La Collection Privée, also referred to as La Collection Couturier Parfumeur, is Dior’s move into the world of haute parfumerie. It seems strange that it has taken a house responsible for many of the world’s greatest fragrances so long to extend into this area of the luxury market. Created in 2010, the collection remains in limited distribution and to date can be found exclusively in the brand’s US and Europe boutiques. Dior’s perfumer, Francois Demachy created seven new fragrances (eight including the newly launched Patchouli Imperial) joining the existing perfumes Hedi Slimane directed before his departure from Dior Homme. The collection contains the Dior signature, Demachy describes as a love and appreciation for fine flowers. He also states that the savoir-faire of Christian Dior parfums goes beyond the know-how of blending raw materials but it is also about knowing how to create a story. The story Demachy has created is that of Christian Dior’s life. Each fragrance is a tribute to the couturier’s creative life and the people and places that inspired the designer. As a whole, the collection is very classic with less surprise in comparison to the brand’s previous exclusivities. Fans of Slimane’s creations such as Eau Noire that are novel and avant-garde should not expect the same level of adventurism from the Collection Privée. While niche brands have managed to shock and awe perfume fans for the past four years with creations that smell as far from perfume as possible, luxury brands such as Hermes, Chanel and Dior have begun a trend for creating uncomplicated and luxurious fragrances using highly expensive raw materials. They know they already have a clientele that will spend $300 or more on a fragrance where as your niche consumer would level out at around $100- $200 per spend. This enables them to freely use ingredients and package the juice using materials that are otherwise out of reach for smaller independent houses. For me, Dior’s Vetiver was highly anticipated. My perfume collection is dominated by scents that contain the complex grass, so when I heard about this launch it was on my ‘want’ list for some months until I had an opportunity to travel to Europe and experience the scent at the brand’s Avenue Montaigne maison. Inspired by Christian Dior’s sense of elegance and sophistication, Demachy created a vetiver that is masculine in a refined sense of the word.
Recent vetiver launches have tended towards the grass’s smoky personality. Dior’s Vetiver moves the other way towards a more traditional approach. Green and sharp, this vetiver has more in common with Guerlain’s classic scent of the same name than say, Chanel’s fuming Sycomore and less complex than Malle’s Vetiver Extraordinaire. No smoke (excuse the pun) and mirrors, Christian Dior’s Vetiver is perfectly orchestrated, as if Demachy wanted to show the world how beautifully simple a fragrance can be with quality raw ingredients and minimal strokes of an artists brush. Over one third of the perfumer’s formula is vetiver. The green nature of the scent in enhanced with bitter grapefruit notes and a light abstract floral. Where Guerlain used tonka and tobacco to create the earthy soil of a gardener, said to be the inspiration behind the scent, Demachy has used a South American coffee extract to earth his vetiver. Through the fragrance’s life, the wearer is privy to one of the most elegant vetiver experiences available today.
Guerlain Vetiver fans should rejoice over this release. If you find other vetivers moody and intense, Dior has created a more radiant version. Less bitter than Celine Ellena’s creation, Sel de Vetiver and more jovial than Lalique’s Encre Noire, Christian Dior Vetiver is for the confident man who even at his most relaxed appears considered and well groomed.
Perfumer: Francois Demachy
Bottle designer: Christian Dior studio
Release date: 2010
Typology (via Fragrances of the World): Woods