April 08 2011
Lucia van der Post
For those of us who love gorgeous perfumes and understand that the making of fine fragrance is a great art, there is good news: the house of Dior has just opened its own Maison de Parfums within Selfridges (these days posh labels don’t “do” shops – “maisons” is the newly appropriated word that lets us know that this is somewhere pretty swanky). The opening indicates that Dior is taking perfume seriously, very seriously. It has cottoned on to the fact that these days there’s a highly sophisticated audience that truly understands fragrance.
Of course, Dior has a long and honourable history when it comes to scents – Christian Dior himself felt that fragrance was so intrinsic to the lifestyle of the elegant woman for whom his New Look was devised that he launched his first fragrance, Miss Dior, alongside the collection and sprayed it all around the rooms where the clothes were shown.
The thinking, therefore, behind the new Maison is that it should do much more than sell perfume – it should hook people into the beauty of the art of fragrance. So there will be seminars and workshops where experts from the worlds of perfume, fashion and the arts will bring the world of perfumery alive. Customers can book an appointment, sit on a sofa, have a glass of champagne, and get absorbed by the whole Dior fragrance story.
Great Dior fragrances that haven’t been easy to find in recent times, such as Diorama (from 1949, second picture) and Diorling (1963) are being relaunched in a much bigger way. Diorama is now available from select Dior counters throughout the country, while from October you will be able to buy Diorling from the new Maison in Selfridges. And the relaunched Eau Fraîche (second picture), the fragrance that Dior himself wore, will also be available from the Maison. This is all part of a bigger plan to re-release some of the classic scents.
On top of this, Dior’s in-house nose François Demachy has created a collection of 10 fragrances (some shown in first picture), La Collection Christian Dior, available only at the Maison, Dior boutiques and a few special retailers. They bear names such as Granville (Dior’s childhood home), Mitzah (after Mitzah Bricard, Dior’s friend and muse) and Milly-la-Forêt (Dior’s country house). These will be sold in three sizes, all eau de parfum: 125ml (£120), 250ml (£180) and 450ml (£285). Three of the perfumes are feminine, three are masculine and four are unisex. Demachy considers them his masterpieces.
There are florals, orientals and chypres, and the idea is that you go along on an olfactory journey of discovery. If you’re lucky, you fall in love and discover the one perfume that is really “you”.