Page 66 - S Summer 2024
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Fresh Notes
Master perfumer Francis Kurkdjian revisits one of Dior’s most beloved fragrances.
By Ebonie Walker
W hen it comes to jasmine, for perfume creation director at Christian Dior Parfums, Francis Kurkdjian, the flower conjures up mental images of extraction methods, harvest periods, and most importantly, the
fragrance he recently created—where the white-petalled flower is the star of the show.
The maison gave Kurkdjian a brief: create a new iteration of the ever- popular Miss Dior perfume. Originally created in 1947, Dior described the fragrance as being born from evenings in Provence, “where young jasmine plays a descant to the melody of the night and the land.” The perfume was the brand’s first foray into fragrance and was endearingly referred to as Dior’s “only child.”
“The words of Christian Dior are powerful and evocative,” says Kurkdjian. “This vision inspired me and guided me to revisit and rewrite the composition of this legendary perfume.”
Creating iconic, enduring, multi-faceted scents isn’t new to the acclaimed perfumer. A trailblazer in his craft, Kurkdjian created best-selling perfumes for some of the most luxurious brands in the world, before launching his eponymous brand in 2009. Just over a decade later and after much success, in 2021, he took his talents to Dior.
“When you smell a jasmine extraction from 1947 and you compare it to something you have today, the jasmine was much deeper,” Kurkdjian explains. “It was fruitier, it was more intense. Today it’s more fluffy, more blooming,” he says, adding that this is a growing trend across many raw materials in the fragrance industry.
So, in order to closely mirror the robust, full scent of its predecessor, Kurkdjian had to re-examine the extraction process. He chose to hand-pick the jasmine in the month of July, at the beginning of the harvest and at the break of day. Then he processed the flowers quickly, using a new technique that better reveals strawberry, peach, and apricot notes. The result is an extract that more closely mirrors the jasmine of the original Miss Dior —one that Kurkdjian describes as more “jammy” than “petal-y”.
Beyond its composition, Kurkdjian wanted to make sure the fragrance’s essence stayed true to its source material, too. Miss Dior was created to be the scent of a young generation rediscovering a taste for life and was often called the “young perfume of the House,” by Dior’s sister, Catherine.
For Kurkdjian, creating a scent that embodies today’s youth meant embracing dichotomy.
“For today’s woman, I think there is something very serious. We are going through heavy moments everywhere on the planet. Politics, environment, economics—it’s a shaky moment,” he says. “On the other [hand] because they are youth, [there] is hope, there is joy, there is lots of fun, lots of things. To me, there is a balance.”
Kurkdjian replicated this sense of balance by pairing the fruity top notes of the fragrance with a well-constructed, woody-amber base that includes patchouli, an Alaskan cedar, and moss.
While Miss Dior may be considered a scent for the younger generation, Kurkdjian says it’s also for the young at heart, because perfume embodies the spirit of the wearer.
“There is an intimacy with perfume. [It] stands apart, even from other beauty products. If you think about lipstick, and eyelashes, and makeup, and colours, and so on, of course, [there’s] intimacy because you put [it] on your face.” Kurkdjian says.
“[But] it doesn’t go deep in your body. It doesn’t touch your gut as much as perfume does. There is something very unique about perfume. None of our luxury accessories can replace it. It’s a state of mind.”

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