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Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Perfume Review: Christian Dior Diorama

You are going to the Opéra and are dressed in the most expensive of silks and furs. You are rather bored with your adoring companion and spend the drive looking with slight disdain from the window of the Rolls at the nocturnal Paris. Your nose buried in the collar of your mink coat, you find yourself delighting in tonight’s perfume. You wonder if you could possibly be smelling melons, their luscious scent bursting with sunshine. There is something sparkly in this fragrance, almost champagne-like. Combined with the fruits (you think there might also be peaches and plums), the fizzy note seems so wonderfully joyful, like a happy smile…no, more than that- like unrestrained laughter…it is almost out of place in your life, which lately seems plagued by ennui.

In the Opéra, your carelessly shrug off your furs into the arms of your escort. The show is dull and too long. The only exciting aspect of the evening seems to be your perfume. Every time you get little whiffs of it, your heart flutters a little. Never before did you find a scent to be not simply agreeable, but as meaningful and beautiful as a peace of art. Discretely smelling your wrist, you realize that the scent has changed, and although a little of the fruitiness you liked in the beginning still lingers, white flowers are now in full bloom, mostly jasmine, with perhaps some roses thrown in for good measure. They smell intoxicating, like a garden at night…pitch-dark night somewhere far, far away from here, somewhere exotic, where the life is full of danger and ardor…

During the intermission, you sip champagne, enjoying just a little bit the admiring stares of the men and the furtive jealous glances of their women. Your perfume smells warmer now; there is something underneath those heady white flowers that is downright dirty ..Something that smells like soil in the garden at night, the soil on which you’d lie in a passionate embrace with someone dark and gorgeous, someone who excites you, who makes your knees weak and your mouth dry…You smile at your lover thinking, what a shame it is that he can never be that somebody…You tell yourself that you must get out of the relationship that has become so tedious and stifling.

On the way home you decide that you will break up with your lover as soon as the car stops, before he suggest he sees you inside. Nose buried in a collar of your fur-coat, you marvel at what a total waste of a beautiful evening this outing has proved to be. Breathing in the warm, slightly spicy, strangely comforting notes of your perfume, you suddenly feel as if your heart might simply burst with hope and anticipation of a new beginning…Admiring the lights of Paris, you think of what a bizarrely absurd thing this life is…absurd and beautiful.


Diorama is available at Harrods and at Dior's Boutique Avenue Montaigne in Paris, tel. 00 33 1 40 73 57 95 .

The first image is from operagloves.com.

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62 Comments:

Blogger Ina said...

Ah, beautiful! When it comes to classic Diors, you write like none other. :) It always inspires me to go try the scent again which I just did with Diorama. I think I quite like it, much better than Diorling. Ah, maybe some day I'll grow up enough to love them with a passion.

11:13 PM EDT  
Blogger Bryan said...

Lovely review. I adore the vintage Diors. What of the reformulation for this beauty? I would probably buy the new one, simply because I love Dior, but would love to try the old. Any thoughts?

11:30 PM EDT  
Blogger Kelley said...

There are times when I read your reviews and I feel as if I am intruding in a fantasy...and I feel naughty! And I like it! Your writing is breathtaking and I am looking forward to a juicy novel, soon!

You make me want to throw caution and my homophobic upbringing to the wind and wear Diorama simply because it is so beautiful. (sigh)

12:05 AM EDT  
Blogger tmp00 said...

My dear Columbina-

Every so often (like twice a week) you write a review so lyrical, so transportive that I rush off to eBay and gnash my teeth until I can score some of the juice you describe. This is one of them. I have no real desire to wear mink or go to the opera, but that faint grinding noise you hear in the west is me, and it well likely continue until I can whiff this...

12:56 AM EDT  
Blogger Madelyn said...

Dear Columbina,
Ina, Bryan, Kelley and tmpOO have said it all ..your prolific review of Diorama is ,in a word, magical!
I , for a moment, was transported far away from my cluttered desk to a timeless place where fantasy becomes reality. A night at the opera.. promise of romance .. of dreams fulfulled.. possibilities unknown..
I too, know of the secret delight of sniffing my perfumed wrist . Scent metamorphasizes to an intoxicant, nontheless, legal .. leads us to a momentary instant of heightened senses..
Your beautiful writing really moved me - all the way to the Dior Paris website .. almost all the way to make this gorgeous scent my own.

2:55 AM EDT  
Blogger carmencanada said...

Lovely review... minus the opera and Diorama, I've lived that story (one of the perks of owning a much lived-in body and soul)... I'd like to know which version of Diorama you've reviewed. I've never tested any, and at the boutique where they sell it, they don't have a tester.

3:34 AM EDT  
Blogger Octavian said...

Diorama is not available in Paris avenue Montaigne ! It was available some years ago.

3:46 AM EDT  
Anonymous dinazad said...

Beautiful! Thank you!

P.S. and now to put Diorama on my wishlist....

4:15 AM EDT  
Anonymous Leopoldo said...

Indeedily, you capture well that lovely smell.

4:29 AM EDT  
Blogger carmencanada said...

Octavian, then I'm showing my age... I thought they still had them. I asked for Diorling last year and they said they had it, but no testers... Pity. They really should pull a Guerlain on this one but it doesn't seem to be "le style de la maison".

7:25 AM EDT  
Blogger elle said...

This is why I love the classic Diors so much - they can totally transport you to another world. *Wonderful* review. And am tapping fingers here, impatiently waiting for the continuation of this story.

7:59 AM EDT  
Blogger lilyofbp said...

With everyone else, I will say, "Lovely review!" And I do love vintage Diors. I think Diorling is my favorite, but this is clearly a masterpiece, too.

8:32 AM EDT  
Blogger colombina said...

Ina,
Thank you! Diorling is a dry, sober old thing (said lovingly), I think it is harder to get to know and to love than Diorama. We'll make a Dior Fanatic out of you yet :-P

8:32 AM EDT  
Anonymous March said...

You are just a shameless Dior slut, you know that? Is Mr. C aware of your dalliance with Dior? (Probably turns him on...)

8:32 AM EDT  
Blogger colombina said...

Bryan,
The one I was talking about was bought at Harrods about a year ago, I believe. At the time the person who bought it was told that it was an old batch, pre-reformulation, whatever that means. I would love to smell vintage Diorama. But I would buy reformulated one in a heartbeat if only it was more easily available.

8:34 AM EDT  
Blogger colombina said...

Kelley,
Hee! :-) To heck with upbringing! besides, for some reason I have a feeling that on a man's skin that those warm, dirty notes would be much stronger and will turn the scent into something less feminine.

8:36 AM EDT  
Blogger colombina said...

Tom,
You say the nicest things! I am stalking ebay for Diorama. Should I succeed in obtaining it, some of it will be winging its way to you.

8:37 AM EDT  
Blogger colombina said...

Dear Madelyn,
Thank you so much for your kind words. There is nothing like a scent that is so evocative, it transports us far from our reality...

8:39 AM EDT  
Blogger colombina said...

D,
The Diorama I reviewed was bought at Harrods about a year ago. The lovely person who purchased it and shared some with me was told that it was pre-reformulation. That is all I know of the matter :-) I would dearly love to compare it with old Diorama.

8:40 AM EDT  
Blogger colombina said...

Dear Octavian,
I have an email from Dior, dated December 2, 2006, which states, and I quote:

" We inform you that our fragrances DIORAMA and DIORLING are only available in our Boutique in Paris. Although you cannot purchase our products online, you can send your order by fax to our Boutique Avenue Montaigne in Paris, France at the following number :

00 33 1 40 73 57 95

Dior Dior is no longer available."

It would be truly sad if the two scents were not available even at Dior headquarters anymore.

8:42 AM EDT  
Blogger colombina said...

D,
Thank you! It's been on my wishlist for ever.

8:43 AM EDT  
Blogger colombina said...

Leopoldo,
Thank you!

8:43 AM EDT  
Blogger colombina said...

D,
I was told last year they did have them, but...who knows?

No testers?? Shame on them!

8:43 AM EDT  
Blogger colombina said...

L,
Thank you! But if I wrote any more like this, Francoise Sagan's estate would sue me for sure. Tee hee.

8:45 AM EDT  
Anonymous newproducts said...

Wonderful review! I can tell how much you love this scent by the beauty of your review. Is Diorama a chypre or an oriental, M? I can't seem to find much information on it.

8:47 AM EDT  
Blogger colombina said...

J,
It's hard for me to choose a favorite. I love Diorama, Diorling and Miss Dior equally. Funny how Diorling, although definitely hard to get, is still possible to find on eBay for a more or less doable price, whilst Diorama is hardly ever there and if it is, the price is...ouch!

8:47 AM EDT  
Blogger colombina said...

March,
I totally am :-) And I betcha that if he knew, he totally would be :-)

8:48 AM EDT  
Blogger colombina said...

M,
Thank you. I would call it a chypre. Some days I want to call it a floral chypre, soe days a leathery/woody chypre, but it is always a chypre on me.

8:49 AM EDT  
Blogger Flor said...

Oh, that was wonderful!!! I was there with you. Thanks for the amazing review. It's such a shame it's so difficult to track down, and quite unfair as well. I remember I smelled it once on a friend of my mother's, your description took me back. Heavenly!

10:28 AM EDT  
Blogger colombina said...

Thank you, Flor!
Maybe we should write a petition for Dior to make these scents more widely available...

10:31 AM EDT  
Blogger Patty said...

I had a date like that once, but it was a country western concert in California with a guy that got drunk, insisted he wanted to marry me, and my cousins had to come rescue me.

your little reverie sounds so much better than my bad dates/lovers. I still can't quite get my nose around the vintage Diors, they just don't send me, but every time I read one of your reviews, I wish they did!

10:54 AM EDT  
Blogger donanicola said...

Where do I start! First, thank you so much for this evocative and beautifully informative review. I have been curious since I found my grandmother's (sadly all used up) tiny bottle of this - I believe in parfum strength. It was still in its presentation box too. She must have loved it and I thought from the remnants I would too. However you mentioned the "m" word. Melon. And of course it's Roudnitska and what ruins Parfum de Therese for me is melon. I really can't cope with it. Is it very obvious? Lastly, I saw Diorling in Harrods a month ago (and its close to the top of my to buy list for summer - I fell for it hard)but I didn't see Diorama.... think I might have to revisit soon......

11:07 AM EDT  
Blogger colombina said...

Patty,
Western concert, opera, same thing, if the excitement is not there, it sucks anyway :-)

11:29 AM EDT  
Blogger colombina said...

Donanicola,
Yes, melon is there, and yes it does smell very Roudnitska and like it is closely related to Therese (which it obviously is).
If you do go to Harrods, and if you have a chance, could you check if they have Diorama and how much it costs? :-) Thank you!

11:31 AM EDT  
Blogger donanicola said...

yes, I will check and report back!

11:35 AM EDT  
Blogger colombina said...

Thank you!!

12:07 PM EDT  
Blogger boisdejasmin said...

Lovely review! Some aspects of it (beautiful dresses, beautiful perfume, champagne and long dull opera) immediately reminded me of an evening my mother and I experienced. The only thing that saved us from the unusually awful opera evening we attended was the beautiful Chagall painted ceiling of Opera Garnier. We could see it really well from our box. It was enjoyable nevertheless.

Diorama and Diorling are indeed available from the Dior boutique on Avenue Montaigne. At least, as of last month.

12:38 PM EDT  
Blogger colombina said...

V,
Oh I wish I could see thatc eiling too!
I am so glad Diorama and Diorling are indeed available at least at their HQs.

12:52 PM EDT  
Blogger Cait Shortell, Editor said...

A trip back to Paris is obviously in order then, to go to the boutique and get this. Do you think they have enough bottles for all of us? I have loved thinking about the evolution of this sort of fragrance in the scope of Roudnitska's work after reading Michael Edwards' book. Thank you for this exploration of Diorama.

1:00 PM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I need to lose the tagline, "editor" and get something more like "her highness" or "la fabulosa"

1:01 PM EDT  
Blogger colombina said...

Cait,
Is the next comment yours too? If so, yes, you should have the La Fabulosa tagline.

1:40 PM EDT  
Anonymous Maria B. said...

Beautiful review, Colombina! You are the Queen of Dior. I wonder if to bring off Diorama, one must wear silk and furs? (I don't know the fragrance. I just wondered.)

The blogger mechanism keeps rejecting my letters. Grrr.

1:43 PM EDT  
Blogger colombina said...

Maria,
Thank you! :-) Nah, doesn't have to be silk and fur...but I probably wouldn't dare wear it with jeans and a t-shirt :-)

1:46 PM EDT  
Anonymous evilpeony said...

In the midst of such beauty, all cruelty is forgiven and forgotten.

i'm glad you're well.

4:00 PM EDT  
Blogger colombina said...

E,
The cold is still dragging on. Wrote this with fever of like 200...which totally shows, haha :-)

4:09 PM EDT  
Blogger IrisLA said...

What beautiful writing! Dior should hire you to write copy for them. :o)

4:41 PM EDT  
Blogger colombina said...

Hee! Thank you, Iris, you are very kind!

4:45 PM EDT  
Blogger Solander said...

Absolutely beautifully written! The scent doesn't sound remotely as beautiful (I don't like melons) but no matter.

5:13 PM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

beautiful imagery and story. i love this one and am hoarding the half-bottle i found at an antiques store. it reminds me very much of femme de rochas and piguet's visa - ripe, animalic, sexy, and full-on female. - minette

5:19 PM EDT  
Blogger colombina said...

S,
It's not a scary melon, it's a Roudnitska melon. There is also some leather...see, I am trying to lure you in :-)

5:24 PM EDT  
Blogger colombina said...

Minette,
OK, now I have to try Visa! I do get not so much a similarity per se as a ...how to put it? I do feel that Diorama and Femme are most definitely the daughters of the same father :-) Roudnitska's stamp is absolutely unmistakable.

5:26 PM EDT  
Blogger carmencanada said...

Femme... you had to say Femme... Now I need Diorama (no I don't, no I don't, says my banker). I really have to go to the avenue Montaigne store and get to the bottom of this.

5:33 PM EDT  
Anonymous timam said...

M, I risk of repeating myself, but you should start writing a novel. soon. seriously.
and what a beauty Diorama must be to inspire such talents and poetic words...

5:56 PM EDT  
Blogger colombina said...

D,
You really must go there, find out, smell and report!! :-)

6:43 PM EDT  
Blogger colombina said...

Oh, Tina, you are too kind! Thank you so much! :-)

6:43 PM EDT  
Blogger TMH256 said...

Fantastic! A work of art columbina. Maybe someday I'll get around to trying the scent. But in the meantime, I'll thoroughly enjoy your prose. :-)

7:50 PM EDT  
Blogger colombina said...

Thank you, Tamara! :-)

8:15 PM EDT  
Blogger NowSmellThis said...

M, what a lovely post! I have not tried Diorama, but still lusting after Dior Dior so perhaps don't need another vintage lemming :-)

8:38 PM EDT  
Blogger colombina said...

R,
I bet you'll love it. You love Therese and Diorella and Dior-Dior...

8:44 PM EDT  
Blogger pianofan said...

I used Diorama all through the 70's so was interested in the reformulation. Bought a sample of it on Ebay and was very disappointed: only remotely reminiscent of the original Diorama. Next, I emailed Harrod's and asked them if anyone there mentioned the discrepancy between new and vintage Diorama. Harrod's parfumier claimed they were exactly alike.

My sister, another Diorama fanatic, also thought the reformulation was way off the mark. We're wondering if Dior ran out of some crucial ingredient, which would explain why it took Diorama off the market in the first place and also why the new Diorama isn't quite Diorama.

We're still on the hunt for the vintage Diorama but, as others have noted, whenever we find some, it's hideously expensive.

Has anyone else had a chance to compare vintage Diorama with the reformulation?

12:12 PM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dior is perfect!!!Dior perfumes, Dior sunglasses, Dior at all is fabulous!

10:11 AM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

There is a vintage bottle on ebay Christian Dior Diorama item # 110198928083 hope this helps you get what you wish for!

9:16 AM EST  

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