“…Give me odorous at sunrise a garden of beautiful flowers where I can walk undisturbed…”
Give me the Splendid, Silent Sun
“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…”
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.
“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. ”
Dialogues with Marcel Duchamp (1987) by Pierre Cabanne
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.
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.
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.
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