Miss Dior’s Poison

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Do you have a signature perfume or do you prefer to alternate a variety of different scents?  Is there one brand that holds your loyalty?  Do you ever ask yourself why a certain brand lures you in?   Is it the citrus, the jasmine, or the sandalwood that attracts you?  Or is it the colorful or provocative advertisements?  Or is it just a particular designer that you are fond of and now you wear that designer’s scent as a tribute of your adoration?

Personally, I have always had a particular fondness for Christian Dior.  If I had to pick one place and period of time to live in, it would be 1950’s Paris.  Post war, there was energy and jazz music in the cafes. And the Parisians were impeccably dressed!  Paris once again became the center of fashion for the rest of the world–and Christian Dior was to thank for this.

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Christian Dior founded his fashion house in 1946 at 30 Avenue Montaigne in Paris.  Since there was no longer a shortage on fabric after the war had ended, Dior’s look included fabrics lined with percale, bones, bustier-style bodices, hip padding, wasp-waisted corsets and petticoats that made his dresses flare out from the waist.   Dior’s soft and feminine designs made his models appear curvaceous.  It was quite a change from the boxy war-era styles of the late 1930’s and early-mid 1940’s.  Dior’s creations were called the “New Look” and women all over the world dreamed of owning them!

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In 1947, Dior released his first perfume, “Miss Dior”.  ”What I remember the most about the women who were part of my childhood was their perfume – perfume lasts much more than the moment.” said Christian Dior in his 1951 biography Je Suis Couturier. Dior also explained that “perfume is an indispensable accessory, a final touch in my dresses.”  Dior’s instructions to the perfumiers creating Miss Dior were this: “Create a fragrance that is like love.”  The fragrance went unnamed until Dior’s muse, Mitzah Bricard, saw Christian’s sister, Catherine, enter the Dior Couture boutique and said “Look, there is Miss Dior”. “Miss Dior! That is my perfume!” exclaimed Christian and the new perfume at last had a name!

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More than one liter of pure fragrance was sprinkled every week in Dior’s first boutique when it opened in February 1947. This cost Dior a lot of money, but it was very effective as many women who fantasized of owning a Dior gown, but could not afford to make that dream come true in post-war Europe, could still own a piece of Dior by buying his signature scent–Miss Dior.

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The first bottle, designed by Fernand Guerycolas, of Miss Dior was sold on December 1, 1947, nine months after the ‘New Look’ revolution. Miss Dior captured the spirit of Christian Dior and soon became the fragrance of haute couture.  The perfume is held in a beautiful square shaped bottle.  Dior’s signature houndstooth pattern is engraved on the sides and the cap is wrapped in a white satin ribbon.  The name of the perfume is captured in a lovely script on the front of the bottle.  It is a very elegant and feminine creation.  The scent itself is also very feminine–possessing a blend of rose, gardenia, sage, and other green florals.

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Fast forward thirty-eight years… long after the death of Christian Dior, the House of Dior released a new fragrance upon the world.  This new fragrance, appropriately called “Poison” told the story of a legendary seductress who takes risks and has many lovers.  Created by the perfumer Édouard Fléchier, Poison contains spicy notes, rich fruits, and sensual amber.  The powerful scent captivates and imposes a mysterious harmony.  Dior also created a flacon of dark amethyst in the shape of an apple (the symbol of temptation) to hold the new fragrance. Poison quickly became an absolute favorite among women all over the world–and it still is until this very day.

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These two fragrances are complete opposites.  Miss Dior is for daytime wear.  It is light, classic, sweet, pretty, and makes it’s wearer feel feminine and romantic.  Poison is for nighttime wear.  It is exotic, sensual, heavy, mysterious, and makes it’s wearer feel edgy and adventurous.  These are my two signature perfumes.  For me, there are no other perfumes.  These two fragrances each encapsulate eras that no longer exist… making them timeless!

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Christian Dior once said “A woman’s perfume tells more about her than her handwriting.”  So what fragrance speaks to you?  Which scent have you chosen to represent yourself to the rest of the world?

You can find the original Miss Dior Parfum exclusively at Saks Fifth Avenue.

Poison is now only available in Eau de Toilette.  Nordstrom is one of few retailers who carries it.

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