Christian Dior New Look 1947 : Fragrance Review

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New look Newlook

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

Christian Dior New Look 1947 is one of my most disappointing and frustrating discoveries this year. I say it because I absolutely love the voluptuous idea of its tuberose and violet accord and the image of red lipstick glamor that it conveys. Yet on the skin, New Look 1947 feels far too soft spoken and sheer to fully deliver on its promise of bold elegance circa 1940s Paris.

New Look 1947 is composed around a nuanced floral accord of tuberose and violet. As with many other fragrances created by perfumer François Demachy, I find myself enchanted by the lovely harmony that marks his floral notes. The ylang-ylang and jasmine set the apricot jam tone of the composition, while the violet notes have an abstract gourmand quality reminiscent of hot raspberry sauce and sugared petals. The woody and peppery accents offset any overt sweetness. The fragrance never loses its polished and sophisticated aura as it slowly dries down to a caressing base of iris and vanilla.

The powder and lipstick sensation of New Look 1947 is reminiscent of a similar theme explored by recent fragrances like Love, Chloé and L’Artisan Parfumeur Traversée du Bosphore. While Dior’s red lipstick vision is painted in richer floral strokes, the idea is similar. The fragrance feels soft and tender, with a powdery sweetness embellishing the basenotes. Unfortunately as time goes on, New Look 1947 does not build up to any crescendo and simply fades into a vague powdery floral. My hope is that Dior might consider releasing it as the extrait de parfum. Such a beautiful idea certainly deserves to make a grander statement.

Christian Dior New Look 1947 (fragrance family: floral tuberose) is a part of Christian Dior La Collection Couturier Parfumeur. It includes notes of peony, ylang-ylang, pink pepper, jasmine sambac, rose, tuberose, iris, benzoin, and vanilla. Available from the Dior boutiques.

Sample: my own acquisition

Photograph: Richard Avedon, Balenciaga dress on Georgia Hamilton. Not Dior dress, I know, but it captures the spirit of the era that I wanted to find in New Look 1947.

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41 Comments

  • anotherperfumeblog: This sounds interesting, although it’s too bad it fades into powdery floral territory. That certainly isn’t what I think of when I think of the New Look. I may have to seek this out, though, just because it *does* sound so interesting. May 20, 2011 at 4:02am Reply

  • Olfacta: I had the same opinion. Great opening, falls flat. May 20, 2011 at 7:13am Reply

  • Olfactoria: I thought the same, a promise not kept… May 20, 2011 at 7:24am Reply

  • Kitty Gallanis: I agree with all of the comments. However, I think that, overall, it is a very pretty fragrance and I’m still considering buying a bottle. It will work very well for those circumstances when I’m in close quarters with lots of people whose perfume likes/dislikes I don’t know. May 20, 2011 at 8:43am Reply

  • Suzanna: I love the idea of tying a fragrance into that particular fashion trend, but a wimpy powdery floral doesn’t seem tailored enough. What a shame! There was a chance to do something distinctive; this was the era of the big fragrance (sometimes big bad, like Bandit). Sounds as if this mousy floral should have been left on the cutting room floor. May 20, 2011 at 8:45am Reply

  • nstephens@beachcroft.com: Couldn’t agree more. It is a very beautiful parfum trying to break out of a thin edt. May 20, 2011 at 8:51am Reply

  • Style Spy: I love it love it love it, but it disappears – poof! – in no time flat. I’m dying to have some of this, but I’m not willing to throw down the money when it has so little stick. Who do we talk to/petition/yell at to get an EdP? May 20, 2011 at 10:09am Reply

  • mals86: I enjoyed the pale, soft sueded texture of this very, very much, but I was disappointed that it wasn’t MORE floral. I could barely get any tuberose at all out of it (I love tuberose). It was a huge disappointment, and after six attempts to love it, I passed my decant on to someone else. sigh. May 20, 2011 at 10:20am Reply

  • OperaFan: What a shame. This was one I really wanted to try. Perhaps I should wait for the stronger concentrate so not to be too disappointed with the rapid disappearing act. 🙂 May 20, 2011 at 10:53am Reply

  • dee: Haha, V, I LOVED New Look! Loved it!

    That might be because I don’t like tuberose, and I don’t notice it at all in the soft, lovely powdery-ness of the fragrance. My only complaint was that it didn’t last as long as I would have liked…

    I’m just beginning to really appreciate powder notes, so I wonder if that’s why it appeals to me? It has that “silk Slip” feel to it that you described Love, Chloe as having, but gentler. I need to get an actual sample of Love, Chloe so that I can side-by-side test before deciding which silk-slip belongs in my boudoir. 🙂 May 20, 2011 at 12:27pm Reply

  • dee: Ann, don’t give up! The days that I wore it I enjoyed it all day by spraying 3-4 spritzes in the morning, and again at around lunch time… which is the same way that I have to wear Champaca; so I guess I’m saying it’s pretty enough to be worth testing, if you can! 🙂 May 20, 2011 at 12:31pm Reply

  • dee: See, no tuberose! Perfect, LOL! 🙂 May 20, 2011 at 12:32pm Reply

  • Lynn Morgan: Eyew, eyew, eyew, violets! Blech! Always a loathesome note in a perfume. I very often try a fragrance,dislike it without knowing why, and later discover it’s because of the violet note. Tant pis- Dior plays such an iconic role in the realm of both fashion and fragrance (mythology that has only been slightly sullied by former design chief Galliano’s shameful public meltdown). Despite his horrendous recent behaviour, the house of Dior remains one of the glorious names in fashion and perfume, and one nasty hit of violet isn’t going to change that. Diorissimo, anyone? May 20, 2011 at 7:00pm Reply

  • annemariec: Glad you liked NL, dee. Like many other people, I was enchanted by the idea, but disappointed wen I actually smelled it. Love, Chloe has much more substance, but after a lovely opening, it seems to go sour on me. Sigh. Maybe this sort of thing is just not for me. (Today I’m enjoying that sample of Jo-Anne Basset Amazing that you sent.) May 20, 2011 at 7:53pm Reply

  • dee: Thank you for sending it to me! I sprayed it on the hubby shortly after it arrived, and he was like, “wow, this is GOOD!” so I immediately doused myself in it… NL was the fragrance in the line that least interested me, based on the notes, so maybe that’s part of the reason I like it so much—because it was so unexpected?? Well, now I need to try Granville, since I know it stole your heart, and I also am dying to try the Leather Oud… one of these days I’ll actually pay for the giant order sitting in my TPC shopping cart! 🙂 May 20, 2011 at 8:59pm Reply

  • dee: Haha, how do you feel about violets??? I seem to be slowly acquiring a taste for them… May 20, 2011 at 9:00pm Reply

  • Janet in California: I am lucky that this does not turn powdery on me! I love it as a work fragrance and wear it often. And it lasts beautifully. Interesting how it is different on different people. Thank goodness for decants! May 21, 2011 at 12:21am Reply

  • Persolaise: Thanks for the review.

    I just thought I’d point out that New Look 1947 IS an eau de parfum. May 21, 2011 at 3:15am Reply

  • Peura: Hello

    I’ve been a lurker for a long time and want to say I adore your posts. Such insight and knowledge are rare in the blogosphere! <3

    Usually there's really nothing I can comment on as a petty beginner in the world of perfumes, but this time I would like to make a minor note.. The pic of the dress above – its not Dior, its Balenciaga 1953.. The photographer is Richard Avedon, model Georgia Hamilton. Wonderful image, fabulous dress anyway <3

    http://www.richardavedon.com/index.php#mi=2&pt=1&pi=10000&s=11&p=0&a=1&at=0 May 21, 2011 at 3:50pm Reply

  • Victoria: Yes, I was surprised when I saw this on my bottle. Certainly, does not smell like it. May 21, 2011 at 3:55pm Reply

  • Victoria: Thank you for this and for your kind words! It is indeed Balenciaga, not Dior, but I just loved the way it captured the style I so wanted to find in the fragrance. The late 1940s to mid 1950s is one of my favorite periods in fashion. That dress would not look out of place even today. May 21, 2011 at 4:00pm Reply

  • Victoria: Absolutely! Fragrance perception is a personal thing. I am glad to hear that it works so well on you. May 21, 2011 at 4:00pm Reply

  • Victoria: Yeah, Lynn, do tell us how you feel about violets! 🙂
    I cannot imagine perfumery without violet notes though. May 21, 2011 at 4:01pm Reply

  • Victoria: The powdery notes are very subtle in New Look, which is why most people either get them or not. I would say that it is more of a velvety sensation, rather than that of talcum powder. It is lovely. I just wish it were richer. May 21, 2011 at 4:02pm Reply

  • Victoria: I do not mind powdery florals, but I do not care when they are so timid and limpid. Not at all exciting in the end. May 21, 2011 at 4:03pm Reply

  • Victoria: If only it lasted in the same voluptuous, vivid manner. May 21, 2011 at 4:04pm Reply

  • Victoria: Very true, for those days when one does not want a strong statement fragrance, it might be ideal. May 21, 2011 at 4:04pm Reply

  • Victoria: Yes, the parfum version of this one would be splendid. May 21, 2011 at 4:05pm Reply

  • Victoria: You know, surprisingly enough, it is the EDP! Let’s petition to get the parfum! May 21, 2011 at 4:05pm Reply

  • Victoria: The pale, soft sueded texture is such a perfect description. I feel that it fades rather too fast though. Within a short period of time, I am left with something pale and thin. May 21, 2011 at 4:06pm Reply

  • Victoria: Do try it anyway! As Dee and others who love it noted, it might be just the right thing for those who want a soft, intimate fragrance. May 21, 2011 at 4:07pm Reply

  • Victoria: I find that fashion and fragrance marry so well and one can mix and match styles with ease. I love the idea of wearing a masculine perfume with a chiffon dress. Or a plush, oriental Guerlain classic with jeans and Converse sneakers. Something unexpected and surprising! May 21, 2011 at 4:09pm Reply

  • nozknoz: This collection is similar to the Chanel Exclusifs – huge bottles of relatively dilute scents. I think I read somewhere that it may be a way of skirting IFRA restrictions that limit certain key ingredients to specific concentrations.

    I like New Look 1947, and actually find it strong enough sprayed generously. I’d prefer a bottle half that size, though. May 21, 2011 at 7:31pm Reply

  • vanessa: I loved this too precisely because of its very vague powdery floralness and “silk slip” feel! I had no idea there was tuberose or violet in there – I thought there might even have been lily, haha. But it was completely my sort of fragrance – so if anyone has unwanted samples, send them my way… : – ) May 21, 2011 at 8:54pm Reply

  • axum: Hmm, well thank you for this review. I am curious to sniff, but will reign in my expectations. May 22, 2011 at 3:43am Reply

  • Victoria: I agree on the whole, although I find Chanel's collection to be more original. I think that the low concentration is really to cut the costs.
    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile May 22, 2011 at 10:10am Reply

  • Victoria: Have you tried Guerlain Cruel Gardenia? It might be another perfume to discover in the same "silk slip" genre.
    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile May 22, 2011 at 10:12am Reply

  • Victoria: If you like fragrances that make a statement, this will not be it. It simply fades too quickly.
    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile May 22, 2011 at 10:17am Reply

  • vanessa: If I have done, which I think quite likely, it may have been too silk slippy for even my wispy-scent-loving nose to clock it. Or more likely, I had simply smelt too much that particular day and it got lost in the noise of the Elixirs Charnels or whatever elses were just out at the time!

    Have just checked the notes and on paper I really should love this… May 22, 2011 at 7:06pm Reply

  • Victoria: It smells like Camay soap, and it wears nicely. I do not find gardenia like, and it is certainly not even remotely cruel, but it is lovely.

    Today I dropped basil into my tea by mistake and thought of you! 🙂 Actually, I liked the flavor.
    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile May 22, 2011 at 7:45pm Reply

  • Anna: I think this perfume seemed to be so disappointed because of different expectations from “new look” style. Imho it’s not about red lipstick but about soft pink. Something like that: http://oilthames.files.wordpress.com/2010/11/10.jpg July 10, 2011 at 10:05pm Reply

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