“The idea of this perfume was for the wearer to be completely immersed in a rose field, as if she were diving into a field of roses,” muses François Demachy, master perfumer of the House of Dior, as he thinks back on the conceptualisation of the latest incarnation of Miss Dior. The iconic scent in its various iterations are laid out before a group of journalists, who are ensconced in a cosy lounge at Grand Hyatt Tokyo. It is the latest one, though, that catches the eye—the heroine of the moment and a new chapter unfolding in a perennial love story that began more than 70 years ago. The tale in question, of course, is that between Christian Dior and the Grasse region in the south of France, with its flowers and smells that he fell in love with when he holidayed there—his dream was for the House to eventually source all the blooms used in its perfumes from there. His love for that land culminated in the very first Miss Dior back in 1947—a fragrance that also brought master perfumer Demachy into the Dior family in 2006. “Monsieur Dior presented his first series of fashion collections at the same time as his first perfume,” says Demachy, “and that was the reason I came to Dior. Because for a fashion brand to have a fragrance launched simultaneously meant that perfume was a very important element of the Maison.” For the Frenchman with more than 40 years of experience, and whose hits include J’Adore, Poison and Dior Homme, perfumes are like music—“We have in perfumery all these accords, which make up the ‘harmony’, so to speak.” In the case of Miss Dior, “the framework comes from the Cypress olfactory family, which has bergamot, rose, jasmine, patchouli and musk,” he shares. “When you blend the various ingredients, you get another smell or scent; you don’t smell each of the ingredients. What you get is a new scent, a new perfume. And that is the ‘harmony’.” As it turns out, a delicate balance of the emotional and technical is needed to create that harmony. Which means we can’t overindulge our natural tendency towards the smells we favour because they evoke positive, emotional memories; we also need to throw in a good mix of complementary scents, so it all comes together to hit the sweet spot. To let the beauty journos and influencers discover this for themselves, Dior has arranged a fragrance workshop where they can get pointers from the master, watch him in action and take a shot at creating their own versions of Miss Dior. The setting is surprisingly scientific—lab coats, digital weighing scales and pipettes are provided, and each participant is tasked to create three compositions each. Demachy compares the process to cooking: “You start with good ingredients and a recipe; it’s the same thing in perfumery. But everything else comes from the blending; you have a lot of trial and error before ending up with a final product you’re satisfied with. Very often, you don’t get the best harmony on the first try, so you have to do it again. Sometimes, you go too far; sometimes, you have to come back.” Demachy routinely samples more than 150 ingredients in a single day, and for him, there are no rules when it comes to creating scents. As he likes to say: “As magical as it may be, perfume is, above all, the art of raw ingredients.” And for the Miss Dior line, at the heart of which lies the flower of love, the blooms are sourced from Christian Dior’s beloved Grasse, which also happens to be where Demachy hails from. For Miss Dior Rose N’Roses, Demachy looked to the delicate centifolia rose as the anchor—adding to it Damascus, Bulgarian and Turkish roses for delicious floral layers, and building a fresh bouquet with the fruity, juicy notes of bergamot and mandarin as well as hints of citrusy geranium and a base of earthy white musk. What results is a potion brimming with vibrancy and freshness, evoking a profusion of roses blooming in the endless fields of Grasse. The idea for the perfume, he shares, came from the harvesting of the centifolia roses, which he has long associated closely with Miss Dior. These “May roses” (so named after the month in which they come into bloom), he says, are harvested only in May, plucked at peak fragrance. “But you can’t do it early in the morning because there’s still a lot of dew. Instead, you start around nine o’clock, and then you have to go about it very quickly because in May, the sun in Grasse gets very hot rapidly. Therefore, the smell will change very quickly. So this is the idea I had for this scent specifically, where the harvest is happening as you walk through the fields in the morning.” Proving that inspiration hits in the most unexpected of circumstances, Demachy reveals that Miss Dior Rose N’Roses takes its name from American hard rock band Guns N’ Roses, who made a cameo in one of his chats with the Dior marketing team. While the moniker was initially suggested on a cheeky whim, it stuck and, in what appears to be serendipity at work, brings things full circle in this labour of love. “It’s like in music,” he says contemplatively of the Miss Dior family. “You have the same notes, but then you rearrange them according to the times. And of course, like in music, you get your influences from the past, but it’s also the present that’s important.” With its classic bottle design and the soft pink hue of the potion, Miss Dior Rose N’Roses remains an emblem of Dior femininity, an ode to the timelessness of love and beauty, if you will. At the same time, the composition reveals new facets of the modern Miss Dior woman, who is still classy, but also imbued with a vivaciousness and dynamism that uplift the spirits.
Clockwise from top: François Demachy, creator of Miss Dior Rose N’Roses. Japanese actresses Yuko Araki and Nanase Nishino at the perfume launch in Tokyo. Actress/model Kiko Mizuhara picks up a few tips about blending at the fragrance workshop. Miss Dior Rose N’Roses EDP, $137 for 50ml and $196 for 100ml, Dior
"Perfumery is about this back-andforth in order to attain a result you’re proud of. And that is your reward at the end of the day.
BY ANGELYN KWEK