digging (into) vintage: Christian Dior Diorissimo, 1956

Posted on

(image by Rennie Ellis)

Perfumer Edmond Roudnitska

I’ve just smelled the current Diorissimo eau de toilette and I’ve tried to dissect the floral notes used to compose this ostensible lily of the valley soliflor. A green jasmine, a watery hyacinth, an oily, shallow ylang ylang. No spine, no shadow. What I get when I step back from dissecting it smells remarkably like an air freshener. Not a chic parfum d’ambiance. I mean the electrical socket plug-in variety.

A moment of seeing how the geometric lines come together to recreate the watery yet oily feel of muguet. A moment trying to sense what Diorissimo must originally have smelled like. A long sigh. Checking the strip again a few hours later gives a distressing reassurance of everything I initially thought. (And yes, I tried it on skin, too.)


I’m wracked by this perfume. I’m a great admirer of Roudnitska. His perfumes have a thoroughness that denotes a masterful technical proficiency but also an integrity of concept and intention. Roudnitska was the tip of the spear of his era of perfumery. He mastered the forms and techniques of his era and rewrote the rules. Unfortunately for those of us in the present who admire his work, he was grounded in the materials of his era. So many of the materials he used have been restricted that the current state of his work is dire. To smell the current Diorissimo, you would never know that it is one of seminal perfumes of the 20th century.

For a perspective on the vintage, please see here.

  • Share


Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.