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Fragrance and personal care

Dior explores founder’s dual couturier-perfumer role in exhibit

May 19, 2017

Miss Dior bottle; image source Dior


Couture house Christian Dior is working with the Musée International de la Parfumerie in Grasse, France to trace the legacy of its eponymous founder through scent.

Opened May 17, the exhibit “Christian Dior – Espirit de Parfums” is a multisensory look at some of Mr. Dior’s most iconic fragrance creations as well as highlights of his life. Produced with support of Christian Dior Perfumes, the exhibit also features the inseparable link between Dior’s fashion and fragrance creations, starting with the simultaneous launch of the New Look and Miss Dior.

Scents and senses
The exhibit showcases the museum’s archives of perfume bottles and posters from the label, with additional pieces from the house’s own archives and loaned items from individuals and institutions.

Leveraging technology, interactive terminals and films will help bring the story to life. Taking the experience beyond audio and visual senses, there will also be tactile and olfactory touchpoints to explore.

One aspect of Mr. Dior’s designs that the exhibit touches on is his frequent use of flowers, in both fragrance and fashion.

Poster for Christian Dior - Espirit de Parfums

In the 1920s, the designer established friendships with artists, journalists and those in finance, connections that helped his business succeed when he founded his couture label in 1947.

From the 1930s on, Mr. Dior was drawn to the south of France, an affection that the exhibit explores. Here, he met perfumer Edmond Roudnitska, who increased his knowledge of scented plants.

The exhibit will be up until Oct. 1.

Meaningful to the late Mr. Dior, Grasse remains an important part of his brand’s story.

The brand recently brought its namesake founder’s dream to fruition by restoring the Château de La Colle Noire in Grasse.

In 1950, the Château de La Colle Noire was purchased by Mr. Dior with the hope of using the property’s 50 hectares as a nursery for flowers intended for the brand’s perfumes, but with Mr. Dior’s death soon after, his dream was never realized and the house sat mostly unused for 60 years. With the restoration of the property in Southern France, Dior has transported much of its fragrance division to the region (see story).