If Dior couture had to be given a scent, it would be Miss Dior – a fresh, floral trail, a universal classic.
The Perfume Of The Dior Woman
1947. Christian Dior goes out of fashion for everything that was done in his time, reviving the ease and abundance of the pre-war era. With its New Look and feminine silhouettes, Dior is restoring Paris to its rank as the capital of elegance.
And while his first looks redefine a woman’s figure, he also gives women a scent to match them. “This is why I became so much a perfumer, so that it is enough to uncork a bottle to see all my dresses appear.” The couturier has just created a scent, still without a name. A first fragrance from the house, still in the prototype stage, but completely accomplished, Dior chooses to perfume the salons during its parades. Philippe Le Moult, director of institutional relations at Dior, in charge of its heritage, says “Liters are sprayed on customers during the weeks that the parades last.”
In December 1947, a few months after its presentation, 283 copies of this first ultra-luxurious bottle (still without a name) were marketed. Cut in Baccarat crystal in the form of an amphora, designed by Fernand Guéry-Colas. How did he become Miss Dior?
A journalist familiar with the house of Dior in the 1940s and 1950s, Alice Chavannes de Dalmassy, reports how during a meeting, even as Christian Dior and Mitzah Bricard, meditated deeply on this subject, Christian’s sister made an impromptu entry. Slowly descending the large stairs, it is towards him that she looks when Mitzah sees her and announces, “Here there is Miss Dior. “Christian, inspired, exclaims: “Miss Dior! It’s my perfume!”
The Miss Dior, An Olfactory Allure
Christian Dior wanted a fresh but sensual fragrance, young but timeless: a fragrance that smells of love. This delicate perfume, it is in the Gardens of Granville that it finds its starting point. Inspired by Millot’s Crêpe de Chine, a powerful chypre of aldehydes and styrallyl acetate, the accord is repeated in Miss Dior with the addition of galbanum to accentuate the effect of “acetate”.
When Chrsitian Dior describes it himself, “Miss Dior is light, fresh and lively, from the first notes of galbanum and gardenia, enhanced by the impertinence of sage. Then, wrapping around the fragrant space, the elusive charm of jasmine, rose and neroli mingles with the bewitching harmonies of patchouli and cistus-labdanum, while the velvety warmth of oak moss lingers in the air.”
Miss Dior is a creature, an attitude, an allure and ultimately a way of being. It is another Parisienne that the couturier wants to capture in this essence. A liberated Paris, a younger, crazier Paris; intoxicated with jazz and freed from the future. Miss Dior has all the audacity of Catherine. It was for France that Catherine Dior fought, it is to find this Paris that she joined the Resistance during the Second War.
Secret and discreet, she was deported on August 15, 1944 on the last train heading for the Ravensbrück concentration camp. During nine months, tortured, she will not deliver any of the names of her comrades. Finally, on May 28, she returned to France. Returning from the camps marked, his presence, so dear to the heart of his twelve-year-old brother, his elder brother, will be the spring of this olfactory homage.
Mademoiselle Dior is first and foremost Catherine. Miss Dior apostrophes the passer-by as the enthusiasm of youth would do. The impact is like a surge of vitality which makes the step more certain. Confident of herself, pressed to the point of impertinence, but exhaling a crazy chic, that’s it, Miss Dior!
This is how everyone remembers the perfume that Dior wanted as the spirit of its time. A smell of very green grass, enhanced by spring leaves with laughing flowers. Like an impromptu waltz that finally takes place on the cobblestones.
Full of life, delicate, the scent is thus embodied by Natalie Portman in campaigns that have become no less iconic. The film Miss Dior Chérie by Sofia Coppola.
The hymn to love by Emmanuel Cossu. “For me, perfume is not everyday, it’s a certain way of dressing,” explains Natalie Portman. A timeless fragrance that symbolizes French charm.
All captured in a bottle revisited in 1950 by Christian Dior himself. He designed a bottle “cut like a tailor.” A houndstooth print, cast in solid glass, a Fontanges knot to hug the neck, the iconic bottle then appears in its final version.