Our journey to unveil you the story behind every vintage icon is getting more exhilarating as the days pass. Today we bring you the story behind an iconic “fragrance of love” – Miss Dior by Christian Dior.
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“What I remember the most about the women who were part of my childhood was their perfume – it lasts much more than the moment.” – Christian Dior
After WWII, many were the designers who felt the need to change the society’s course, like Robert Ricci with his L’Air du Temps, evoking the piece and hope of a new era. Christian Dior was no different. By 1947, he instructed perfumers to just “create a fragrance that is like love.”
Dior took advantage of the launch of his first collection to introduce the new fragrance. But until that time it had no name yet. That’s when the couturier’s sister Catherine Dior walked into the Dior Couture boutique, and, as she came down the stairs, Dior’s muse Mitzah Bricard exclaimed: “Here’s Miss Dior!”. Of a sudden, Christian Dior replied: “Miss Dior! That’s my perfume!“. He imagined Miss Dior as the very soul of his dresses.
The location where the premiere show to place was flooded (almost literally) with the now Miss Dior. Clients and journalists left the place with its scent attached to their clothes and skin, and the perfume became associated with Parisian high fashion. More than one litre of pure fragrance was sprinkled every week in Dior’s first boutique when it opened in February 1947.
In the post-war years, it was not easy to find material for the fragrance. There was no coal to burn, and thousands of workers were on strike, but Dior quickly realised that luxury was the secret to success, even if it meant having to, temporarily, neglect its French customers due to their lack of money.
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Miss Dior first bottle was sold on December 1st, 1947, nine months after the revolution of the “New Look”. This first bottle was designed to mirror the silhouette Christian Dior dreamt for the modern and elegant woman. An amphora: feminine, curvaceous, timeless. The ringed amphora is a symbol of something that contains a precious liquid, just like Miss Dior. The amphora, a shape that resembles something between an hourglass and a flower, speaks of classic beauty and youth. Dior’s “New Look” ended the era of frugality in fashion and cosmetics forced by the wartime.
In 1950, the designer created his “vertical line” and a new Miss Dior bottle to go along. The new design was more architectural, more geometric with straight lines. Much more sober, a bit austere, but softened with a bow tie and the houndstooth pattern engraved in the square glass. This object, “cut like a suit”, embodied the Parisian couture spirit and precise tailoring. These codes for Dior elegance still endure in the current Miss Dior’s bottle.
This iconic bottle, like any emblematic flacon, holds many key elements. Houndstooth, bow tie and ribbon, and the English typography: these are codes that have dressed Miss Dior perfume since its creation.
The houndstooth, chequered and irregular, gives an impression of a grey fabric by pairing black and white in a small scale. On the other hand, pink and grey combined – a signature colour scheme for the house of Dior – pairs a feminine colour with a masculine one. As so, the houndstooth is a variation of a purely masculine fabric perfectly adaptable to female models.
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Besides having the English name “Miss” instead of “Mademoiselle”, the typography chosen for the name of this iconic fragrance was also reminiscent of English culture. Edwardian calligraphy was given to Miss Dior, and after that, it became Dior’s signature type font.
The ribbon is another visual signature for Miss Dior. The ribbon symbolises a gift – it wraps something precious that will be given to someone we love. The bow tie at Christian Dior appears for the first time in an advertisement signed by René Gruau in 1947 for Miss Dior.
On the cardboard packaging, there’s another kind of bow tie – le nœud Fontanges, taking inspiration from the 18th-century embellishments at the Palais de Versailles. The Fontanges bow tie was named after the Duchess Marie Angélique Fontanges, mistress of Louis XIV, who popularised a hairstyle that got her name. The bow tie with the oval shape bearing the name “Miss Dior” became an iconic symbol for numerous Dior products.
We hope you loved reading about this magical fragrance and found yourself happy and inspired!
Content sources: Miguel Matos for www.fragrantica.com and www.queensofvintage.com | Photography sources: www.fragrantica.com, www.totumrevolutum.es, www.australianperfumejunkies.com and www.hero-magazine.com
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