21 giugno 2017

Christian Dior Diorella (E. Roudnitska, 1972)

Diorella, ad by René Gruau (1972)
"We're both screwed up, it creates a bond" Chloe

Stylish and emancipated like the main character of Éric Rohmer's Love in the afternoon (L'amour l'après-midi, 1972), the iconic algerian model Zouzou, Diorella teases the most bon chic bon genre chords of a hesperidic chypre accord but twists it with the oddest and most psychedelic fruity notes ever seen before in perfumery. Smelling it is not difficult to imagine the Diorella girl using Chloé's hook-up line with the nicest guy of the class, the one silencing the goo-goo eyed classmates, as though butter wouldn't melt in their mouth.
The dreamy girl of the New Look used to escape to Saint-Trop, she was gealous of her father, made fun of his mistresseser and grew up wearing Diorissimo. In 1972 her daughter is about to take her biology degree and after marching in pants during the student protests and now is leaving to London without permission from her conventional authoritarian parents, claiming so her future to the sound of egalité, liberté, sexualité!

Chloe (Zouzou) in Rohmer's L'amour l'après-midi
The refusal for traditional feminile roles led these girls to try the first Dior gentle citrus or the androginous aromatic citrus like Ô de Lancôme (Robert Gonnon, 1969) and Guy Laroche Eau Folle (Firmenich, 1970). The greatness of Edmond Roudnitska lays in understanding the need for this new femininity, free and lively, unconventionally seductive so well renderen in pants (for the first time) by the hand of René Gruau! That's why speaking of Diorella, the most beloved creation by the Master himself, as the feminine version of Eau Sauvage is really dismissing (Roudnitska himself confirmed they have no connection). Thirtyfive years later I can't help but thinking of the Eau Sauvage girls and smile to the curious opposite of a guy applying Diorella under the eye of the shocked close-minded sales assistants whispering "that's for women".

Diorama, ad by René Gruau (1957)
The opening of Diorella is freshly hesperidic with lemon and bergamot but they instantly verge to aromatic green thanks to the almost minty-floral smell of basil and a hint of verbena. It must be this contrast with the so typically French savory chypre base that made Chandler Burr think of "a new fur coat that has been rubbed with a very creamy mint toothpaste".
Heartnotes though are what really makes Diorella stand out. A few years ago, while comparing Diorama with Diorella, together with Emmanuelle Giron from the Osmothèque Versailles we realized how much the latter owes to the former. That basket of overripe fruits suggesting the rotting sweetness of durian, purple plums and peaches long forgotten by a busy socialite making up for the WWII, becomes a sunny juice thanks to the smell of cantaloupe (later used by many among which Michel Roudnitska in Parfums DelRae Emotionnelle) and jasmine mixing with the seabreeze of the French Riviera summer nights. This ozonic fruity-floral freshness from the innovative helional set a precedent to descendants like Prescriptives Calyx (Sophia Grojsman, 1987), Aramis New West (Yves Tanguy, 1988) and so on till the latest marine florals.

Dior dress by Mark Bohan
pic by Sarah Moon for Votre Beaute (1970)
It's the chypre backbone though keeping everything up, with the androgynous mineral coldness of vetiver keeps it away from easy seductions.
If the eau de toilette gives her loquacious and lively take, Diorella housed in the Serge Mansau space-age flacon better shows the maternal DNA of Diorama: hesperidic notes soon fade and the jasmin and fruits heart beats faster, warmer and grown up to the troubling, almost leathery facets of cumin and ambergris. Roudnistka's mastery is even more evident here for while becoming denser, the perfume keeps its lippy humor while wearing an evening gown. She smiles naughty, wrapped in those vibrant orange tinged etnic small patterns Mark Bohan loved so much.

Topnotes: bergamot, citrus, basil, aldehydes, melon, peach
Heartnotes: jasmin, honeysuckle, violet, rosebud, clove, cyclamen
Basenotes: oakmoss, patchouli, sandalwood, vetiver

Diorella Parfum, flacon by Serge Mansau

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