Dior’s perfumer-creator François Demachy talks us through the vast range of additions to the maison’s perfume portfolio
Dior’s perfumer-creator François Demachy has been in charge of the house of Christian Dior’s esteemed fragrances for 12 years now. The most prestigious of which, La Collection Privée, was launched shortly before his arrival but under his watch, has just undergone a radical transition. Privée, celebrated for its money-no-object use of exquisite ingredients, heavy-duty glass tankards and free-wheeling reference material (be that the grey walls of the avenue Montaigne store or the smoky incense of a Middle Eastern palace), has endured as an exemplar of olfactive artistry for fragrance fanatics since its inception.
Today though, the prized collection goes by another name – though it smells just as sweet, with an astounding addition of 12 new perfumes, as well as carefully commissioned accompaniments for the home, like candles, soaps and mitzahs (a range of silk scarves that can be scented with a fragrance of one’s choosing). “Now [La Collection Privée] has merged with the Maison Christian Dior collection, which is even bigger, and which enjoys the same spirit of absolute freedom. It is like a dream come true for a perfumer,” Demachy tells AnOther. “This creative playground is very stimulating and a lot of fun too. I can bring all my intuitive concepts to life in a completely ‘open’ collection that isn't concerned with having a beginning or an end.”
The freedom is palpable. One of the key new scents, Sakura, is a barely there tonic – an ode to Japan’s ubiquitous and celebrated cherry blossom. It’s fragrance is as subtle as its softly pink-hued appearance: a staunchly clean, refreshing spritz with an enduring honeyed pollen finish. “There was a sakura bouquet flower in my hotel room and I was obsessed by the incredible scent of this little, fragile flower, but so strong at the same time. A mix of strength and delicacy. I created Sakura like a tribute to this incredible flower.” It’s unique, playful and unusually delicate for a perfume of this price-point (usually obliged to pack a punch – more bang for your buck). It’s indulgent in the most unexpected way.
And though the collection contains creations attuned to Demachy’s travels and idiosyncrasies, it is also littered with nods to the house of Dior. The new fragrance Lucky exudes lily of the valley – a tiny bell-shaped flower, which Monsieur Dior would ask his petites mains to sew into the hem of a sleeve or a dress or to the underside of the lapel of a suit. While Dioramour, with sensuous iris and jasmine notes designed to denote “the imprint left on a pillow and the powdery softness of bed linens” instead offers a more abstract reflection of the sumptuous world of Dior. What unifies these varied and rarefied fragrances is their luxuriousness – the time lavished on their conception, the quality of the ingredients and their ultra elegant packaging.
So satisfying are these softly hued, heavy-lidded bottles that they’ve been elevating dressing table tables since their inception. And it was only a matter of time before the accoutrements would follow. Rather than perfumes translated into home fragrances, these candles, soaps and body creams are olfactive excursions in their own right. “They are a challenge as you have to transpose the fragrances onto a different medium, which is a difficult technical exercise! They require just as much attention so that their scents are perfectly balanced. I have to revisit the formulas for these different perfumed products every time, and rethink certain notes – it’s a fascinating exercise.”
With carefully fragranced soaps and body creams like the specially designed Amande Délicieuse or Néroli Impérial and the gently adapted existing perfume Rose Isaphan, daily ablutions can be viewed anew – at once sumptuous but comforting. These aren’t colognes for the bathroom, over-perfumed and unnatural seeming – they’re perfectly pitched for a slight but perceptible upgrade of your daily routine. The candles, a set of eight, emit the woodier fragrances from the collection – incense, oud, neroli, tonka bean – that hark to fireplaces, chapels, mediterranen nights, imbuing the ritualistic burning of a candle with something spiritual. With this multidimensional new range, one’s home can be a little more Dior.
The Maison Christian Dior perfume range is out now.