René Gruau was a French fashion illustrator. I’m always entering his name into Google time and time again for refrence or plain inspiration. René was known in the 1960’s and 1970s for illustrating Christian Diors advertising campaigns – can you hypothetically see Dior releasing a campaign today for the latest incarnation of J’adore done by David Downton? No, I know. Today, all fashion illustration in mainstream media has been put out to grass which is extremely sad but I’ll wait for better days to come. Where were we?
Yes, René. So I stumbled upon Diorissimo through an illustration done by him. I discovered he had done an illustration for nearly all Dior perfumes released 40 years ago. From Diorissimo to Diorella to Dioressence to Eau Sauvage, which I think has one of the cheekiest and fun adverts to date, ever.
I nabbed my bottle of Diorissimo from the 60s on eBay a few years ago. I was extremely happy the box came with it in mint condition. Even the ribbon they tied around the bottles back then was there, tied just as it had been somewhere in nineteen sixty something. Houndstooth print was heavily featured in Diors packaging in the 60s and continuing well into the 90s. I saw it so much I led myself to believe Dior invented the print itself. But no, that comes from Scotland. From the cap to the label on the bottle to the box, it’s black and white class.
Diorissimo is unabashedly a floral. Not that being unabashed is a bad thing but the reason why I say that is is because it is only and singularly a floral, nothing else.
Lily of the valley was another one of Mr. Diors favorites, along with patchouli (it ruled Miss Diors composition). So for Diorissimo, he wanted a singular, lightweight and beautiful scent built around the flower. The french also consider this flower holy and if on Labor Day in May you happen to be in Paris, you will see sellers distributing them all around the city. I’ve read and learned that unlike most flowers whose scent is extracted from their essential oil, lily of the valley is highly poisonous and thus, the wonderful creator Edmond Roudnitska used hydroxycitronellal to recreate the scent. This also brings up the important subject of REFORMULATION! All of Edmonds ingredients included oakmoss and citrus. This has caused all of Diors perfumes to suffer a great deal, as they can no longer use those in the same amounts the original formulas had to. But then, theres the whole LMVH-monetary-big-bad-world problem too. But I still wonder, are people buying reformulated Dune or Diorella anymore? Or is Charlize helping a lot with J’adore and all its siblings…
Diorissimo is a faint fragrance. My bottle from the 80’s reads 90% volume so you know why. The 60’s juice stays just as long as the other one so probably both had same ratio of perfume and alcohol. But the beautiful thing about it is, 4 or 5 hours after the application, the leftover smell is HEAVEN! It’s like the arms of an old soul or the comfort zone you would love to stay in forever.
Princess Diana was a fan of this one and I can tell why. You can attach it to her through its nobility and heart. Diorissimo is beautiful. It was beautiful. Now, it smells… I won’t even say. Lets end this on a good note with the wonderful illustrations René gave us to cherish forever!