Animalic Allure

Eddie Redmayne

Eddie Redmayne. Photo by Gordon Correll

Last week I went to see the film, The Danish Girl. It’s based on the true story of the artist Einar Wegener who in 1920’s Denmark became Lili Elbe and had pioneering gender reassignment surgery. Eddie Redmayne gives a superb performance and has been nominated for an Oscar. I hope he wins.

There were many thought-provoking moments in this film and as with all good culture, it changed me. This particular human struggle is one about which I knew very little. Now I know a bit more. And in amongst all of the drama there was a touching scene that made an unexpected impression on me. Lili is working in the perfume department of a smart store in Copenhagen and gives some advice to a customer, clearly relishing that she can at last share in the feminine mysteries of cosmetics. She tells the customer that in Paris, women never apply perfume directly onto their skin. Instead they spray it into the air and walk through it. I’ve taken to doing this ever since and it feels luxurious. It may be a frippery but it’s also a reminder of Lili’s difficult life and of a raw, beautiful film.


I love perfume and don’t feel fully dressed without it. However, I’ve had a few ups and downs in my relationship with various brands. Continue reading