Miss Dior Exhibit in Paris and New Face of Chanel

Christian Dior will celebrate Miss Dior perfume with an exhibition at Paris’s Grand Palais next month. Miss Dior was originally created in 1947, and it’s a green mossy blend that inspired many other perfumes in the same bold, distinctive style. Today, if you want to smell it at Dior, you need to ask for Miss Dior Eau de Toilette Originale. The fragrance currently bearing the name of Miss Dior and fronted by Natalie Portman was created in 2005 and launched as Miss Dior Chérie. It’s a fruity-floral gourmand.


It’s not clear which of these perfumes the exhibit is going to celebrate, but according to WWD, it features large-scale artworks by 15 female artists, rare photographs and a selection of outfits including the dresses that Raf Simons designed for Portman to wear in the Miss Dior campaigns.

The Miss Dior exhibition will run at the Grand Palais in Paris from November 13 to 25 (free to public).

Meanwhile at Chanel, Marilyn Monroe is the new face of Chanel No.5. New print and television campaigns will feature the celebrated actress who once proclaimed that she wears nothing but  Chanel No.5 to bed. Since I found the ad with Brad Pitt to be confusing, to put it mildly, I can’t wait to see the new ads.



  • rosarita: Yes, much better to have the glamour of Marilyn than the grunge of Pitt representing the fragrance that is the epitome of glamour itself to so many. Although the Brad Pitt campaign did get people talking, and the parodies of the ad were hilarious 🙂 October 18, 2013 at 7:55am Reply

    • Victoria: The parodies of the ad were the best part of the whole thing. The Saturday Night Live skit made me laugh hysterically. But I agree with you, the ads got people talking and Chanel received a ton of publicity. 🙂 October 18, 2013 at 11:00am Reply

  • Anne of Green Gables: I also didn’t like Brad Pitt for the No. 5 ad (‘confusing’ is very mildly put :-)) so it’s good that they’re going back to Marilyn Monroe. The roses in that picture are really beautiful! I wish I could bury my nose in them. October 18, 2013 at 8:20am Reply

    • george: Anne, did you get to try Iris Silver Mist/other Lutens when you came to London? If so- what did you think?/ how did they compare to your impressions from the wax samples? October 18, 2013 at 8:37am Reply

      • Anne of Green Gables: Hi george, yes, I got to try ISM and also Bois de Violette. I tested them on blotters and not on skin as I was testing as many perfumes as I could (not only Lutens but also other brands). I have to say that wax samples were closer to liquid perfumes than I expected. Unfortunately, my impression of ISM hasn’t changed. I still found it too sharp and almost unpleasant. My conclusion is that while I enjoy the powery aspect of iris, I don’t like its rooty aspect and I think ISM really emphasizes the latter aspect. Nonetheless, I’m glad that I got to try it so thanks again for your info. 🙂 The fragrance department at Liberty was so amazing that I didn’t want to leave. October 18, 2013 at 2:40pm Reply

        • george: Glad to hear you got there: it is such a sweet shop isn’t i?. Yes, the iris in ISM has been made very aggressive, but I kind of liked that. It’s good to know that the wax samples are quite accurate though: i was thinking of calling the Lutens store and seeing if they would send me them. October 18, 2013 at 3:43pm Reply

    • Victoria: I did watch it several times though, which is already saying something. 🙂 I look forward to seeing what Monroe ads will be like.

      Although I’m not a fan of new Miss Dior, I love the ads with Portman. I also like their new lipstick ads with her dressed in jacket, loose jeans and bright pink pumps. October 18, 2013 at 11:02am Reply

      • Anne of Green Gables: I wonder what kind of fragrance perfumers would come up with if that ad was given as a brief. Do perfumers ever get briefs as absurd as this? October 18, 2013 at 2:56pm Reply

        • Victoria: Yes!! And many of them are even worse. The worst ones I recall involved “confident, brave men who are not afraid to be challenged” and “sexy, self-confident, modern women” as their target audience. Talk about cliches. It would be far easier to create a perfume based on something really absurd. Anyway, you have to keep the brand identity in mind when you create as well as their specific brief. If a brand well-known for polished, commercial, safe perfumes asks you for something “avant-garde,” chances are that they really don’t want anything cutting edge. It’s what make perfumers call, “the same but different.” October 18, 2013 at 3:08pm Reply

          • george: I keep on thinking the fact that Shioya nobi said that Annick Menardo is always angry; and that it’s hard to think that a brief could be written that would make a perfumer come up with a perfume like Bulgari Black: maybe it’s the working to briefs that has made her allegedly so? October 18, 2013 at 3:48pm Reply

            • Victoria: It also depends on what briefs you get to work. Not all briefs are as daft as I’ve described. Some are interesting too and are presented in a very creative way. For instance, a brief for Sarah Jessica Parker’s perfume was created by her and included objects and even other scents. Serge Lutens’s Feminite du Bois brief entailed taking perfumers to a souk in Morocco. How cool is that! October 18, 2013 at 4:34pm Reply

              • Anne of Green Gables: Trip to a souk in Morocco is a really cool brief! Just out of curiosity, do you happen to know any perfume that’s been inspired by a specific piece of music? October 18, 2013 at 5:12pm Reply

                • Victoria: The first one that comes to mind is Chanel’s Bois des Iles–inspired by Tchaikovsky’s The Queen of Spades. October 18, 2013 at 5:16pm Reply

                • george: and, ahem, Killer Queen by Katy Perry. October 18, 2013 at 5:42pm Reply

                • nozknoz: Ys Uzac Pohadka is named after chamber music by Czeck composer Leoš Janáček and an autumn night in a Lavaux vineyard terrace. It’s lovely! October 18, 2013 at 8:57pm Reply

                  • Victoria: I forgot about that one! A beautiful perfume inspired by a beautiful piece of music. October 19, 2013 at 7:40am Reply

                • Ann: Afternoon of a Faun….Claude Debussy’s Prelude… November 1, 2013 at 11:48pm Reply

              • george: That’s very cool! October 18, 2013 at 5:26pm Reply

            • Hannah: Oh, I read that before. Lolita Lempicka was my first perfume and then Black was my favorite for a few years. And I’m angry a lot of the time!!!!! It’s like Annick Menardo and I are soul mates. October 18, 2013 at 4:35pm Reply

              • george: hahaha! I love the idea of Annick Menardo I have in my head too. October 18, 2013 at 5:13pm Reply

  • george: Out of interest- I have a couple of questions that are bugging me a bit-

    1, does anyone know if Marilyn Monroe was ever officially the face of Chanel No.5? or did she give them the best ever advertisement for free?
    2, Was the 1921 (I think) bottle based on the design of the fireplace in her ritz hotel suite? I know she was photographed leaning on the fireplace for a chanel no.5 advert in 1937, and it looks like her little joke, because the shape of the chanel bottle is very similar to the architecture of the no.5 bottle, but was this just a coincidence that she later discovered? It’s also interesting from the point of view of her being friend of Dali, because she is employing a surrealist technique, whereby the image of the chanel bottle would be seen to be entering the viewers conscious and unconscious mind at the same by using this technique: for example in the painting the metamorphosis of narcissus. I’ve tried to find information on this from the internet but could not find anything on it, or that anyone else recognises the similarity between the fireplace and the 1921 perfume bottle (which I know is also supposed to be based on the place de vendome)

    Any further information would be appreciated! October 18, 2013 at 8:35am Reply

    • Victoria: I hope that someone with more knowledge on Chanel can reply, but I don’t think that she was the official face. She certainly endorsed it, but it was not a paid-for endorsement.

      There is a book on Chanel No 5 by Tilar Mazzeo, in which she goes into great detail about the bottle and packaging design. If you have a bookstore near you, it might be worth a look. I read a book a couple of years ago, but I don’t remember the exact details on what inspired the bottle. I thought that it was based on a simple apothecary style flacon. October 18, 2013 at 11:15am Reply

    • Phyllis Iervello: Marilyn Monroe was 36 years old when she died in 1962, which means she was born in 1926. Therefore, 1921 was 5 years before her birth and 1937 she was only 11 years old. I doubt if she was posing for No. 5 ads when she was 11. I believe she was discovered when she was 16. October 18, 2013 at 11:33am Reply

      • george: Yes, my bad .I should have written “Was the 1921 (I think) bottle based on the design of the fireplace in Chanel’s Ritz hotel suite? I know Chanel was photographed leaning on the fireplace for a chanel no.5 advert in 1937,” October 18, 2013 at 11:59am Reply

      • Victoria: It’s so sad to realize how young she was when she died. October 18, 2013 at 2:31pm Reply

    • annemariec: Tilar Mazzeo mentions the story of the inspiration coming from a set of toiletry bottles carried owned by her lover Boy Capel, but Mazzeo herself thinks that whisky bottles owned by Capel were the real spark to the idea. She says this almost as a throw-away remark and does not produce any evidence for it. What matters is Chanel’s determination that the bottle be minimalist, almost to the point of being transparent, ie not there.

      Monroe was not paid for her endorsement of Chanel No 5. Mazzeo says that because Chanel No 5 was, by 1952 when MM made her famous remark about wearing No 5 in bed, already a classic, it was Monroe who was benefitting from the fame of the perfume, no the other way around. October 18, 2013 at 5:21pm Reply

      • george: Thanks annemarie! October 18, 2013 at 6:35pm Reply

  • ChrisinNY: Miss Dior. Sigh. One of my all time favorites, but Miss Dior Eau de Toilette Originale is a harsh, altered version of the scent that was firts released. I know it was due to EU requirements, but still. Sigh. October 18, 2013 at 8:51am Reply

    • Victoria: I also find Miss Dior Originale very sharp, and it feels like half of it has gone missing. Generally, I try to find something to enjoy about the reformulated version (even if it smells like a totally different perfume from the original), but in case of Miss Dior, I just gave up. At least, you can still find very good chypres at Chanel or Guerlain. October 18, 2013 at 11:16am Reply

      • ChrisinNY: One of the other commenters steered me to Chanel 31 Rue Cambon and I do enjoy that. In fact that scent and Le Parfum de Therese by Frederic Malle were the two clear favorites that were recommended to me in one of your monthly- “help find a scent” posts. Have not found a Guerlain chypre that I like (as yet). October 21, 2013 at 9:28am Reply

        • Victoria: One of my favorite Guerlain chypres besides Mitsouko was Parure, but unfortunately, the regulations meant a death toll for it. October 21, 2013 at 12:02pm Reply

          • ChrisinNY: YES! I wore that, too, back in the day. Didn’t know who made it, or that it was a chypre, but loved it. October 22, 2013 at 9:54am Reply

  • The Smelly Vagabond: “The world turns, and we turn with it” pretty much sums up everything that was wrong with the Brad Pitt ad for Chanel No. 5. Also, I’m still pretty bummed about Miss Dior being renamed! October 18, 2013 at 9:01am Reply

    • Victoria: It’s just too darn confusing! Plus, the image in the exhibit announcement used the Portman ads.

      When Miss Dior Cherie came out, I even got a bottle. It was a fun gourmand, and it seemed like a good way to bring new audience to Dior. October 18, 2013 at 11:19am Reply

  • Lauren: After viewing the Chanel print ads with Brad Pitt (I haven’t seen any videos), I immediately thought, “If you wear it, he will come.” LOL. Perhaps that was the message they tried to convey.

    I HATE that I will miss this exhibit; I’m leaving Paris right before it opens. October 18, 2013 at 9:26am Reply

    • Victoria: I bet you will find plenty to occupy you in Paris around that time. There should be many interesting exhibits and the theater season is going to be in full swing. October 18, 2013 at 11:20am Reply

  • K: I find this version of the Brad Pitt Chanel ad more meaningful…
    http://youtu.be/-05Q46qN_LU October 18, 2013 at 10:59am Reply

    • Victoria: This is hysterical! Thank you for a laugh. October 18, 2013 at 11:20am Reply

    • zari: Hilarious! And very creepy eyes at the end. October 18, 2013 at 11:27am Reply

    • Isis: Fantastic!!! I love it. Thank you! October 18, 2013 at 11:37am Reply

    • Austenfan: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9kMhIZdXFQQ

      This is my favourite version! October 18, 2013 at 4:12pm Reply

  • Annikky: I must admit I really, really liked the idea of Brad Pitt being the face of Chanel No 5. Something bold and different, at last! And Pitt certainly qualifies as a modern icon.

    I’m still unclear on how they managed to mess this up so badly. How? Why? Didn’t anyone watch it before it went on air? But despite my deep disappointment and the awful awkwardness of it, I prefer Pitt’s ramblings to the total uniformity and photo-shopped teenagers – or worse, actresses stripped of all their character – of most other ads. And it’s of course symptomatic that Brad gets to talk (I’m temporarily ignoring the fact that he doesn’t make any sense), while women just have to roll around in negligees and, possibly, moan.

    Rant over 🙂 October 18, 2013 at 12:27pm Reply

    • Victoria: I love your rants! 🙂
      I was very excited about a male face for such an iconic perfume. And I liked the choice of Brad Pitt for someone interesting and not conventionally, “cookie cutter” attractive. I really would love to know how Chanel decided that the ad was the one that they wanted…. Oh well, I’m actually not complaining much, because the ad was at least memorable. So, yes, I completely agree with you. October 18, 2013 at 2:37pm Reply

      • zari: I think Brad Pitt is very conventionally attractive – white, blond, blue eyes, tall, broad shouldered, Anglo nose, etc; Pretty, but can play the rugged card. Typical idea of attractive male. I was confused with him and Chanel, and thought well we all gotta make our money somehow. And I agree, it was memorable! October 18, 2013 at 3:57pm Reply

        • Victoria: Yes, I suppose, such perceptions are very personal. I didn’t really think of skin or hair color though, just the way he comes across. October 18, 2013 at 4:27pm Reply

    • Austenfan: I think they should have put Pitt in a pink negligée and have him roll around while uttering the same monologue! October 18, 2013 at 4:18pm Reply

      • Austenfan: Mulling over these words: Those visuals wouldn’t fit Chanel at all; more in keeping with the ELd’O line. October 19, 2013 at 9:34am Reply

        • Victoria: Tried to visualize it and ended up nearly chocking on my tea. 🙂 October 19, 2013 at 9:42am Reply

  • Aisha: Marilyn as the face of Chanel is an excellent idea! Actually, I would love to see more “Old Hollywood” movie stars be the faces of various perfumes — especially the classics. October 18, 2013 at 5:45pm Reply

    • Victoria: I remember that a few years Givenchy used Audrey Hepburn’s face for its reissue of L’Interdit, a perfume originally created for her. October 19, 2013 at 7:37am Reply

  • annemariec: I suppose the original Miss Dior will feature in the exhibit somewhere. Dior is in a tricky position. It needs the 1947 Miss Dior because of its association with the history of the house, and because of its success over so many years. In its day Miss Dior must have been the closest Dior ever got to a Chanel No 5 in terms of it being a product that could spread the prestige of the house amongst people unable to afford haute couture (which is more than 99% of all customers, of course).

    But what do you do when the sales drop off? Bring out a flanker of course. That flanker has been so successful that it eclipses the original in the minds of all but a few die-hard fans. Miss Dior (Cherie) suits its times just as admirably as the original did.

    But Dior can’t just d/c the 1947 Miss Dior because it NEEDS the original. Like Chanel and Guerlain, Dior trades heavily on its history. The original Miss Dior is part of the brand’s DNA.

    I’m pretty unhappy with how Dior has tackled this dilemma but I do recognise that it is a genuine dilemma. What has made it all the more difficult for Dior is that Miss Dior, unlike No 5 and Shalimar, has aged so badly. It is a chypre and chypres are not just deeply unfashionable in the mainstream market now, but difficult to support because of restrictions on raw materials. October 18, 2013 at 5:52pm Reply

    • Victoria: I completely agree with you. It would be unrealistic to expect that a brand doesn’t update itself, and in fact, it would be terribly boring if it didn’t. A good example is how Chanel did it. And Dior instead remakes the formula in-house rather than has a supplier source it and changes the name. There was an article about it in Liberation Next or another French magazine. I can double check later. This kind of practice is not illegal, but it’s not ethical and it takes advantage of the lack of copyright on the fragrance formula and the fact that suppliers have to open their formulas in full or in part in order to be working for LVMH. So, in my opinion, they’ve solved their dilemma in the worst way possible. October 19, 2013 at 7:36am Reply

      • Austenfan: That leaves a rather bad taste in the mouth. It seems beyond cynical. Should you happen upon that article I would be very interested. Thanks! October 19, 2013 at 9:38am Reply

        • Victoria: I will look, but meanwhile, here is an interesting article I found in Liberation Next:

          And here is the quote by Demachy, in which he admits that he remade Miss Dior Cherie completely, as some other perfumes:
          “Les formules de Dior étaient à 95 % fermées. Aujourd’hui, c’est nous qui les fabriquons, selon notre propre écriture et dans nos propres usines. Ainsi, j’ai refait complètement Miss Dior Chérie [devenu Miss Dior tout court, ndlr]. Ce n’est plus tout à fait le même jus et les différences sont notables. J’ai aussi élaboré le nouveau Kenzo Homme Sport, parce que le projet me paraissait inspirant. Quelques formules, comme celle d’Hypnotic Poison d’Annick Menardo, restent chez leurs propriétaires.”

          A very rough translation, in case someone wants it: “Dior formulas used to be 95% closed. Today we are the ones making them, according to our own stylistic decisions and at our factories. In this way, I’ve remade completely Miss Dior Chérie. It’s not anymore the same juice and the differences are obvious. I also remade the Kenzo Homme Sport [the original Kenzo Homme was done by Givaudan’s Christian Mathieu], because the project seemed inspiring to me. Some formulas, like that of Hypnotic Poison by Annick Menardo, remain with their owners.”

          I think that Demachy is a creative perfumer, and I love many of his own scents for Dior, but LVMH’s tactics are often heavy handed and aggressive. October 19, 2013 at 10:05am Reply

          • Austenfan: Thanks again! October 19, 2013 at 2:06pm Reply

          • annemariec: Many thanks. I remember the fuss a few years ago about Dior bringing Miss Dior Cherie back in-house so that it could alter it and re-name it. Those remarks by Demachy ooze with his satisfaction at having ‘remade’ the work of other perfumers. I’m really quite glad that there is no perfume in Dior’s current line-up that tempts me at the moment, because I am happy not to spend money on the brand. October 19, 2013 at 4:43pm Reply

  • Hannah: Just offering a contrary opinion and it’s not something I feel passionately about but…
    I don’t think Marilyn Monroe is really a great pick. At least Marilyn Monroe and No. 5 actually have a real connection and her face isn’t being slapped on a product she has nothing to do with. However, isn’t Marilyn essentially the opposite of Coco Chanel’s entire fashion philosophy? No. 5 is associated with elegance and I don’t think Marilyn is elegant. I’m not saying she’s classless and trashy, but let’s be real…one of her identifying characteristics is a put on baby voice.
    I don’t think it’s a big mistake or anything; it just isn’t a choice I would make if I were director of advertising for Chanel’s fragrances.
    She’s too young for No. 5, but I would love to see Kiko Mizuhara has the face for Coco Mademoiselle or Chance. October 18, 2013 at 10:26pm Reply

    • annemariec: I agree that Monroe is not elegant exactly, but she’s sexy and maybe that’s the direction Chanel wants to push No 5 right now. Maybe they are reserving the elegant concept for the Exclusifs, like 31 RC.

      Chanel may also have had such a fright over the Brad Pitt thing that they have decided to go in the extreme other direction and choose an icon that is already so closely associated with No 5 that there can be absolutely no room for confusion. October 19, 2013 at 12:03am Reply

    • Victoria: But as Anne-Marie says, she’s sexy and has a glamorous aura about her, neither of which is a bad thing for the brand right now.

      If we’re fantasizing, I would have loved for Gong Li to be the face of No 5. What a stunning woman and very elegant too. October 19, 2013 at 7:42am Reply

      • Austenfan: That is an excellent choice! October 19, 2013 at 9:32am Reply

        • Victoria: The first time I saw her in Raise the Red Lanterns, I was spellbound. Everything about that face, the way she conveyed emotion, the way she carried herself was memorable. October 19, 2013 at 9:41am Reply

          • Austenfan: I don’t think I ever saw her in anything else, she collaborated with one director for a considerable number of films I believe.

            Why wouldn’t Chanel use different cultural icons for different parts of the world?
            I think that maybe using someone like Dame Judi Dench for the UK market might actually work. Yes, she is not exactly young, but she just exudes class and is apparently so well loved there. October 19, 2013 at 10:00am Reply

            • Victoria: She worked for many years with Zhang Yimou. I must have seen all of her films that are available here, and my favorites are Raise The Red Lanterns, Farewell My Concubine, and Temptress Moon. Ju Dou has a stunning photography, and the use of color is amazing. The story is very tragic, but that goes for most of Zhang Yimou’s films.

              I wonder. Maybe, it’s just too expensive to create multiple advertising campaigns? October 19, 2013 at 10:24am Reply

              • Austenfan: It probably is.

                All I remember about Raise the Red Lantern is that I loved it, and that it had it’s own beautiful, pared down visual style. It got brilliant reviews in the Netherlands. October 19, 2013 at 12:14pm Reply

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