As an exclusive new fragrance collection arrives in Birmingham, Carl Groenwald, Dior’s National Fragrance Ambassador, talks Andrew Riley through the wonderful world of perfume
Everyone should try different fragrances. Gone are the days where a young lady or gentleman would be taken to a perfumer at the age of 18 by their mother or grandmother and they would choose a fragrance and that would be their fragrance for life. People now have different lives; and depending on their mood, what they are doing and where they are going, they will change their fragrance accordingly. So as we have a wardrobe of clothes in fashion – you have your S/S and A/W clothes, people are doing exactly the same with fragrance.
I think the celebrity fragrance is dying out. Now what people want is something more luxurious, more personal. Because it’s new and you like the celebrity, it doesn’t mean it is right for you. People are becoming more aware of individuality and that is why they are coming to houses like Dior where they can find something that’s individual to them instead of wearing something that everyone else is wearing.
Quality is everything. We can guarantee that the quality of our fragrances is the very best. A customer might spend a little more than they normally would but we can guarantee that the quality of the raw ingredients we use is the very best because it is chosen by our very own perfumer. We also grow our own jasmine and rose flowers in Grasse, the south of France.
The bestselling fragrances are the fruity florals and that’s true across the world. And why? Women love the smell of flowers; men love women to smell of flowers. Trends will come and go but we find that overall it is very much still the fruity floral that is the most popular. And that is why J’Adore, which is now the second bestselling fragrance in the world, is a fruity floral.
Women’s favourite fragrance for men is Dior Homme Eau and it’s exclusive to the UK and US. It is beautiful and powdery; there’s iris in it and iris is almost like wearing cashmere on the skin. It gives you this lovely softness. Men no longer wear the Brut or Old Spice from their granddad. We have almost as many male customers as women now and they have a wardrobe of fragrances, as do women.
A fragrance will smell different on each person depending on their hormones and their gender. Also, the lasting time differs because of the amount of natural oil on your skin. The oilier the skin, the longer that fragrance will last. Eau de toilettes last on average about two hours, eau de parfum lasts about four to six hours and then a parfum, the whole day. But it will depend on the individual and the amount of essential oil in the fragrance.
The best place to put a fragrance is on the pulse points or where you would like to be kissed. For example, behind the wrist, in the crease of the arm, just behind the earlobe and for ladies in skirts, behind the knee. They are the warmest areas because that is where the blood is nearest the skin. As the fragrance warms the molecules awaken and burst. Just never put a fragrance on the neck because alcohol is really ageing.
Some base notes I go back to time and time again. For Dior, it’s usually patchouli. Miss Dior was our original fragrance. Christian Dior launched The New Look in 1947 in fashion, and on the same day he launched Miss Dior. He was unique in that and he said that fragrance was the ultimate accessory. A lady may have her handbag, her shoes, her jewellery, but without her fragrance she is never fully dressed. Miss Dior is the ultimate green chypre and the base note is patchouli. It gives it this warm earthy richness, very much back to Mother Nature.
Our La Collection Privée at Selfridges is the first of its kind outside London and customers can come along and we can create or find for them their perfect signature fragrance. We offer two services; you can find your perfect signature fragrance in the private collection or select one from the ongoing collection.
Fragrance buying is very personal. We have a unique way of finding a signature fragrance for anyone. We would ask about that person, for example, consider their mum. Think about the fragrances she has worn throughout your childhood until now. Do her fragrances smell fresh? Are they like citrus or light flowers, or are they warm and rich and intense? What is she like as a person? Is she classic and elegant or quirky? Is she discreet or outgoing? So now with what you had told me, I would be able to offer you three fragrances. We would take away the pretty packaging and let your nose alone decide. Usually when people shop for fragrance, they smell everything. You should never smell more than three, because your nose will get overpowered.
Dior is the only house that launched fashion and fragrance houses on the same day. We are one of the only houses left that still has their own perfumer, François Demachy. Aside from a few other luxury houses, everyone else goes somewhere else. We are also one of the only houses that grow their own flowers, so we can guarantee the very highest quality fragrances.
- Discover your signature scent from La Collection Privée, Christian Dior and experience a personalised fragrance consultation at the new Parfums Christian Dior concession in Selfridges.