The ’70s was the decade of the sequel and the greatest hits album. It’s as if the late ’60s had used up the cultural capacity for new ideas and reiteration became the new innovation. As the name implies, Dior Dior favored repetition over novelty.
All members of Edmond Roudnitska’s citrus chypre family trace their roots to the voluptuous stone fruit chypres Femme and Diorama, but Dior Dior is better viewed against the other citrus chypres: Moustache, Eau Fraîche, Eau d’Hermès, le Parfum de Thérèse. Roudnitska was an expert of the genre and became known for manipulating the common ground of overripe fruit and mature flowers to create lusty, almost lewd perfumes.
Dior Dior owes much to the two perfumes that directly preceded it. You can smell whole pieces of Eau Sauvage and Diorella while wearing Dior Dior. The fruit is fresher than Diorella’s half-decayed melon and despite a hefty dose of moss, Dior Dior is more straight-laced than Eau Sauvage. The lemon/aldehyde pairing recreates Eau Sauvage’s mouth-watering lemon-drop but overall Dior Dior resembles Diorella. It shares Diorella’s general shape, but squeezes it into a girdle to suppress any errant curves.
With a brighter fruit note and cleaner florals Dior Dior comes off as more prim than its siblings. Compared to Diorella’s sultriness and easy virtue, and Eau Sauvage’s cruisy Playboy After Dark vibe, Dior Dior is a prig. The hint of skank tempers Dior Dior’s coloratura topnotes, but only just. Diorella reflected a chic, offbeat style. Dior Dior suited the mainstreaming of ’60s youth culture signifiers like bell-bottoms, blousy shirts and bad folk music. First impressions matter. The lemony shine and choir of aldehydes create a peppy, Anita Bryant/Up-With-People cheerfulness that seems at odds with the turned-fruit styles of chypre that Roudnitska developed over the years.
Cultural tone aside, Dior Dior is an excellent example of Roudnitska’s pursuit of simplicity. In his discussion of the art of perfumery he espoused the belief that richness doesn’t require complexity. His sumptuous perfumes were apparently the result of succinct formulae. Generating plush perfumes from concise composition might appear counterintuitive, but Roudnitska proved his point. His perfumes couldn’t rightly be called minimalist but they all have a feeling of perfect balance. Elements that don’t contribute to a perfume’s central goal have been edited out and the central olfactory ideas are diamond-like. In this respect, Dior Dior is classic Roudnitska.