The Thief of Fire

“The poet, therefore, is truly the thief of fire. He is responsible for humanity, for animals even; he will have to make sure his visions can be smelled, fondled, listened to; if what he brings back from beyond has form, he gives it form; if it has none, he gives it none. A language must be found…of the soul, for the soul and will include everything: perfumes, sounds colors, thought grappling with thought…”

Arthur Rimbaud

 
 

Arthur Rimbaud’s Utensils. Photo by Patti Smith

Perfumed Dreams

Salvador Dali Sleeping with Perfumed Pillow. April 12th, 1942. Image by Bettmann/Corbis

 
 

And it’s off to work goes Salvador Dali. His method of going to work is not that of the ordinary mortal. He lies on a perfumed couch in his studio with a handful of pencils. Perfume is then dropped on his eyelids to influence the character of his dreams, for dreams are the stuff of which surrealism is made.

Excess of Perfume

“The first man to compare the cheeks of a young woman to a rose was obviously a poet; the first to repeat it was possibly an idiot. ”

Salvador Dalí
Dialogues with Marcel Duchamp (1987) by Pierre Cabanne

 
 

Femme à tête de roses (Woman With a Head of Roses), Salvador Dalí, 1935

 
 

Drawing by Dalí, 1937

 
 

Package and bottle’s design of Daliflor (2000). Salvador Dali has 50 perfumes in his fragrance base. The earliest edition was created in 1985 and the newest is from 2014.

 
 

In Salvador Dali’s dream world astonishing transformations occur: around the waist and arm of a fashionable woman male hands are wrapped, and suddenly, her head blossoms into a bunch of roses, one leg is stiffened into that of a mannequin, the other flows into the drapery of her dress, whilst the furniture has become animate. The lonely petrified figure in the empty receding space and the cypress grove on the lion’s head recall the romanticism of Arnold Böcklin and Giorgio de Chirico. Dalí often replaced the human head with other heads or objects. He disliked the lack of intelligence and excess of perfumes of rich people around the surrealist group.

A Key Motif in Dior’s Fashions

Monsieur Christian Dior and his gardener, date unknown

 
 

The story began in 1906 in the hills above Granville in Normandy within the gardens on the property where the Dior family had recently settled. Around the villa, Christian Dior‘s mother built a lush garden from the ground up combining rare species of plants. It was young Christian who created and designed the rose garden. Throughout his life, the rose remained his favourite flower. It was key motif in his fashions (featured in prints, embroidery, brocades, etc.) and an essential note in his fragrances. Furthermore, the very name of his childhood home – les Rhumbs – is also a subtle reference to the rose: it defines the cardinal divisions of space, which in French is called ‘la rose des vents’, or windrose. Therefore, the rose, which was so vital to the life and work of the designer, has also become essential to Dior Jewellery collections such as Rose Dior Bagatelle.

Ever since, each designer at Masion Dior (Yves Saint Laurent, Marc Bohan, Gianfranco Ferré, John Galliano and Raf Simons) had followed the tradition of including roses in the collections for this iconic French brand, whether in prints, accesories or even on a showstopping stage.

 
 

Rose de France afternoon dress in taffeta with colored rose print, Spring-Summer 1956 Haute Couture collection, Ligne Flèche (Arrow Line)

 
 

Pierre-Auguste Renoir’s Roses Mousseuses influenced the rose print

 
 

Carmen Dell’Orefice wearing Dior by Yves Saint Laurent. Photo: Richard Avedon, 1957

 
 

Madrileña Dress of floating pale gray faille, Dior by Marc Bohan. Alexandre of Paris coiffure. Photo by Richard Avedon for Harper’s Bazaar, December 1960

Love Yourself

“First love yourself, then you can love someone else
If you can change someone else, then you have saved someone else…”

Madonna
Hey You

 
 

Photos by Bruce Weber, LIFE magazine, December 1986

 
 

Photos by Mert Alas and Marcus Piggott, Truth Or Dare Fragrance. Mirror Session, 2012

The Woman Who Revitalized Chanel No. 5

 
 

During the 1960s the ads had diminished the allure of Chanel No. 5, identifying it with a scent for sweet, proper co-eds whose style bibles were teen-age fashion magazines. In the 1970s the brand name needed re-vitalization. For the first time in its long history it ran the risk of being labeled as mass market and passé. The fragrance was removed from drug stores and similar outlets. Outside advertising agencies were dropped. The remaking was re-imagined by Jacques Helleu, the artistic director for “Parfums Chanel.” Helleu chose French actress Catherine Deneuve for the new face of Chanel. The print ads showcased the iconic sculpture of the bottle. Television commercials were inventive mini-films with production values of surreal fantasy and seduction. Directed by Ridley Scott in the 1970s and 1980s, they “played on the same visual imagery, with the same silhouette of the bottle,” Under Helleu’s control the vision to return Chanel to the days of movie glamour and sophistication was realized.