9 luglio 2011

Magnificent 70: the Diors

Miss Dior (1947)
Diorissimo (1956)
Eau Sauvage (1966)
Diorella (1972)
Poison (1985)
Fahrenheit (1988)
Hypnotic Poison (1998)
Among brands deserving a honor place in the list of the Magnificent 70 there’s Dior, capable of launching at least one masterpiece every decade (not a simple task). I had doubts about whether or not to incorporate Miss Dior, because today it’s lost much of its original allure, since the use of some raw materials crucial for the chypre family (including citrus oils and oakmoss) is severely restricted by IFRA. And it’s a real pity: the chypre family is particularly fascinating, with complex and sometimes even erotic stories to tell.
In the end I added it just for this reason: wear it on a wrist, then go to your mother’s or aunt’s and splash a few drops of their old bottles, and then compare the two: Miss Dior’s spirit will start emerging from the mix.


The word “soliflore” defines a flowery fragrance dominated from start to finish by a single note: Diorissimo is a lily-of-the-valley soliflore. And more, it’s the standard reference for this flower (lily-of-the-valley is always a synthetic reconstruction or a mix synthetic/natural, because this flower doesn’t offer its oils to the perfumer), so you definitely need to know how it smells like.


Eau Sauvage is one of the most popular men fragrances and the most used by women, firmly in the top 10 of worldwide sales. Eau Sauvage is one of the masterpieces by Edmond Roudnitska, and his companion is Diorella, by the same author. If you can, try them together, on both wrists. And the next day, spray again Diorella on a wrist and then Le Parfum de Therese (also by E. Roudnitska but thirty years later, created for Frederic Malle) on the other, and you’ll begin understanding the way this great Master perfumer used to compose his masterpieces.
As for Poison, like Coco (Chanel), it‘s a whole decade condensed into a fragrance: wear it with the Walkman, the Swatch, the aerospace hairstyles of the Dallas saga while listening to Cindy Lauper, the Wham, Michael Jackson and you’ll get back in that atmosphere (assuming that you have lived it, otherwise the effect is zero).
Fahrenheit has exploded among the 80’s men's perfumes like a bomb: someone put violets in a man’s fragrance making it sexy and intriguing! In 1990, all boys of my acquaintance were wearing Fahrenheit, and even many girls. Today the closer version to the original is the Absolute, that a reader of this blog advised me to try, and I must say that he was right because it is quite a thing.
Of Hypnotic Poison I can finally say that (even if this might upset the Dior staff) you sniff lesser and lesser of it around: until last year you were going to meet him three times while shopping at the supermarket, and this was even annoying. In a couple of year even its detractors will try it again with a fresh mind and understand how beautiful, rich, round and persistent a scent it is. And it ‘s particularly well done: one of the best female scents of the last twenty years. For HP is true again that the version circulating today isn’t the original one: I remember it very well because I didn’t have courage to wear it, it smeled of -and the definition is not mine- "woman who neglects her personal hygiene", an electrifying and disturbing feeling... something quite shocking for its time. Then it changed slightly, and I suspect that it’s the reformulation, the one that was successful and continues to make money.

I haven’t included Dioressence because I had the privilege of smelling the original, with hints of civet, which made him thick, animal, almost scary ("Le Parfum Barbare de Christian Dior”) and the newly re-edited version, although you perceive the effort, seemed to me unconvincing: today wearability is everything, while at the time (1979) the personality of the scent had more relevance and Dioressence was really shocking, only few would wear it today!

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