My mother was a huge fan of the fragrance Diorama by Dior. This homage to Monsieur Dior by perfumer Edmond Routnitska was a spicy Chypre and of course, a classic fragrance beloved by generations of women since it’s creation in 1949. I can still remember that fragrance lingering on my mother’s evening gowns. The scent reminds me of special occasions, when women really dressed up in their finest, even if it was just to go out to dinner.
Now, Diorama is being re-imagined by Perfumer, Francois Demachy, to create a more modern, slightly altered Diorama Eau De Parfum. While the original Diorama featured melon, peach, plum, jasmine, rose and tuberose plus a spicy base, this new Diorama opens with notes of chilled bergamot, with buddies of plum accord and Indian jasmine. And you can really smell that jasmine! The heart blooms with Turkish rose essence that adds ladylike elegance. In the original Diorama. the base notes were patchouli, oakmoss, vetiver, violet (methyl ionone g), labdanum, castoreum, civet. The new fragrance also has that spicy, sexy feeling –a nod to the original — but made modern with notes of cedar and cumin. The new scent feels like a classic french fragrance: elegant, complex, feminine, but with a little something more. When it warms on your skin, it becomes your own, while still keeping true to the notes that make it “sing.”
The packaging is understated — no need to yell and wave your arms about when you’re from the house of DIOR. The outer carton is, by today’s standards, austere. It is plain, except for a thin gold rim around the white, lightly striped carton with DIOR in gold and a grey oval with “Diorama” in gold in the middle. There is nothing gaudy or gimmicky about it. The bottle I remember was sort of squat, with a paper border of black and white hounds tooth. The new bottle is a more graceful rectangle of clear glass, with rounded edges on top, and a sharp, square base. An indented oval in the middle holds the script word: “Diorama” and a clean, sans serif “Dior” in soft. grey lettering. A collar that looks like the silver threads that once encircled the neck of the perfume bottle is now a solid silver ring, but it adds a touch of glitter to the otherwise austere bottle. A “hat” of clear plastic engraved with “CD” stands in to cover the spray diffuser where once, I’m guessing,. a crystal stopper might have been.
I am sensitive to florals, and I immediately smelled the jasmine and Turkish rose , two notes that to my nose, always smell a bit bitter, like paper whites. But artfully mixed with the base notes, upon drydown, this Dior fragrance does what all good fragrances are designed to do — the florals are tempered with the other notes into something unique, something exotic, expensive, and elegant, and yet still recognizable. The results is feminine but just a little bit daring and not quite “tamed.” It is a refreshing change from all the fruity florals and uncomplicated scents on the market. I don’t mind remakes as long as they are wonderful…and this one, is!
The cost for Diorama is $89.00 for 100 ml Eau de Toilette. It is available exclusively at Saks Fifth Avenue
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