The story of Christian Dior perfumes

24/04/2012

Christian Dior Diorama vintage perfume ad by Rene Gruau via fashioned by love
“A woman's perfume tells more about her than her handwriting.” Christian Dior
In the late 1940s France was known for its wine, fashion and perfume that were the most important French exports. For a fashion house having its own perfume meant reaching a wider audience and increasing its profits by significant amounts. Even those who couldn’t afford a Dior dress, would buy a perfume. A little piece of luxury would made a woman feel like a Dior woman, elegant, beautiful and one-of-a-kind without costing a fortune.

Even before the house of Dior was opened, Christian Dior was approached by Serge Heftler-Louiche, his old friend who first worked for Coty and then started his own business.

In 1947 they created “Miss Dior”.

Christian Dior Miss Dior vintage perfume ad by Rene Gruau
The new fragrance was designed by Paul Vacher  with Dior’s personal involvement. “Create a fragrance that is like love,” he requested. The perfume, a delicate bouquet of Egyptian jasmine, Patchouli and tuberose, became an instant hit. It felt modern, but also feminine and romantic combining all the things women craved in those post-war times.

Miss Dior by Christian Dior vintage Baccarat crystal perfume bottle c. 1947-1950s
The luxury version was presented in a crystal flacon made by Baccarat, while the more affordable one included a modern looking bottle engraved in a hound’s-tooth motif that was frequently used by the house for their daywear designs. The name was inspired by Dior’s sister, Catherine, who walked in his boutique one day and was greeted by Mitzah Bricard “Look, there is Miss Dior!” And the “Miss Dior” was born.

More than a litre of perfume was sprinkled all over the Dior boutique daily and soon it was immediately associated with the spirit of Maison Dior and became its haute couture perfume.

Christian Dior Dior Miss Dior, Diorama, Diorissimo & Diorling perfumes by Rene Gruau
The “Diorama”, an intoxicating, passionate and sensual perfume, created by Edmond Roudnitska in 1949, combined the notes of bergamot, peach, jasmine, tuberose and gardenia with the warming spicy and velvety clove, nutmeg, sandal wood and cedar, “to dress every woman with a trail of desire”.

Christian Dior Diorama perfume vintage ad by Rene Gruau
It was in autumn to become the cold weather fragrance as most women used to wear different perfumes depending on the seasons’. The crystal bottle designed by Fernand Guerry-Colas, was a true object d’art with its lines inspired by the obelisk in Place de la Concorde.

By the mid 1950s Christian Dior sold 500000 bottles of “Miss Dior” and “Diorama” annually in 87 countries. They were later followed by “Diorissimo” that became the most expensive exported perfume ever sold and “Eau Fraiche” launched in 1956.

Christian Dior Dior Miss Dior, Diorama, Diorissimo & Diorling perfumes by Rene Gruau
Photo source: Christian Dior Diorama vintage perfume ad by Rene Gruau, Christian Dior Miss Dior vintage perfume ad by Rene Gruau, Miss Dior by Christian Dior vintage Baccarat crystal perfume bottle c. 1947-1950s via Find Museum, Christian Dior Miss Dior & Diorissimo perfume ads by Rene Gruau, Christian Dior Diorama perfume ad by Rene Gruau, Diorissimo by Christian Dior vintage perfume ad, Christian Dior Dior Miss Dior, Diorama, Diorissimo & Diorling perfumes by Rene Gruau

9 comments:

  1. I so enjoy finding out the story behind a legendary perfume. But even when we talk about Dior, one of the great designers of all time, I can not recall that Coco Chanel had the visionary mind to sell scent and to understand its vital importance in fashion. I find these two campaign illustrations more suggestive than almost all the present day perfume ads: the face of a model or actress and the bottle of perfume next to it. xo

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    1. I agree about Chanel - I think it's impossible to deny the importance of Chanel No. 5. Frankly, I was surprised to find out HOW popular Dior perfumes were and how many were sold, although I do have a feeling Chanel would always remain on top of the list whenever we are talking sales. :)
      The ads are absolutely fabulous! I found a few and will probably do a whole post dedicated to them. I am loving the style of these illustrations so much!

      xxx

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  2. I wanted to say I can not resist recalling... :)

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  3. I imagine myself wearing a fancy hat entering a 50's Dior shop with beautiful clothes where to smell a sublime perfume...I love the Dior perfumes (my favorite is midnight poison for the short winter days) and I am so glad you decided for another week of fashion! I think I will be learning a lot about Dior this week! :*:*:*

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    1. My mum had Miss Dior in the 1980s and I always loved the fragrance and the bottle. Hope there will be a few interesting facts and stories for you to enjoy this week!
      xxx

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  4. I just love reading about perfume and if I didn't already have a full time job, I'd be in perfume full time...love reading about the notes, the bottles, all of it. And I didn't realize that Diorissimo was the most expensive exported perfume. I am going to have to do more research in person now! Hope you are having a wonderful week!

    xo Mary Jo

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  5. I am not too familiar with the Dior fragrances, but the 'trail of desire' description here has me desperately wanting to go and test a bottle! How interesting, the fact about just how much fragrance was sprinkled around the boutique....

    www.styleonthecouch.com

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  6. I have never seen that old Miss Dior ad before, only the Diorama one. It's so interesting to learn about the history of these perfumes. I always thought that Miss Dior was much older.

    PS. Now I'm off to check if you've already pinned these so I can repin them ;-)

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  7. agree with @classiq, so interesting to find the story behind. And what gorgeous illustration (just pinned!)

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