Christian Dior Miss Dior : Perfume Review

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Star rating: 5 stars–outstanding/potential classic, 4 stars–very good, 3 stars–adequate, 2 stars–disappointing, 1 star–poor.

Who is Miss Dior? She is half Anna Karenina, half Brett Ashley. Created for Christian Dior Parfums, Miss Dior appears to be lady-like and soigné, and yet it hints at the worn darkness of leather saddles and the smoke of slender cigarettes. Although one can enjoy Miss Dior for what it is—a gorgeous classical chypre with a unique green freshness, I find that understanding its context heightens my appreciation for its heartbreaking beauty. Born in 1947, the fragrance carries connotations of the hunger for glamour, the austerity of war and the hopes for future. …

The birth of Miss Dior coincides with Christian Dior’s first fashion show held in a salon on the avenue Montaigne in Paris on February 12th, 1947. In a rebellious move against the austerity imposed by the cloth rations and the angular lines of wartime fashions, Dior showcased the strikingly feminine collection of cinched waists, softly rounded shoulders and voluminous ankle length skirts. “It’s quite a revolution, dear Christian. Your dresses have such a new look,” remarked Carmel Snow, editor-in-chief of Harper’s Bazaar. New Look became a phrase that would symbolize this collection, which resuscitated the French fashion industry and led tp Dior receiving the Legion of Honor from the French government.

Miss Dior fragrance complimented the freshness, exuberance and elegance of Dior’s fashion line. It was the synergy of haute couture and perfume at its best. The fragrance was created by Paul Vacher based on a formula composed by Jean Carles (who also composed Carven Ma Griffe, Dana Tabu and Myrurgia Maja.) Michael Edwards’s French Perfume Legends tells that Dior was fascinated by the roughhewn appeal of Chypre de Coty (1917) and the vivid verdancy of Balmain’s Vent Vert (1947). These two accords are fused in Miss Dior, their contrasting elements harmonized by the opulent floral heart.

Miss Dior does not reveal her charms upon the first encounter, requiring a longer and patient acquaintance, especially for those who are used to the eager-to-please modern fragrances. The green pepper sharpness of galbanum is underpinned by a classical gardenia note, which is bright, dry and intriguingly metallic. These effervescent notes slowly melt into the floral heart of Miss Dior, and yet the animalic darkness is never far behind. Soon the chypre base that supports the refinement of floral notes takes center stage. The composition becomes veiled in duskiness, which is punctuated by the gilded warmth of patchouli. The woman who wears Miss Dior projects the most exquisite elegance paired with confidence and resolve of character—a truly alluring combination.

Like many classical fragrances, Miss Dior has not reached us in its original state. The changes to the formula led to the attenuated base and limpid floralcy, to the unbecoming pallor of its chypre accord and the disappointing softness of its top notes. To think that something so strong, so assertive and so distinctive was to be turned into a wallflower!

Christian Dior Miss Dior contains notes of gardenia, galbanum, bergamot, clary sage, jasmine, narcissus, neroli, rose, patchouli, oakmoss, labdanum, sandalwood. It is available from Saks5thAvenue, Neiman Marcus and other Dior retailer locations.

Dress from Christian Dior’s Haute couture collection, autumn/winter 1953. From Design Museum.

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42 Comments

  • Madelyn E: Dear Victoria,
    I can’t believe my eyes .. Miss Dior was one of my mainstays during my college years into my late 20’s ! I agree wholeheartedly with your as always. eloquent review. Yes, Miss Dior is an acquired taste . It starts off as a green floral with a kind of sharpness .. and slowly settles into a comfortable yet assertive chypre rose drydown. It is a ladylike scent sort of like Sisley’s new Soir De Lune. Ingenues need not apply. When I am near a Dior counter , I love revisting my old friends.. Diorissimo. Dioressence, Diorella and my favorite Miss Dior. I always associated it with a feeling of well-being. It was true aromatherapy . It is unique – what else smells like it in the vintage and/or contemporary fragrance market ?
    V, have you tested the eau de Parfum and compared it with the Eau de Toilette ? I just did .. Xmas week in Saks 5th Ave. NY. I thought I would prefer the EDP, but I actually considered the EdT rich enough.
    I even remember Diorama from the 60’s. (can’t find it anymore though.)
    I feel like running out and getting a bottle of the familiar black and white checkered bottle . Miss Dior is truly special ! February 1, 2007 at 1:58am Reply

  • flacon007: Miss Dior is one of my not very early fragrant memories – my grandmother used to have it for the last years of her life. I know that I always liked this fragrance thinking on how deep, fresh in an unusual way and bitter-sweet it is. It reminded me of fresh bitter almonds just picked up from a tree. February 1, 2007 at 3:35am Reply

  • Elizabeth: I have loved Miss Dior for more than 30 years. I have the parfum in both vintage and new formulas, and I find the new version just as lovely on me, though it has a slightly different balance (the drydown is still perfection). A few years ago, I was working in Paris and living alone. On Christmas Eve at noon, my company let everyone go home early, but I had nothing to go home to. Then I had an inspiration: I went to the Dior flagship boutique to buy myself a fresh bottle of Miss Dior, and was pampered beyond belief with perfect service and a bagful of samples. I walked out feeling terribly chic and special — and not quite so homesick. February 1, 2007 at 6:54am Reply

  • k-amber: I fell in love with fragrances at the first time was CDs, Miss Dior and Diorella. At that time, being 14 year old girl, Miss Dior was too elegant. Diorella is still one of my absouute favorite CD. Luckly I have a vintage Diorella parfume and wish I could have vintage Miss Dior. Those fragrances associate with graceful Rene Gruau illustrations that I adore.
    Thank you for fascinating review, as always.

    Kaori February 1, 2007 at 7:27am Reply

  • aryse: Sorry Victoria but I think there is a little problem with Miss Dior.
    As you said : Miss Dior did not reached us in its original state.
    In my opinion, the version which is sold actually is very common and it has not the beauty of the original.
    I smelled the first version at the Osmothèque and, for me, the fragrance of today is only the shadow of 1947.
    For the small history, Miss Dior was created in homage to the sister of Christian Dior: Catherine February 1, 2007 at 7:43am Reply

  • Judith: Thank you so much for this wonderful, informative review of one of my favorite perfumes. I treasure my vintage Dior amphores, and I agree that it’s a shame that the house seems to have watered down (or discontinued) its best perfumes (mourning Diorling here, as well). Like Elizabeth, I find the modern version lovely–but it’s just not in the same league (for me at least). February 1, 2007 at 7:45am Reply

  • Elle: Anna K and Brett Ashley – what an absolutely genius association for Miss Dior! 🙂 I always struggle when asked to choose one absolute favorite perfume, but I have to confess this would be my choice. I started wearing it when I was eight (father bought it for my mother, who wouldn’t wear it, so I did) and have worn it consistently ever since. OK, at eight I was hardly projecting the elegance and confidence which this perfume deserves, but even then, it gave me the mental image of who and how I wanted to be when I grew up – still working on that and am now guessing I’ll get there in my next incarnation or maybe the one after that, but it’s still a noble goal. 🙂 Thanks for such a wonderful review! February 1, 2007 at 7:52am Reply

  • March: Gorgeous, gorgeous review. And fun reading everyone’s comments. While I would like a bottle of vintage Miss Dior, what I *really* want is that amazing dress!!! I mourn vintage styles almost as much as vintage fragrances, they fit me beautifully, but I worry as I get older that at some point they’re going to quit looking chic and quirky on me, and start making me look like a nut. February 1, 2007 at 8:50am Reply

  • Tania: That thing they’re calling Miss Dior now is depressing. February 1, 2007 at 10:31am Reply

  • Linda: Another wonderful review: it was a happy start to a lovely early spring day, and I felt pleased that here is a fragrance that I already know. I took a sniff this afternoon, thought to myself, “No, you cannot buy two fragrances in one week!” and reluctantly decided to wait. I think that perfume is so evocative and immediately conjures up long forgotten memories: straightaway I was in the sixth form at school in an English lesson. My teacher was a very smart lady and always wore this perfume. Oh that I was eighteen again! I do so agree with the first comment which I read early this morning: “ingenues need not apply”! So true… Thank you for this website, for the gorgeous photo of the black dress, and thank you MadelynE too. I always enjoy reading your comments! February 1, 2007 at 11:24am Reply

  • aimtx: I hardly ever see even the new version of Miss Dior, only Miss Dior Cherie, which IMHO has been prettied up & dumbed down past the point of wearability. I need to hunt this lady down. February 1, 2007 at 11:27am Reply

  • Flor: I love Miss Dior. I wore it for years in Argentina and it brings back such fond memories. The new formulation is not at all like the original, this is sad. But it’s still lovely and infinitely better than Miss Dior Cherie, so… February 1, 2007 at 12:51pm Reply

  • Marina: A mere mention of Miss Dior makes me happy. Reading a beautiful review like this makes me ecstatic. *swoons* February 1, 2007 at 2:02pm Reply

  • LisaCarol: Lovely review! I’d never really thought of it as a child of it’s time in that way, but the way you put it makes, well, it so much more logic. I’m not familiar with the vintage Miss Dior, but considering my appreciation for the current version I would be surprised if it would not have me swooning. I’d guess the harshness I percieve in the topnotes would not be present in the vintage?
    Miss Dior is my “confidence” scent, as if I was wearing a New Look corset it makes me stand up straight and believe in myself. I find I reach for it on days when I have to stand up for my causes, when I need to be convincing – and it usually works. On me, it simply says “don’t mess with me”! February 1, 2007 at 4:02pm Reply

  • carmencanada: While I haven’t tried the current scent, the various vintage versions I own do start with quite a bracing note, almost bitter — a galbanum and clary sage blast. To me it is a sister scent to Jolie Madame; Diorling was somewhat along the same line with the addition of quinoline. What a pity this spirited, chic line of chypres has died down; with the new regulations, there will be no chance of experiencing them in all their glory. February 1, 2007 at 4:48pm Reply

  • stephania: I feel lucky because my mother has got a vintage bottle of Miss Dior, and it’s fascinating: ladylike, but with an hint of bitterness and sadness. And sexy, of course. Recently, I smelled the new version and I immediately noticed how “fresher” and simpler it is. I won’t buy it. I hope you will review Dioressence one day, it’s my favourite Dior, I think the combination of green notes and amber is genius! February 2, 2007 at 4:52am Reply

  • chayaruchama: Sadly, the newer version, while pretty, lacks the edginess of the original- along with the more satisfying drydown.
    There appears to be less finesse in it, as well.

    You’ve made Marinochka very happy, with your lovely review !
    [Me, too]

    Take care… February 2, 2007 at 11:47am Reply

  • mimi: Hi there, I really love your reviews -captures each fragrance so aptly in their beauty. It feels different wearing that scent before I read your review and after reading your review on that scent somehow -perhaps it helps me to understand what I am wearing. Thank you….

    Just wondering if you could do a review on Armani Black Code pour femme soon? I’m wearing the sample, but I don’t understand the scent. But I am so totally in love with the scent February 3, 2007 at 10:33pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Madelyn, how wonderful to discover that I reviewed yet another absolute favourite that was worn and loved by someone and that the person in question shared this with the rest of us here. Thank you! I am partial to the parfum, although other concentrations are very beautiful. I find that even Dior’s colognes (vintage) are amazing in terms of tenacity and sillage. I wore Diorama this weekend, and I will revisit more of Dior’s range in the coming weeks. February 4, 2007 at 10:00pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Dmitri, thank you! I love your comparison of Miss Dior to green almonds. What a beautiful and precise way of putting it. February 4, 2007 at 10:01pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Elizabeth, it is always wonderful to revisit something you once loved and find it perfect still. Perhaps, it is a recent change, but I tried Miss Dior at the counter last week and took a sample home. It was nothing like the vintage or even what I tried a few years ago. No doubt, the recent changes in regards to the oakmoss in compositions have affect Dior’s formulas too. February 4, 2007 at 10:10pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Kaori, luckily, it is very easy to find vintage Miss Dior on Ebay. Just be sure that the liquid is not too dark. I love Diorella. I cannot believe that I still have not reviewed it! February 4, 2007 at 10:12pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Aryse, thank you very much! I did not know this story, but I will now add it to my Miss Dior notes. February 4, 2007 at 10:13pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Judith, I seem to recall that you can still buy Diorling from Harrod’s. However, perhaps, I am confusing it with Diorama. I know that someone who comments here ordered from them, and I always meant to ask how it compares to the original. February 4, 2007 at 10:14pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Elle, thank you very much! I feel very much the same way about Miss Dior, although I think that if I were forces to choose, I would be in a very tough situation. I would have to pick between Miss Dior and Doblis! February 4, 2007 at 10:16pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: March, I do not think so! I think that you will always have a spirit to carry them off. Thank you, I am glad that you liked the review. It is difficult for me to review fragrances I especially love, because I always try to do a proper tribute to them (trying to avoid 30 page treatises on the topic, however). 🙂 Well, whatever one can say about Miss Dior, one can always find something else to admire in it. February 4, 2007 at 10:18pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: T, I agree completely! It is sad. February 4, 2007 at 10:18pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Linda, thank you very much! I also enjoy reading the commentary, especially to fragrances people love (or sometimes the ones they hate too). We all create our own connections with our favourites. I think that I have always had a very specific image of Miss Dior in my mind, and how interesting for me to find that this image has stayed the same even many years later. February 4, 2007 at 10:20pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: A, I agree. Miss Dior Cherie is nowhere close to Miss Dior. February 5, 2007 at 1:36pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Flor, it is true. While it is not close to the original, it is better than Miss Dior Cherie. February 5, 2007 at 1:38pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Marina, thank you very much! I am glad to hear this. 🙂 February 5, 2007 at 1:39pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: LisaCarol, this is exactly how I feel when I wear Miss Dior. The top notes of the vintage are even more assertive than those of the new version. It is an explosion of galbanum, much like Vent Vert. Nevertheless, the composition is so perfectly balanced that they are not grating. February 5, 2007 at 1:42pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: D, I agree with you. It is sad to discover that Miss Dior was tempered with, but what can be done about the regulations. I can see why changes might take place, but it makes me sad nevertheless. February 5, 2007 at 1:43pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Stephania, very true. The new version is fresher, more floral, rather than more chypre. I treasure my bottles. February 5, 2007 at 1:44pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Chaya, I am happy on both counts! 🙂 February 5, 2007 at 1:44pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Mimi, thank you very much! I am glad to hear this. I was planning to do a review of Armani Code for a while, so it might be coming up soon. February 5, 2007 at 1:45pm Reply

  • ken: i like to spray this on my pillows as i like going to bed with miss dior (pls excuse the rather naughty pun). the slight bitterness evokes a clean and strangely calming image. like smelling freshly-sunned linens… if u know what i mean. May 28, 2012 at 2:51am Reply

  • Elizabeth J: Your remarks on the Miss Dior personality suit my late aunt to a “T”. When I was nine, she gave me a small bottle of Miss Dior with about an eighth of fragrance left, in its green and white striped silk pouch. And that’s how I always remember her, by her signature fragrance. May 9, 2013 at 7:40pm Reply

  • Ally: I am a latecomer to the Miss Dior party, it is now called ‘originale’. I usually wear Coco Mademoiselle, which is simply delicious, but since having my baby, I feel it smells a little different on me. Not enough to discard it completely, but enough to make me wonder about a change. I discovered Miss Dior purely by chance. I had gone to see how the new Miss Dior (as was Cherie) smelled on me as I had smelled it on my Mother. When I asked for the original, the saleswoman explained that the original was probably not what I was looking for. She sprayed Cherie on a blotter and she was right, it was the fragrance I had already smelled. I asked her to spray the Originale on a blotter and was bowled over! WOWEE! I loved the smell but didn’t think it was for me, but nor was Cherie, so off I went and sniffed my way though several other perfumes inc Flowerbomb by Viktor and Rolf, Flower by Kenzo, a Prada and a La Perla. None did the trick and I went home rather deflated. Letter that evening, my Mum was smelling the blotters I had brought home and she picked up both Miss Diors. The new version was weak but Originale had taken on a whole new dimension. Both of us went weak at the knees and returned to the Dior counter today for a spritz. I’m in love! It’s almost 10 hours since I sprayed and the scent is lingering still. So I have found my new perfume. I think this could be the start of a long and beautiful relationship. March 31, 2014 at 9:10pm Reply

  • Faye: Miss Dior smells so GOOD! June 1, 2014 at 3:14pm Reply

  • cheryl: Am I seeing things, or is the gown pictured above identical to Amal Clooney’s gown at the Globes last Sunday? BTW, I still haev vintag Miss Dior, in the beautiful splash bottle with the houndstooth design and little black bow. I consider myself beyond lucky to own this treasure, and it is still fresh as the day it was born (which is pretty amazing). January 14, 2015 at 1:09pm Reply

    • Victoria: Wow! That’s a precious perfume to have. The original is just stunning. January 14, 2015 at 3:11pm Reply

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