Words by Emily Algar

Miss Dior Eau de Parfum

To tell the story of Miss Dior Eau de Parfum, it’s important to first tell the story of Catherine Dior, the woman of which the fragrance was initially inspired. The baby sister of Christian Dior, Catherine was born in Normandy before her family was ruined by the Great Depression. At 17, she was forced to go into exile with her father in Provence, before reinventing herself as a Resistance fighter. In the meantime her brother had moved to Paris and immersed himself in fashion design, and so Catherine eventually rejoined him, finding a sense of peace by working as a flower merchant.

In 1947, Christian’s NEW LOOK womenswear collection took off, and to celebrate the success, the courtier wanted to create a “perfume scented with love”. Noses Paul Vacher and Jean Carles composed a fragrance that could only be described as pure joy: chypre mixed with rose and jasmine from Grasse, tempered with soft lavender and sage on a bed of oak moss.

But the fragrance lacked a name. It was only when Dior muse Mitzah Bricard, who upon seeing Catherine arrive at the couture house, exclaimed, “Look, there’s Miss Dior”. And in that moment, Christian knew – the fragrance was to be called Miss Dior!

For months, the chypre floral only filled the air at Dior’s Flagship on 30, Avenue Montaigne. But on December 1st 1947, the very first bottle was sold. In no time at all its popularity bloomed, and it became the olfactive marker of salons, tea dances and debutante balls around the world.

Unbeknownst to many, the original Miss Dior vessel was actually a transparent glass amphora. But as Christian delved deeper into the world of haute couture, he began to think of a perfume bottle in a similar way – an indispensable luxury object. The shape was redesigned by Baccarat with a ground glass stopper, fine gilding, hand cut crystal and a padded velvet presentation box. In a word, it was exquisite, but Christian changed his tune again in 1950 to coincide with the VERTICALE collection – what if the bottle was instead cut like a suit? The modern Miss Dior vessel, with its signature houndstooth check, was conceptualised. Characterised by geometric lines and the signature couture bow, the design struck a chord; in the 72 years since this initial construction, its appearance had remained mostly the same.

Following Christian’s death in 1957, Miss Dior was reinvented several times. It was relaunched in 1992, before Christine Nagel ushered in the Miss Dior Chérie Eau de Parfum franchise in 2005. The olfactive family continued to expand, seeing Miss Dior Eau Fraîche, Miss Dior Le Parfum, Miss Dior Eau de Toilette, Miss Dior Blooming Bouquet, Miss Dior Absolutely Blooming and most recently, Miss Dior Rose N’Roses all join the ranks. While each is unique in their own right, the undercurrent of sparkling love is ever present.

Nowadays, Miss Dior Eau de Parfum is likened to an olfactory “millefiori”, rich in Grasse-grown centifolia rose, peony, powdery iris and honeyed fruits. It’s a creation whereby the whole is greater than the sum of its parts; an endless bouquet of blooms and colours. Fronted by Natalie Portman (as it has been since 2010), Miss Dior is a fragrance that captures youth, joy, sweetness and innocence. Christian set out to bottle up the smell of love, and 75 years in, he’s done just that.

1947: Perfumers Paul Vacher and Jean Carles compose the original Miss Dior

1950: The houndstooth check vessel is introduced

2010: Natalie Portman is appointed the face of Miss Dior

2020: Dior Perfume-Creator François Demachy creates Miss Dior Rose N’Roses

2021: Miss Dior Eau de Parfum is reinvented for the third time, with a newfound sense of lightness