Perfume houses Dior
Happiness is the secret to all beauty. Christian Dior
When you say Dior, there are many things that come to mind: Dior Rouge, the killer red lips, Poison, the iconic perfume, or the fairytale dresses. Dior is more than a brand; it is a fashion institution with over 70 years of history. Behind the astounding success and a long history is an extraordinary man with an unusual and somewhat tragic fate.
Christian Dior was born on January 21, 1905, in Granville, a seaside town in the north of France in a typical Anglo-Norman house. He was the second of five children of Alexander Louis Maurice Dior, a successful industrialist, and his wife Isabelle, from whom he inherited a sense of beauty, style, and art.
Superstitious from the early days, Christian Dior was just 14 when he first heard the prophecy about his future. In his autobiography “Dior by Dior” he describes this event:
During the First World War, a fair was held near my house in 1919 to raise money for soldiers. I sold lottery tickets while dressed as a gypsy and carrying a box around my neck. In the evening, when the crowd had subsided, I came across a prophetess who offered to look into my palm. “You will suffer poverty,” she said. “But women will bring you happiness and through them, you will achieve great success. You will make a lot of money from them and you will travel far.
Whether this prophecy was true or not, one thing is certain, the famous creator believed in it until the very end and often consulted with clairvoyants and astrologers.
Early life of Christian Dior
Despite his immense desire to study architecture, he followed his parents’ wishes and enrolled in the political department of the Ecole des Sciences in Paris in 1925.
After graduating in 1928, Dior convinced his father to lend him money to open a small art gallery. He agreed on one condition: that the family name does not appear above the gallery door. In just a few years the Dior Gallery has published works by famous artists such as Georges Braque, Pablo Picasso, and Jean Cocteau. However, after the death of his older brother and mother and the financial collapse of his father, Dior was forced to close it in 1931.
Hard years followed, and due to tuberculosis, which he contracted for a while, he was forced to leave Paris. Upon his return, a friend of the impoverished Dior suggested that he do fashion illustration. He devoted himself seriously to his work, studying great designers such as Molineux, Schiaparelli, Lanvin, drawing his own wardrobe and hat creations that Le Figaro magazine published weekly. Very quickly, the creator, Robert Piguet, offered him the position of his assistant. Dior later commented that the most important lesson he learned from Piguet was that the essence of elegance lies in simplicity.
The new beginning
Following France’s defeat in 1940, Dior began working for Lucien Lelong. Lelong’s design house dressed ladies, Nazis, and French collaborators during WWII. With the launch of the Dior fashion house in Paris at the end of World War II, and with the substantial financial help of wealthy industrialist Marcel Boussak, the fashion revolution began. He saw a five-pointed star fall out of someone’s carriage while contemplating whether or not to leave his job at Lucien Lelong on Rue Saint-Honore. He had just met a friend there a few days before who suggested he approach an investor about joining another fashion company. Dior started to talk about establishing his own company, believing it is a sign from God, and his dream became a reality, and the lucky star a talisman for the years to come.
Dior, together with the best tailors and designers, including Pierre Cardin, worked tirelessly from that moment until the spring of 1947 to create the first collection. In February 1947, he launched a collection known as the New Look in the United States. His debut collection was an outright rejection of the trends of the 1920s and 1930s. Instead, he gave the concept of radical femininity, equipped with bare shoulders, a small waist, and A-skirts. He almost instantly transformed a modern woman’s wardrobe by restoring glamour and extravagance. The “New Look,” as Dior’s style became known, was a powerful response to postwar society’s nostalgic mood, and women adored it. As a result, many people saw Dior’s New Look as sinful hedonism when it first emerged in the postwar period.
Obsession with number 8
Dior was obsessed with the number eight, a trait he shared with one other iconic designer – miss Coco Chanel. He opened the doors of his fashion house on the eighth of the month, on Montaigne Avenue, in the center of the eighth district. He moved into an eight-story building as his business grew, splitting the workshop into eight studios. One of the two lines in the New Look collection was inspired by the shape of the number eight as well.
If the number eight was the inspiration for one of the silhouettes, the flowers were the inspiration for the Corolla line – named after the petals and flower wreaths. “I designed clothes for women like flowers, with rounded shoulders, a full feminine bust, and a waist above a huge spread skirt,” Dior wrote in his memoirs.
No matter how superstitious, Dior was also deeply nostalgic. As he often explained, his fashion taste was greatly influenced by the house in Granville, where he lived as a boy. In his autobiography he wrote:
My childhood home was robust and painted in very soft pink, mixed with gray tones, and these two shades remained my favorite colors in fashion.
Perfume is wardrobe
Although the fashion line brought success to Dior from the first day, women not only wanted to look good, they also wanted to smell good. Describing himself as a perfumer as much as a designer, through difficult times, making perfumes has become Dior’s way of expressing himself. In 1948, the designer launched Miss Dior, a fragrance dedicated to his rebellious sister Catherine Dior.
The first and most classic, Miss Dior, or the scent of love as it was often called, was the manifesto of everything he wanted in the perfume. It is a celebration of femininity, beauty, and happiness, inspired by a woman who, as a member of the French resistance movement during the Second World War, spent a year in the Ravensbruckuvure concentration camp. This strong woman and her belief that beauty and joy can be found even in the hardest of circumstances were Dior’s inspiration for a perfume that expressed his faith in love everlasting.
Christian Dior was also a man of many talents, while setting fashion trends, he was also writing books and lecturing thousands of students on fashion at the Sorbonne in Paris.
When Diorama, a women’s perfume, was introduced in 1949, the company had already made a profit of about $13 million. Four years later, Dior Rouge was created, a line of lipsticks that contains eight shades of red that match the color red in his collection of dresses.
This was followed in 1955 by Eau Fraiche, the scent of a summer shower, by perfumer Edmond Roudnitska, inspired by fresh and juicy mandarin and lemon, combined with oakmoss and vanilla at its base. This fresh cypress scent remained Dior’s cult classic.
Why did he love perfumes so much?
Dior has always placed a high value upon perfumes. In 1956, Diorissimo was born, and he described it as “the fragrant embodiment of my soul.” Another of Roudnitska’s works is based on Dior’s favorite flower, the lily of the valley. The lily of the valley is associated with many legends in French culture. One of them recalls Saint Leonard, a fearless fighter who lived deep in the woods. Poisonous weeds grew where the dragon shed blood, and lily of the valley bloomed where St. John shed blood during the encounter with the big wicked dragon. Since the 16th century, the French have given lilies of the valley to their loved ones as a symbol of joy and hope. Dior loved them so much that he had the florists in Paris to grow this spring flower all year round and sew the buds into the edges of his gowns. The whole place was filled with bouquets of lily of the valley from the Lachaume flower shop when the premiere collection was shown on Avenue Montaigne.
After Time magazine dedicated the front page to him, Dior goes on vacation to the Italian town of Montecatini. There, on October 23, 1957, he suffered his third heart attack and died at the age of 52. He was buried in the Cimetiere de Callian in Paris and was accompanied by more than 2,500 of his admirers. At the time, Dior’s house was already earning more than $20 million a year.
Life after death
After the death of its founder, the fashion house changed several art directors, but it never ceases to impress with its innovative approach and high-quality design of dresses, which were gladly worn by Evita Peron, Elizabeth Taylor, Madonna, and many other stars.
Immediately after the designer’s death, Yves Saint Laurent, who started his career in this house, became the artistic director. In 1960, the Beat Look collection was presented, inspired by existentialists from Saint-Germain, cafes, and jazz clubs. Fashion critics welcomed Saint Laurent’s bohemian creation with a knife, which led the house to thank him for his cooperation and let him go.
Mark Bohan has been appointed in his place as the savior of the brand. He returned to the more conservative style, and his 1961 Slim Look collection was a huge success.
Investor Bernard Arno, who joined the Dior company in 1981, eventually managed to unite the fashion empire with the holding company Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton (LVMH) in 1988. The following year, Bohan was replaced by Gianfranco Ferre, the first “non-Frenchman” to take over the job of artistic director. Since 1996, John Galliano has been at the head of the creative team. “Crazy Englishman”, as the French called him, who brought a new breath of elegance and extravagance to Dior, had to leave it in 2011 due to his outbursts, although, at least for me, he is perhaps the most talented creative director that ever worked for Dior. Maria Grazia Chiuri, the first woman to lead the iconic fashion house’s creative team, has been in charge since 2016.
Refreshing in a literal and metaphorical sense – the perfume for men Eau Sauvage was created in the ’60s. The sensual and mysterious scent is inspired by an ancient legend about supernatural desert creatures that live with the first twilight. This wild, seductive men’s perfume is made from ingredients from exotic and mythical places such as Calabrian bergamot, Indonesian nutmeg, Sichuan peppers, and vanilla from New Guinea.
The iconic Poison
In 1985, another perfume masterpiece was created. Dior Poison is as revolutionary, boldly innovative, and larger-than-life as it was back in the 1980s. Dior’s forbidden fruit, the spicy floral elixir, was a new cult oriental fragrance that defied all old rules in the making of women’s perfumes. Hypnotic Poison, introduced in a vivid red bottle, is an amazing blend of bitter almond, jasmine, vanilla, and musk. It’s one of the best oriental gourmet scents, and one of my personal favorites, for evoking images and feelings of winter fantasy, red poisonous apples, and the idea that good always triumphs over evil, even though a little malice might “spice” and provoke everyday life.
Continuing Dior’s effort to express joy with perfume, Dolce Vita was created – “the scent of happiness” and nostalgic memory of carefree days. The layered, floral-fruity scent in which you can feel the mix of peaches and apricots at first glance, spiced with warm cinnamon and cardamom and refreshed with mild citrus and lily. Its base is a warm and sensual combination of vanilla, cedar, and sandalwood. Designed in 1994 by creators Maurice Roger and Pierre Bourdon, this is also a fragrance of timeless French elegance.
One of the most creative and best perfumes ever, in addition to many cult Dior perfumes, is certainly Dune, which revives the scent of desert dunes, creatively harmonizes the fragrant note of warm sand with notes of rosewood, sandalwood, oriental scents, while on the horizon refreshing sea notes find salvation from intoxication with heavy scents and the warmth of the desert. Dior Dune is one of my all-time favorites and a perfume to which I return again and again, perhaps fatefully, as Dior himself believed.
J’adore, a modern glamorous perfume inspired by golden light, celebrates feminine beauty and sensuality. The bottle in the shape of a Greek amphora reminds of antiquity, Greek feminine strength, and precious liquid that are in vessels. Dior’s notion of feminine complexity is evoked through a multi-layered fragrant composition so new and so Dior’s: a sweet but light, slightly sharp floral scent with the freshness of mandarin in the top notes; jasmine, plum, orchid, and rose in the heart; with thyme, musk, and blackberry in the trail. Made in 1999. perfume by Calice Becker.
The perfume that has redefined masculinity and dominant style among 21st-century designer perfumes is Dior Homme. An ingenious combination of fragrant notes of iris and cocoa rounded off with fresh aromatic and hesperidic notes, gave a vision of how a modern, elegant man should smell. Evil tongues would say – like the bottom of a woman’s bag, but the greatest creations just find inspiration in the most unexpected places, and then elevate them to Olympic heights – that is the curious case of Dior Homme.
Dior La Collection Privee is an expression of the experience and talent of Dior’s nose, Francois Demachi. Each of the perfumes from the collection is handmade, and the formulas are created from the purest and rarest ingredients grown especially for the Dior house that Demachi has chosen around the world: Arabic jasmine, Tuscan iris, tuberose, patchouli, neroli, Calabrian bergamot. The collection, whose first fragrances “Bois D’Argent”, “Eau Noire” and “Cologne Blanch” were launched in 2004 due to the growing demand for niche perfumes and the desire of customers to have their own unique fragrance, Dior has expanded with 14 more exclusive women’s and men’s perfumes.
The Chateau de la Colle Noire, the designer’s residence in the south of France, was renovated and reopened in 2016, and the gardens once more smelled of jasmine and Rosa Centifolia. Francois Demachi created La Colle Noire to celebrate the occasion.
Dior has re-established ties with the heart of perfumery, Grasse, where the once-famous perfume factory now houses Dior’s fragrance studio. The story of Dior in Grasse, like the tales of the founder and the artist, continues to enthrall, with small details that appear to show and confirm that there was indeed some secret and fateful connection between Christian and this hallowed place for all. Edmond Roudnitska, who lived nearby, came up with the idea for the first perfume, Eau Sauvage. Even after his death, the mysterious set of circumstances that had followed him throughout his life remained.
That we must live our destiny and that there are forces that pull us in spite of the desires towards goals that someone else has set for us instead of us, the words of the famous designer haunt us even beyond the grave:
There I am, this intimate man, this child, this Proustian, this artist, and there he is, Christian Dior, a fashion designer, who killed me.
The list of Dior perfumes is below. The blue link leads to perfume reviews.
- Addict „Dior Twist“ (2004)
- Addict 2 (2005)
- Addict 2 Summer Peonies (2007)
- Addict Eau de Toilette (2014)
- Addict Eau Délice (2013)
- Addict Eau Fraîche (2004)
- Addict Eau Sensuelle (2012)
- Addict Shine (2007)
- Addict to Life (2011)
- Addict (2002)
- Ambre Elixir Precieux (2014)
- Ambre Nuit (2009)
- Aqua Fahrenheit (2011)
- Balade Sauvage (2018)
- Belle de Jour (2018)
- Black Opium Neon (2020)
- Bois d’Argent (2004)
- Bronze Sweet Sun
- Chris 1947 (2003)
- Cologne Blanche (2004)
- Cologne Royale (2010)
- Cuir Cannage (2014)
- Dior Dior (1976)
- Dior Me, Dior Me Not Dior (2004)
- Dior Star (2007)
- Diorama (1949)
- Dioramour (2018)
- Diorella (1972)
- Dioressence (1969)
- Diorissima (2018)
- Diorissimo Eau de Parfum
- Diorissimo Eau de Toilette (1956)
- Diorissimo Extrait de Parfum
- Diorling (1963)
- Dolce Vita (1995)
- Dune Esprit de Parfum (1994)
- Dune pour Homme (1997)
- Dune Sun (1996)
- Dune (1991)
- Eau de D Coloressence Energisante (2000
- Eau de D Coloressence Relaxante (2000)
- Eau de Dolce Vita (1998)
- Eau Fraîche (1953)
- Eau Noire Cologne (2004)
- Eau Sauvage 100% Glaçon (2001)
- Eau Sauvage Cologne (2015)
- Eau Sauvage Extrême (new / Intense) (2010)
- Eau Sauvage Extrême (1982)
- Eau Sauvage Fraîcheur Cuir (2007)
- Eau Sauvage Parfum (2017 version) (2017)
- Eau Sauvage Parfum (original) (2012)
- Eau Sauvage (1966)
- Eau Svelte (1995)
- Escale à Parati (2012)
- Escale à Pondichéry (2009)
- Escale à Portofino (2008)
- Escale aux Marquises (2010)
- Fahrenheit 0 Degrés (2002)
- Fahrenheit 32 2007)
- Fahrenheit Absolute (2009)
- Fahrenheit Cologne (2016)
- Fahrenheit Fresh (2004)
- Fahrenheit Parfum (2014)
- Fahrenheit Summer (2001)
- Fahrenheit (1988)
- Fève Délicieuse (2015)
- Forbidden Fruit (1951)
- Forever and Ever Dior (2006)
- Forever and Ever (2001)
- Grand Bal (2012)
- Granville (2010)
- Gris Dior / Gris Montaigne (2013)
- Happy Hour (2018)
- Higher Black (2002)
- Higher Energy (2003)
- Higher (2001)
- Holy Peony (2019)
- Homme Cologne (2013)
- Homme Cologne (2007)
- Homme Eau de Toilette (2020 version)
- Homme Eau for Men (2014)
- Homme Intense (2007)
- Homme Parfum (2014)
- Homme Sport (2012)
- Homme Sport (2017)
- Homme Sport (original) (2008)
- Homme Sport Very Cool Spray (2017)
- Homme (2005)
- Hypnotic Poison Eau de Parfum (2014)
- Hypnotic Poison Eau de Toilette (1998)
- Hypnotic Poison Eau Secrète (2013)
- Hypnotic Poison Eau Sensuelle (2011)
- Hypnotic Poison Elixir (2008)
- Hypnotic Poison Extrait de Parfum (2009)
- I Love Dior (2002)
- J’Adore Anniversaire En Or (2004)
- J’Adore Eau de Toilette 2011)
- J’Adore Eau Lumière (2016)
- J’Adore Extrait de Parfum (2000)
- J’Adore inJoy (2017)
- J’Adore L’Absolu (2007)
- J’Adore L’Eau Cologne Florale (2009)
- J’Adore L’Or (2010)
- J’Adore Summer Fragrance Alcohol Free (2004)
- J’Adore Touche de Parfum (2015)
- J’Adore Voile de Parfum (2013)
- J’Adore (1999)
- Jasmin des Anges (2018)
- Joy Intense (2019)
- Joy (2018)
- Jules (1980)
- La Colle Noire (2016)
- La Collection Particulière Passage No. 4 (2007)
- La Collection Particulière Passage No. 8 (2007)
- La Collection Particulière Passage No. 9 (2007)
- Leather Oud (2010)
- Lily Dior (2004)
- Lily (1999)
- Lucky 2018)
- Midnight Charm (2006)
- Midnight Poison Elixir (2008)
- Midnight Poison (2007)
- Milly-La-Forêt (2010)
- Miss D Absolutely Blooming (2016)
- Miss D Blooming Bouquet (pre Miss Dior Chérie Blooming Bouquet) (2008)
- Miss D Chérie (original) (2005)
- Miss D Chérie Eau de Printemps (2008)
- Miss D Chérie L’Eau (2009)
- Miss D Eau de Parfum (previously Miss Dior Chérie) (2011)
- Miss D Eau de Toilette (2013)
- Miss D Eau de Toilette (2017)
- Miss D Eau Fraîche (2012)
- Miss D Le Parfum (2012)
- Miss D Original Extrait de Parfum (1947)
- Miss D Originale Eau de Toilette (pre Miss Dior) (1947)
- Miss D Rose N’Roses (2020)
- Mitzah (2010)
- Musc Elixir Precieux (2014)
- New Look 1947 (2010)
- Oud Elixir Precieux (2014)
- Oud Ispahan (2012)
- Patchouli Impérial (2011)
- Poison Girl Unexpected (2018)
- Poison Girl (2016)
- Poison (1985)
- Pure Poison Elixir (2006)
- Pure Poison (2004)
- Purple Oud (2018)
- Remember Me (2000)
- Rose Elixir Precieux (2014)
- Rose Gipsy (2018)
- Rose Kabuki (2018)
- Rouge Trafalgar (2020)
- Sakura (2017)
- Santal Noir (2018)
- Sauvage Eau de Parfum (2018)
- Sauvage Elixir (2021)
- Sauvage Parfum (2019)
- Sauvage Very Cool Spray (2017)
- Sauvage (2015)
- Souffle de Soie (2018)
- Spice Blend (2019)
- Tendre Poison (1994)
- Terra Bella (2018)
- Thé Cachemire (2018)
- Vétiver (2010)