Wednesday, January 5, 2011

The Scion, The Stitch, and the Wardrobe: The New Diors

The problem with clever titles is they are only clever if they work.

Christian Dior had no offspring.  So while he and those who have led the House of Dior since his death have certainly kept runway models and certain members of the well-clothed public in stitches since 1946 (with the New Look collection coming one year later, in 1947), I can't really justify a "scion" in the title.

We are, however, going to step into the/a wardrobe.  I'll be talking a little bit about stitches.  And I'm keeping the working title, basting it onto the topic, if you will.

So, come on in.  Let's look at the new Dior fragrance collection.  And wardrobes.

On the other hand, go away.  Go away if you are looking for a well-vetted review.  I haven't played with these enough to make final judgement.*  I'd usually drive these puppies around the block a number more times before writing about them.  Of course, I'd also probably decide I couldn't say anything intelligent about them when it comes to notes or quality, so I'd ditch the first draft, then scratch the second, and just write about stuff.
*of course, I never really come to final judgement; hence label "changed my mind"

So I'm taking a new approach.  Come on in for a review that is all about the first blush of a relationship.

But go away if you like lemmings.  I'm not going to be jumping on the gushing bandwagon.  I heart Octavian, and so many others who were all excited, but not me.

They're not bad by any stretch, mind you.  I'm just not finding them all that.  But I get ahead of myself.

Still here?  Okay, through the doors, and into the wardrobe.

Here's how I ran it:  Seven scents total.  Two at a time, except for the cologne finale.  Made myself stay through their development, close to a computer, so I could huff at regular intervals and take good notes.  (I always--well, almost always--take notes.  But not with derriere so emphatically in the chair.  I think I'm probably the reason why Goldman-Sachs went ahead with that cash infusion to Facebook.  But I digress...)  As I was saying, I took notes for all their development.

For what that was worth.

If some of you need to check on the dog or refresh your cup or generally find something better to do, here's what I'm about to say, thumbnail:  I'm going to muse specifically about the Collection, and about the concept of wardrobes in general, perfume and otherwise.  I'm going to say that there is nothing bad about the collection, but nothing that really rocked my boat.  And I'm going to say why, one by one.

Carry on or come along.

Wardrobes are an interesting concept in perfumery.  I think Chanel got it right, both in concept in execution.  They were at the front of the pack in coming out with a unified flight of smells for your corpus.  You know how you're supposed to have a mutli-purpose dress/suit, a crisp white shirt, a stylish but comfortable sweater, etc. etc.?  It's that, for your nose.  Each bottle a different something, generally different fragrance "families."  Whether you consider an accessory or your under armor, you can select from a green something, a floral something, a leather something...round the horn and ending with cologne.  More or less.  Like that.

Now, mind you, a long standing house like Chanel or Dior or Cartier and others of that lot have been creating perfumes for a while now.  Dior specifically has had an array of choices since the days of houndstooth packaging.  Somehow, in the aughtnots, somebody (marketing? do I hear you?) came up with the idea of packaging a collection.  Perfect.  It's like GRrranimals, I mean multiples, I mean a personal shopper setting you up all in one fell swoop with fragrance.  No brainer.  You know you've got something from all the categories on the food pyramid, I mean family fragrance tree.

In some ways, not a bad idea.  Eases anxiety for those who have trouble making selections, and bumps those who may have previously just been satisfied with a white shirt toward a sleeveless shell and a sweater, too.  I mean, who may have just had a daytime and a nighttime scent to make additional purchases.


The Dior collection offers you leather with a dose of that which the earlier entrants missed, the capstone note of the oughtnots, oud.  Somewhat reliably called "Leather Oud."  There's something green, "Granville."  Something, well, vetiver, though maybe they'd argue other, which is called, ahem, "Vetiver."  A floral number, "Milly-la-Foret."  You gotcher woods in "Mitzah," and another number from the floral family, "New Look 1947."  And a cologne, "Cologne Royale."  You may be noticing a pattern among the names.  Here, let me highlight:  Up front, direct, honest names that tell you just what they are.  Unless they are a floral.*
*(Since "Granville" has a phoenetic relationship to green, I'm going to argue that it is semi-honest.)

After trying them out, I think I know why.  Good idea.  I'd obscure 'em, too.

The fact of the matter is, I don't tend to like florals, and Dior has done nothing to change my mind.  I'm willing to lay blame at each or our doorsteps.  To a certain extent.

Overall, I noticed these themes in the collection:

  • Not a single offering was loud
  • Not a single offering had more than two steps of development
  • Nearly every one seemed to be using good quality stuff (said a la Cheech and Chong)  ((hard to confirm on the florals, as was dealing with some visceral reactions there, especially with New Look 1947))
  • I did not have problems with lasting power some have noted, but I am a documented NOT scent eater
  • I may have to adjust my favorite three colognes list

In order to not set a record for world's longest post, I'm heading to the ropes.  Ringing the bell.  End of Round One.  I'll do specific first look reviews as Round Two.  Wait a minute...that gives me a "scion"!  Child of Installment the First!!  Hooray!!!  I'll post the individual reactions in the next post.  Meanwhile, if you are a fan of florals, we currently have a hung jury on New Look 1947:  For your inspection, here's Patty's review (likes it), and then Muse's review (not so pleased).  In the interest of full disclosure, here's Octavian on New Look 1947.  Blast him.  I have never had cause to question whether or not I would react so differently than he has to a perfume.  Until now.

I've a good friend in nosing around who loves New Look 1947.  I do not.  More tomorrow.

(Toyota) Scion
stitch from Julia's Sewing Blog
wardrobe a la Manhattan Closets


Furriner said...

Wow!! You got these really quick!! I was just looking at ordering the sample set from TPC this morning! I'm realy disappointed you are so, er, disappointed. I look forward to hearing your reviews in more detail.

Josephine said...

GRrranimals...that's pretty damn funny. Loved this 'first blush' review!

I can't imagine falling for any of these perfumes. Not really. Like you, I'm not a floral girl - it's just not my thing. Neither does my skin eat perfume.

In fact, staying power is rarely an issue, except with natural perfumes. This pisses me off, of course, because they are some of the most interesting, original formulations.

Thanks for the post - I relished the whole thing with no break whatsoever. Maybe I'm catching up...

Mals86 said...

I wasn't even interested enough to run through the wardrobe (oh, and your title? LOVED IT), so you're at least one up on me here.

Will be back for more, i.e., Round Two. But still not interested enough to try for myself...

Hey, and the OpenID thang ain't workin', so I had to use my google ID...

ScentScelf said...

Furriner, funny you should say that...I was able to get decants from a person overseas, so I had thought I would have them early December. But one of the bottles was delayed on that end, so...I'm only slightly ahead of the pack, as it were.

More coming.

ScentScelf said...

Josephine, there are times when a floral will surprise me be pulling me in (Kiss Me Tender being a more recent example; I also like DKNY Gold and certain roses.) But the surprise here was more rude than positive.

Lasting power on naturals...the more I dig, the more variation on that I find, but yes, the generalization still holds. I'll come back to that later; I started with the Essentially Me collection, but didn't finish, and have some interesting Lord's Jester items that I've never brought up. Yet.

Hey, nice that you're catching up! :)

ScentScelf said...

No OpenID? Hunh. I wonder if that's Blogger, or me. Let me know next time you visit if you have an issue, okay?

I'm not sure how I'm feeling about my investment at the moment, even at small decant levels. I mean, in the name of exploration, sure...but the budget, she's not so sure...

Marina said...

"Good quality stuff (said a la Cheech and Chong" LOL! Love it. I don't nwo about Scion, but on my turf it would be (Evil) Witch and a Wardrobe, where evil witch is moi. You are sort of damning them with faint praise, but still I feel you liked them a LITTLE more than I did.

ScentScelf said...

Let's put it this way; there are a couple that I won't immediately try to offer to other homes, another couple that I'll wait to pull the trigger on that, and two that are going to be tough for me to force myself to put through their paces again.

Okay, one and a half; this New Look is behaving like a manipulative wench; at the moment, batting its eyes at me and saying "okay, you don't have to love me, or spend time with me, but really? you really think I'm awful??" And no, not at the moment, not awful, just not candy I'm interested in.

But I feel like the moment I offer an affirmation or any sort of leeway, she's going to get all screechy again. Because she bought some more time.

And then again, just now I caught a whiff of tuberose, often my nemesis, and it seemed to be playing nice...

...SEE WHAT I MEAN? Manipulative keeping me on a string. I should have said no and enforced a 30-day no visits separation.