Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Today's Miss Dior Is Not Quite The Same As Yesterday's


I rarely paste excerpts from press releases on this blog; there are other sites that do a far better job than I ever could of keeping up with the stream of publicity material. But I thought a passage in one of the latest missives from Dior was worth sharing with you.

It appeared within a document about the imminent release of yet another version of Miss Dior: a new eau de toilette, composed by François Demachy, who clearly isn't being allowed to take a break from the task of reworking all of the brand's wares. Nestled between the usual lines about "an elegant, joyful young woman" and "a fragrance as elegant as the dresses" is a series of questions and answers designed to provide the reader with a greater understanding of the perfume. One of these is particularly telling:

Is the Miss Dior of today the same as the Miss Dior of yesterday?
She is not quite the same, yet not quite different either. Miss Dior is a young woman of her time, bolder than ever yet grounded in tradition, freedom-loving and with high expectations. She has the Dior soul. She is an open work, grounded by the past and looking to the future. She resembles the young women you see in the streets of Paris; she is naturally seductive and racing towards her destiny. She has the world at her feet.

I must admit, this makes me feel like cheering. Not very loudly, I grant you, but still: at least it's honest. Demachy has been more open than most high-profile perfumers about the fact that today's versions of classic scents are simply not the same as the originals. So perhaps his frankness is finally spilling into the PR department. Mind you, we can't be quite sure which of the new Miss Diors the press release is comparing to the old version: the one which used to be Miss Dior Cherie but then became Miss Dior after Miss Dior was turned into Miss Dior Originale?? Perhaps we'd best not go there. Life's too short...

Quick final thought: I recently re-smelt my vintage Miss Dior edt and I honestly don't think today's mainstream market would accept it as a feminine. But is that because changing tastes forced a reformulation, or a reformulation caused tastes to change? Discuss.

Persolaise

8 comments:

  1. At least they are admitting it's not the same perfume, that's a step!

    Unfortunately the original Miss Dior is such a classic old-school chypre that it is "dated" in the sense that one can immediately tell what era it's from; it can't hide from its roots. It's not "her" fault that chypres were no longer in fashion even before the reformulations began, and I, an eternal devotee of this genre of perfume, must look to vintage fragrances to find any of them worthy of the name now.

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    1. Flora, yes, I'm sure there must be many scents which have become victims of changing fashions. Perhaps Miss Dior should have been allowed to die when its popularity faded. But then the marketing people can't resist the allure of a much-loved name, right?

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  2. First, a confession: I'm nuts about chypres. I've got vintage Miss Dior in my fridge too. As custodians of some of the finest chypres, Edmond Roudnitska's work, Dior could celebrate their unisex sensuality and glory in their gorgeousness. It's time for them to make a comeback, like platform shoes.
    As for reformulations, the cat is so far out of the bag now that perfumers are starting to sound like politicians when they deny the obvious truth. It's refreshing to have one 'fess up, even if he speaks in Cantona style metaphors.

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    1. SMc, I know what you mean with the politician analogy, but I have to say that, in my experience, perfumers have been very candid on this matter. It's the folks in the PR and marketing departments who like to gloss over certain details.

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  3. "But is that because changing tastes forced a reformulation, or a reformulation caused tastes to change? Discuss."

    Interesting question. Let me try to explain this using an analogy to biological evolution. Here are two propositions:
    1. Birds have hollow bones.
    2. Birds can fly.

    If we try to explain things causally, it would appear that both proposition 1 would cause proposition 2 and vice versa. There is then a cycle of causal priority.

    However, if we explain things using the idea of a function, i.e. we explain things by the function that they will have in the future, we can say that birds having hollow bones is a function of their being able to fly.

    Let's bring this back to Miss Dior. I argue that reformulation is a function of changing tastes. If we look at things historically, we note a few things:
    1. If people are not exposed to certain ingredients, their tastes cannot change.
    2. With the development or discovery of new, CHEAPER (this is a crucial point in my theory) ingredients (usually synthetics) ingredients, fragrance companies have an incentive to substitute the more expensive ingredients with the cheaper ones since their profit margin would increase (assuming they sell their fragrances at the same price point)
    3. They do this with the intention of changing peoples' tastes in mind, so that their profit margins in future will be higher in the long run.

    Just something to think about!

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    Replies
    1. Joshuaang, you cynic, you ;-) Still, I'm sure there's a lot of truth in what you write.

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  4. You are right!
    Too many Miss Dior versions and even the "original" is quite different from the real one.....

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    1. Andre, it's impossible to keep track of them all ;-)

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