In the new biography Miss Dior: A Story of Courage and Couture, author Justine Picardie gives an astonishing account of the life of Catherine Dior – the namesake behind the iconic perfume of the French luxury maison.
Some of its most incredible chapters are dedicated to Catherine’s time as a member of the French resistance during World War II. As a liaison, she has transmitted clandestine intelligence reports to the British during the Nazi occupation until she was arrested by the Gestapo and sent to German concentration camps and tortured for information (which she did not divulge).
Catherine’s documents at the deportees’ association for political prisoners.
After the war, she returned to France and dedicated the rest of her life to flowers – a passion that she shared with her famous fashion designer brother Christian. She was in fact one of a handful of women in Paris licensed to trade in cut flowers and would later move to Provence to start her own rose farm.
Today, these roses still go into the making of the Miss Dior perfume that she inspired; its latest version hitting stores last month. Created by house perfumer Francois Demachy, the beloved floral scent has been updated to suit modern tastes: The signature velvety rose is punctuated with soft, powdery iris; crisp, fresh peony and lily of the valley; and a subtle apricot accord, which adds a plump juiciness to the mix.
The link with couture has also persisted in the ribbon that adorns the neck of the Miss Dior bottle, which in the modern version is produced by Julien Faure, the artisanal ribbon maker founded in 1864.
These sensual tweaks are accompanied by a newly designed couture bow that adorns the neck of the bottle, crafted of a pink jacquard threaded with flecks of blue, pink and yellow by hand at one of the biggest ribbon-weaving ateliers in France.
As much as the fragrance has evolved, Picardie asserts that its spirit remains the same as it was in 1947. Says the writer, who was formerly the editor-in-chief of Harper’s Bazaar UK: “Christian’s love for Catherine will always be an essential ingredient in every iteration of Miss Dior… It may sound like a fairy tale, but I truly believe it.”