In this regional exclusive A&E discovers the major new fragrance launch by Dior as we talk to perfumer-creator François Demachy.
This month, something special is happening at Dior. For the first time in over 20 year the house is launching a major new perfume and A&E travelled exclusively to Paris for the first look of this new scent and to talk exclusively with its creator.
Dior has always been devoted to women’s happiness and as it presents its first major fragrance launch since in two decades with it, it brings just that. This new fragrance; Joy by Dior is a direct descendent of the Dior ideal, promising to embody happiness in the luxury of an original, never-forgotten glamour. How do they do this? By setting themselves the goal of putting this feeling of joy into a perfume that expresses jubilation, a caress, light, a smile, serene plenitude and strength.
The moody and musky floral fragrance is light and flowery, designed to evoke feelings and emotions depending on the woman’s personality. Described as a ‘smile;’ Joy is for all women, and can be interpreted in a personal, subjective way depending on one’s personality.
Fronted by our former cover star, the incredibly beautiful Jennifer Lawrence (who is already and ambassador for the couture house), the high profile campaign shows Jennifer Lawrence at her most natural and most authentic. A woman who embodies a colourful personality, happiness and sensual femininity she expresses all this scent embodies.
The simple yet elegant bottle provides enough femininity but keeps adheres to the emotional ethos of this scent. The name is engraved in the glass of the bottle and the cap features a thin chain that resembles a bracelet. You can also find a star in the inside of the cap which represents the wink of an eye.
“I was fortunate to know its name from the beginning. And what a name! Short, and lively yet not affected, it is open to all possibilities. to tell it’s story, I chose to create an enveloping scent, marked by softness as well as by energy. Joy By Dior is a breath of air, a path one travels, which carries you away,” says François Demachy
No one knows this fragrance better than Dior Perfumer-Creator François Demachy. A man with decades of experience creating fragrances for luxury houses, François is so passionate about his work and takes great pride in presenting this scent that took two years of development and production.
François’ love of perfume stems from his childhood. Growing up in Grasse he attended Perfumery school and took inspiration from the rural environment, crossing fields of flowers on a daily basis. After a long career in luxury fragrance François joined Dior and has worked on reinventing some of the brands most iconic fragrances. The launch of Joy however is the most significant since he joined the house and he has been the creator, nose and visionary of this scent since the beginning.
Here in this exclusive interview he takes us through his vision and background to this new iconic scent.
What do you want us to know about this perfume?
Perfume is always about illusion. The way you look at it and what you smell in a perfume is extremely personal because it’s your way of interpreting a story to suit yourself. You might want to see it as an extension of yourself or you might want to see it as a way of hiding your personality. It’s very personal but it always tells something, there is always a message.
What we propose is a perfume that is made up of different ingredients. It’s the way that you wear it that makes it come alive – otherwise it is just a dead liquid sitting on the shelf. So it’s you who wears it and you who animates it and envelopes the perfume. The perfume is you and your message.
How do you translate the emotion of joy in a perfume?
I was given just the name to begin with, that was my brief. Interpreting ‘joy’ is something quite difficult because joy is a feeling, it is a sentiment and it is perceived as per your own education, your background, your culture and the mood that you are in at present. It’s something extremely personal, so I was not sure if translating ‘joy’ would resonate with everyone in the same way. So I looked for something that was closest to joy and for me that was light. Light was an easier phenomenon to interpret in the same way by all. What is it? It is a wavelength rather than an emotion, so it was easier to transcribe that into a perfume. That was my first approach. So the light in the perfume is more enveloping, it’s vibrant, it’s glowing and sometimes it is there in excess. That was my interpretation of it bringing it vibrancy.
Dior already has a big range of perfumes, so for whom did you decide to create this scent?
We were not looking to design the perfume for a specific category of women. We didn’t have that marketing approach when we were thinking of making the perfume. Of course you can make a perfume for a given category or age group but that is certainly not my approach. It is the client who decides eventually what she wants, she follows her heart, she doesn’t go by her age to decide on a perfume. I didn’t want to replace any of the perfumes we have already, I was looking for a completely new direction something very different. There was one that had been slightly touched upon by Dune – one of our older perfumes – and that was the base note that was musky – so that was the direction I was going in as I feel we haven’t done enough of musk.
It is your first major fragrance launch for Dior – how was the process different from other fragrances you have created?
It’s always an adventure creating a perfume because it is always a jump into the unknown and creating a perfume for women for such a prestigious house like this one is not easy. It leads to a lot of anguish, and all of that is greatly magnified because it is such a great house. But all of that and being on your toes and suffering is part of the job. The thing is that it’s the doubt that pushing you on, that is the fun of creation, you explore, you take risks – it adds spice to life. So yes indeed there were lots of expectations on this. Let me tell you I had no restrictions, except perhaps time, but even that I am exaggerating because if push came to shove I could have postponed the launch but we didn’t need to. So if you ask me how long it took – two years. The whole process took two years, the perfume itself was much shorter, it’s just that the rest is more complicated.
So what was the creative process you went through for this fragrance?
When I work on a project I normally work not just in one direction as that’s just a bit risky, I work on three. Even then you never know, all three could be a dead end, you can never be sure. Anyway we had lots of trials and tests. Even the trials and tests don’t mean that you’re making progress as sometimes there can be set backs. The sample that was finally selected, they selected it I didn’t because I can never end it, I can never stop. There were hundreds of tests and trials and eventually it came back to my initial proposition! Because what I did later was not any better. In fact people tend to compare creativity to construction but it’s not like that, it’s not linier. What was beautiful about this particular project was that once it clicked everything moved very quickly in one direction.
Why do you think particular fragrance will do well in today’s market?
Well, we will see if it does well! After the major trend of very gourmand perfumes we are back to more intimistic notes. It is also in line with the woman and how she has evolved in today’s society – she is more herself, and less of what she appears to want to be. Gourmand – that fashion really made a deep impression on everything not just perfume – it was seen in cooking, in clothing in mindset. Gourmand perfume is easier to smell, it was accessible to all, everyone was familiar with that red fruity note you have with the sweetness. This was all because it met a need in society. This cannot be ignored it is certainly still there but the trends and demands of types of fragrance are definitely changing.
What can you tell us about the notes and the composition of the fragrance?
So to talk about the ingredients we have the floral family and the woody family and the musky family. Why floral? Because it’s Dior and it’s in their DNA. Woody and musky because musk is made from very heavy molecules and it is interpreted differently depending on who is smelling it. So it had to be enveloped – we did that with sandalwood which enhanced the smell of the musk. What is extremely important is that with all the materials we mix together there is the aesthetic aspect of it and the volatility of each of these items – because when we mix them it needs to work. Sandalwood and musk for example have the same kind of volatility. In floral you’ve got jasmine, the essence of rose from Bulgaria and Turkey. These are all initiated by volatile notes like bergamot and mandarin.
A perfume is not just assembling things – it’s not just nuts and bolts that you put together. I have a friend who is a perfumer and when he is asked the question about what the ingredients are in the perfume he says “do you ever ask a great artist which paints he uses in his artwork?” For me it is a bit like that! But I don’t feel it’s art as much as he does, for me it is a handcraft.
THE VIBRANT SMILE OF FLOWERS AND CITRUS FRUITS
Instant jubilation takes the shape of zested Bergamot and Mandarin heightened by aldehydes, which all unite to make flowers soar. Rose, in both Essence and Absolute form, as well as heady Jasmine, blend with these juicy fruits in a vibrant smile.
THE SMOOTH CARESS OF WOOD
Instantly, one also feels enveloped and caressed by a delightfully smooth and milky wood. This warm and creamy Sandalwood is a mellow embrace, sustained by a slight touch of Cedar and a hint of Patchouli.
THE SERENITY OF MUSKS
From among the large Musk family, a careful selection of notes are played, ma non troppo, to envelop the whole in a light, powdery breath of air. Evanescent Musks encounter the woods and flowers that fill them out and personify them. The effect is one of tender skin-to-skin contact, like an intimate, softly sensual signature.