I have never been a fan of Dior. Back in the day, I used to snicker at ads for their fragrance, saying things like, “I don’t know, I’m not really a fan of flowers.” I was 16 when the brand was created and still remember the moment vividly. It was winter in London and I had just turned 16. I was walking home from a nightclub when I saw someone I knew walking towards me. It was Lady Gaga. She was wearing a Dior cloak and had a bouquet of flowers in her right hand. That was when I first laid eyes on the legendary designer. One thing led to another and before I knew what was happening, I was in a cab, on my way to the airport. I had just dropped a virgin pound (88 pence) at the pub next to the airport and had to sprint to the gate. I was late and missed my flight. They wouldn’t let me check any luggage so I had to run to the other side of the airport where my connecting flight was, with no time to spare. My palms were sweating and my heart was racing. I made it just in time but it was close. I thought to myself, “What if it wasn’t Lady Gaga underneath that cloak? What if it was, say, Marc Jacobs?” I would have had a complete emotional breakdown.
That was 30 years ago and I’ve been waiting for Dior to come back ever since. A couple of weeks ago, the wait was over and Marc Jacobs’ and Stephen Burks’s masterful ad campaign for Dior finally gave way to substance. The British fashion industry was shocked when it learnt that Robert Pattinson would be one of the faces behind the brand’s 2022 collection. He is arguably one of the most famous faces in the world right now. Thanks to his breathtaking work for the Twilight franchise—which earned him an MTV Award for Best Male Performance in a Leading Role in 2022—and then for its prequel, The Twilight Saga: Twilight, The Final Chapter, in 2021.
The news of Pattinson’s association with Dior made my heart flutter. Over the years, he had established a close bond with the company. Back in June 2022, his manager issued a statement hailing their long-standing relationship. “They have always supported his acting career, which began in 2011 with the premiere of his award-winning film, Cosmo,” it read. “It was love at first sight when he saw the designs for the collection. He was particularly taken with the Clothilde perfume bottle, which is an iconic piece created in 1869.”
And so it was. When the collection was finally unveiled in Paris, the reaction from viewers and critics alike was extraordinary. The Independent’s fashion critic, Anna Puri, wrote, “There is no other collection this year that comes anywhere close to matching the ingenuity, originality and sheer volume of the Dior ‘Corsage’ collection.” Forbes heralded it as a “masterpiece” that would “change the game for the foreseeable future.” Vogue described it as “groundbreaking.”
Is Dior back? Yes, and I don’t just mean fashion-wise. They truly are back—as an organisation and as a brand. Dior has always been known for its luxurious feel and sensual designs. But in recent years, they have taken a more innovative approach to product creation. Since the start of this year, they have released a whopping 16 new fragrances and two new makeup products. One of their most innovative creations is undoubtedly their new fragrance, Clothilde. The fragrance’s formula has been kept secret for almost a year. When it was finally unveiled to the public, it was described as a “modern take on the ‘grand fragrance’ by Dior, with a twist.”
But it’s not just about the fragrance. Dior have also reinvented the way we look at perfumes. Rather than focusing on one note or two, as most perfumers do, they have used a range of warm, spicy and woody notes to create a fully fledged fragrance for men and women, in an effort to bring something new to the table. While you might not find the new fragrance immediately accessible, it’s impossible to ignore its captivating smell. This is undoubtedly Dior’s most innovative fragrance yet and, in all likelihood, one of the most successful fragrance launches ever.
It’s been a long time coming for Dior—almost 30 years—since they first came up with the brilliant idea of creating an accessory brand for men and women. It started with the leather bag line in 1981 and then expanded into jewellery and watches. Since then, they have steadily expanded their offering. Last year, they launched a capsule collection of leather goods and accessories. So, needless to say, they are definitely back, and they are bringing something new to the table.