Dior launches La Collection Privée Christian Dior exclusively at Selfridges

by Katie on May 9, 2011

Wow!  This launch really was one that fragrance floosies everywhere were looking forward to –   The exclusive launch of a whole range of Private Collection Dior fragrances that have been long in development by Dior’s Perfumer Creator, Francois Demachy.

Dior believed that creating a fragrance was as time consuming and creatively demanding as creating couture, a belief that Demachy shares.  As Dior said, “You can’t imagine how much know-how and precision it takes to create a fragrance.  The creative process is so consuming, so demanding that I feel as much a Perfumer as a Couturier.”          

Christian Dior grew up surrounded by the scents of the garden at his family home in Granville, a floral oasis that formed the couturier’s olfactory background and was a constant source of inspiration.  For him, a Couture dress was unimaginable without the finishing touch of femininity…fragrance.  This passion was embodied by his first collection in 1947, when his “New Look” was unveiled alongside his first fragrance, the iconic Miss Dior.  From this point on he dedicated himself to creating fragrances that evoked the beauty of his Couture dresses emerging from the bottle one by one.

And now, Parfums Christian Dior is strengthening its long, proud relationship with Selfridges by opening the doors to its new home of perfumery, a worldwide exclusive boutique at Selfridges, Oxford Street, London: The “Maison de Parfums.”

Perfectly mirroring the House of Dior on Avenue Montaigne and swathed in luxury, the Maison de Parfums is the quintessence of expertise and know-how where clients will be able to embrace the rich heritage of Dior’s fragrances and speak with expertly-trained specialists to find their signature fragrance.  The boutique is an essential international destination for fragrance lovers and aficionados, featuring exclusive perfumes and accessories, most notably La Collection Privée Christian Dior, and also provide bespoke complimentary services.  

The difference in their development of  the ten female and unisex fragrances of ‘La Collection 
Privée’ is that Francois Demachy was allowed to indulge himself physically and synaesthetically in the factors and history that have built the House of Dior.  

Each fragrance is inspired by a person, place, ingredient or moment in time dear to the House.  From the homes in Granville and Milly-la-Forêt so dear to Christian Dior, to his muse and friend Mitzah Bricard.  Says Demachy, “Rare ingredients, daring olfactory approaches and creation that know no bounds…This collection reflects the freedom that only true luxury allows.”

The whole perfume set that I experienced reeks of fine fragrance, and I do mean fine fragrance.  These concoctions are far from mass market designer fragrance with its emphasis on marketing and imagery and instead relies on incredible ingredients, capturing the essence of Dior and his inspirations at different historical points and a simple capacity to knock one off one’s feet with the sheer beauty of the scent.  Each one is as different and as inspired as the Dior’s couture creations.  Demachy has managed to bottle a truly Heritage brand.  Some of my favourites that bowled me over instantly are reviewed below.


“It’s a New Look!” was uttered in 1947 by Carmel Snow, Editor-in-chief of Harper’s Bazaar, during Christian Dior’s first fashion show, and gave name to the style of the House which propelled the Couturier to fashion’s highest heights.  ‘The New Look’ astonished with its flamboyant colours and womanly, flower-like silhouettes that altered style codes and brought desire back to life.  François Demachy drew inspiration from this voluptuous revolution to create an opulent, explosive floral feminine fragrance.  The Couturier’s finishing touch.

“New Look 1947 is a bouquet of flowers with Tuberose at its centre,” François Demachy explains. “I wanted to modernize this well-known flower through a unique approach, so that all of its facets would be expressed.  The Perfume is extremely feminine, sensual and surprising, just like the New Look was in its day.”

New Look 1947 smells unremittingly of fine couture, of the rustling of rich taffetas, silks, wools and Chantilly lace, of a daring move forward for the time, using expanses of fabric following World War austerity, and of the fine powder and panache worn by couture clad darlings with finely painted lips, eyes and gossamer stockings.  Its floral powderiness and chypre touch transports one to a time of grace and elegance, of tailored propriety and of abounding good manners – never out of fashion and as still relevant today as they ever were.  This is the fragrance for a ‘lady’ who know herself and who expects to be treated with the good grace it bestows.  This is a grown up scent for a grown up, self aware sophisticate.  It encapsulates the clicking of pointed heels on marble, the swish of fabric and the fleeting smell of powder and femininity…of a socialite in a hurry to a be on time for an assignation.  Never late to the party, always on time and always chypre endowsed correct, New Look 1947 makes her impression, both fleeting yet memorable and leaves a whiff of class where she’s graced.  Just gorgeous.

A profusion of flowers abound with Ylang Ylang from Mayotte, Tuscan Iris, Damask Rose and Jasmine Sambac, all which enhance the Indian Tuberose Absolute. The spiciness of Pink Peppercorns and Black Pepper blend with this rich, generous floral heart, to allow a sensual, woody base to unfold around Madagascar Vanilla and Siam Benzoin.


 “Ms. Bricard is one of those people we seldom meet, for whom elegance is their sole reason for living….Unyielding when it came to quality, she would go straight to the most acute expression of this indefinable and slightly outdated concept known as ‘chic’,” said Christian Dior of his muse.

Mitzah Bricard was an emblematic figure who was very close to the Couturier from the earliest days of the Dior House.  His muse first and foremost, she was also his ally and ambassador.  Officially in charge of the hat collections, she also proved to be Christian Dior’s best advisor. Her signature was her Fellini heroine-like flair combined with a particular fondness for leopard prints, referred to by Dior as Jungle.

Intrigued by this extraordinary woman, Demachy concocted a fragrance in her honour. “I wanted to pay tribute to her intense, feline femininity using amber and spicy notes, but also to her spiritual side, by including lots of Incense”, he explains. “The result is a very sensual, mysterious oriental.”

Mitzah’s beauty is her knock-me-over heady hedonistic sense of announcing, ‘I’m here’!, while simultaneously managing to elude her admirers; the femme fatale who cannot be ignored but longs to be left alone.  There’s a dark, incense filled mysteriousness to Mitzah that bewitches with its thick, treacle like toffeeness, imbued with amber, rose and Labdanum.

Mitzah defies categories belonging only to her own self.  She is at once in your face and yet elusive.  Her sweetness and seductive sultriness makes one think she has had a chequered past too wondrous to be explored or explained and this, is Mitzah’s essence –   Her ability to defy genres, to be refined yet raffish, a true thoroughbred who can mix and captivate in every circle she mingles.  She moves in mysterious ways.  Her smoky Patchouli palour never fades.

After fresh, vigorous top notes of Coriander Essence, the spicy, captivating Oriental unfolds around a bewitching Damask Rose and spicy warm notes such as Sri Lankan Cinnamon Essence.  Labdanum and Cistus base notes provide an amber touch, while Vanilla and a hint of Honey round out the composition.  To complete this mystical marriage, Indonesian Patchouli and Somalian Incense blend together to form an inimitable trail.

Developed by Demachy as an homage to Christian Dior’s childhood home, Villa Les Rhumbs in Granville, Normandy.  Dior said of of this exceptional house, built on a cliff overlooking the English Channel on one side and surrounded by trees on the other,  “My life, my style owe almost everything to its location and architecture.”

While contemplating Granville, François Demachy began to imagine the scent of the air Christian Dior inhaled every morning when he would open his windows. “I wanted to create a fragrance that was not only aromatic, since the property is overflowing with pine trees, but also very sharp and extremely fresh, to evoke the wind gusts and the waves that perpetually strike the rocks. In Granville, nature is all but calm. This fragrance is the scent of the wind that blows there.”

And this fresh, uplifting fragrance does exactly that – embodies the open air, the sea, the cliffs, the openness to all scent and experience.  One can imagine tiny grains of sand in the wind that carries the fragrance – sea, flowers, wind, life, love.  There’s a freshness here that embodies escape…something that Dior valued beyond everything.  

Sparked with a touch of Lemon Concentrate, the fragrance is based on a back-country Pine Absolute with resinous accents and the powerful, invigorating notes of Thyme and Rosemary, which “suddenly make you feel as though you can breathe better”, points out Francoise Demachy.  Enhanced with floral notes like Gorse, which grows in the garden at Granville, the base of this aromatic bouquet offers depth and intensity thanks to Black Pepper Essence from Madagascar and Indian Sandalwood

The launch of this extensive range is perfectly timed to capture the wonder of Dior’s stellar past but also to bring this bang up to date with the House’s future.  With the sharply defined genius of Riccardo Tisci of Givenchy rumoured to be taking over the helm as creative director at Dior, we can only look forward to further advances.

Let me know if you have sampled La Collection Privee Christian Dior and what you think of the fragrances by leaving a comment in the box below.  Thank you.

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