Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Dioressence: The Poetics of Fragrance

The scent of Dioressence by Christian Dior is agonizingly beautiful. The oriental fragrance was launched in 1978, a year after Yves Saint Laurent's Opium took the world by storm. With Opium, Patchouli was returned to its rightful place in the pantheon of luxury fragrance notes. Until that time it was considered too "hippie", though it was brilliantly transformed by perfumer Bernard Chant in Clinique's Aromatics Elixir in 1971. Patchouli is a pivotal element in Dioressence, but there is more to a fragrance than an ingredient list. The emotional aspect of a perfume is beyond metaphor, analogy and logic. How does Dioressence make one feel? Glass Petal Smoke offers the following poem as an answer:

At a Window
By Michelle Krell Kydd

she smiles
and a line
in the skin
on her lower lip
breaks like the tight skin
of a ripe red grape.
a gypsy could
read her mouth
like a palm,
delicate lines
some separate
some merging,
all leading to destiny
that has yet
to manifest.

the sly winds
of winter
have tried
to pry secrets
from her mouth,
but she remains silent.
there have been men
some foolish
some blind,
and a few
wise enough
to read the lines
like routes
on a map,
that disappear
and go nowhere.

mystery is preferable
to the undernetting,
for what we do not know
cannot tangle us.

a black cat
arches its back
in the sun,
mimicking the curve
of an eyebrow
that accents a gaze
into far-off places
whose names
forsake memory.
the meaning
we give to pain
is suffering,
yet we do it
again and again,
as if by defining
the agony
we will be released
from the dwelling place
agreeably offered
to darkness.

the door
is left unlocked,
night falls
and stars in the sky
look like pinpricks
in the top of a circus tent.
the agony of beauty
is released in a single wound,
the surface broken
relieved of the burden
of appetite.
nothing is expected
and finally,
everything is revealed.


Dioressence is available exclusively at Sak's Fifth Avenue. Diorella, a refreshing yet illusive creature, is also exclusive to the store.