite definite.
For example – if you want to create a fragrance associated with love you can resort to a powerful deep rose, while if you want to represent just a friendly relationship you could opt for a gentle and more discreet floralcy, maybe lily of the valley. In the “innamoramento” stage, you are somewhere in between… and so narcissus was the best material to frame it. Not just because of the aesthetic of narcissus, there also is a symbolism – the word itself. Narcissus as the flower and also as the mythological person, and Oscar Wilde refers to Dorian as a Narcissus.
The name of the fragrance was meant to refer to Dorian in a subtle way and here comes Romanza. An Italian word, yet easy to understand the world over, as it sounds so similarly to “Romance” (and it has exactly the same meaning), and at the same time has a strong link with our Opera concept: as in an opera typically there is a very gentle aria dedicated to love, and this is the Romanza.
This fragrance also has a subtitle: Romanza – Victorian Narcissus. Victorian refers to Beautiful Age, decadent time and Dorian himself is the Victorian Narcissus inspiring our Romanza.