Double Dior: Diorella and Diorissimo

Last week’s discussion of the new Malle and it’s supposed kinship with L’Heure Bleue got me surfing the internets. Of course, the latter part of that phrase could be easily prefaced with “I was bored and that got me to” or “It was Tuesday and that made me” or even “I awoke from a coma and decided to..” In other words I suppose I have replaced my other addictions with web surfing and unsweetened iced tea. I am bland.

Dior dress from the collection of Lauren Bacall

In any case, some of the web surfing took me to Bergdorf Goodman, which was having it’s bi-yearly beauty event. For those of you not in the know, this is an event where, for a minimum purchase, they will include samples of things that should just be given out at the counter, usually in some terrible bag that you don’t use. Sometimes there will be samples of something expensive that you’d normally not try, like Creme de la Mer, or, sample-sized mascara (always a good thing since you can toss them before they become a breeding ground for pink-eye.) Now back in the day (when we kept dinosaurs for pets and had to brave blizzards uphill each way to get to Neiman Marcus) the Beauty Events were much better. Annick Goutal for instance would be giving away a 1/3 size bottle or Hadrien for any full-size purchase. I think I might still have a bottle stashed in cold storage and at least three bottles repurposed as travel sized containers of other scents.

Since I have been exceptionally good over the past years, maintaining a zero balance on my credit cards and living within my meager means, I thought “what the hell” and splurged.

Well, I splurged in a reasonable and I think savvy way. I bought the two eponymous Diors. Two 100ML bottles for less than 50ML of the Malle I wrote about last week. I feel like I should win an award for smart consumer of the month. Plus I get an ugly bag filled with stuff!

Now, these were bought unsniffed (although I likely smelled them ON people back in the day) and by the notes and the price. Both are light, citus florals along the lines of Eau Sauvage, which is one of my favorites (note, not the modern Sauvage- a mini of which is coming in the ugly bag, or any of the flankers) Diorella was released in 1972 and is lime, basil, peach, carnation, and jasmine while Diorissimo, from 1956 is bergamot, rosemary, and jasmine with a thoroughgoing note of lily of the valley that hasn’t been equaled

Slim Aarons Photo ia Wikimedia Commons

in any other scent I can think of. Both were created by the brilliant Edmond Roudnitska, who created among other treasures Eau Sauvage. Both, in a way, reflect their time: Diorissimo is somewhat more structured, more of a perfumey-perfume while Diorella is a little more loose, a little more playful. But both are obviously targeted at the same kind of woman and a sort that is sadly out of fashion in the mainstream: She might be in the background of a Slim Aarons photo at a pool in Palm Springs or in the back of a speedboat in the South of France, in animated conversation or just enjoying the sun. You know looking at her that she can intelligently discuss Proust, the situation in the Middle East, or supply-side economics but sometimes finds it easier to pretend to know nothing more than handbags and hemlines. She can drink you under he table but won’t. She can trounce you at chess but might choose not to. She will always get a good table. She wears Diorella and Diorissimo for the same reason she buys her husband Eau Sauvage: they’re lovely and in perfect taste, with nothing jarring or confrontational (like Fracas or Bandit for instance.) Scents that you have to lean into.

Now I could mainline this stuff and nobody is going to mistake me for Babe Paley anytime soon, and the closest I’ve come to a Slim Aarons shot at the pool at the Kaufmann house is looking at one in a book. But for $125-$130 I can get 100ML of bona-fide Jet Set Cred in liquid form, and a bag of samples too. And that’s good enough.

I purchased my bottles from Bergdorf Goodman online. You can get them for less at other e-tailers. You can also get samples from Surrender to Chance. You should.

Photos: My iPhone, Wikipedia Commons and Pexels

  • Musette says:

    my two favorite Diors! – well, two of 3: Diorling (vintage) is one of the most beautiful scents on the planet! But I wear Diorella to bed all the time and absolutely love the smell on the sheets in the morning.

    • Tom says:

      I need to try Diorella. If I haven’t already. Sooo many Diors named Diorsomething. I’m surprised they didn’t do snack chips name Dioritos..

  • Maggiecat says:

    Diorissimo was my wedding scent, and it took me longer to choose a scent than to choose a dress! It’s truly beautiful.

  • March says:

    Oh you are SUCH a disciplined shopper! I bet if we tracked my online purchases they’re all after 9pm hehe. I love both of these fragrances although they are not something I want to wear, not sure why. I think your descriptions are spot on though. I miss those big bags of random stuff, we used to get a lot of product at Sniffa in NYC when we went to Bergdorf!

    • Tom says:

      Well, I am rying to be good. But I still do the post 9PM purchases. I just try to make it under $25 and not that often.

      The reason I got my N-M card cancelled was because I was being so good- when I was between jobs I didn’t use it and then didn’t for I think about a year after and BOOM it was turned off when I tried to order. I still had Bergdorfs so I figured I didn’t need to reapply since that works. But now I make sure to order even the cheapest thing I can once every few months on the Nordstrom, Saks, and Bergdorf card just to keep them active.

  • Dina C. says:

    I salute your outstanding good taste in selecting these two classy, delicious scents! I was gifted small travel size spray flacons of each from another perfumista when I first started my perfume hobby. The Diorella is long gone; I am slowly savoring the Diorissimo. (Gotta love the way autocorrect changes flacon to falcon! Haha) To me, Diorella is perfect in fall/winter, and Diorissimo is the epitome of spring, but I’d wear either anytime.

    • Tom says:

      I agree that Diorissimo is better in spring, but we have been have been having such weird weather (80F in the day and in the 50’s at night) that you can wear both. Looking back I even reviewed Diorissimo but Diorella was a delight (diorlight?)

  • cinnamon says:

    Have never done Diorella (at least that I can recall). Owned a bottle of Diorissimo decades ago which disappeared. Sadly. I recall reading a long time ago Mick Jagger complaining about all the girls wearing Diorissimo. Not sure why he was so grumpy about it. Wonder what he wore/wears.

  • alityke says:

    Diorella has been in my collection forever. I was such a Dior fan girl until they constantly hit the flanker button.
    My Diorissimo is currently a vintage mini. She always felt a little twee for me.

  • Portia says:

    Hey Tom,
    We ignored Halloween too but a few of the Trivia crew got dressed up and dolled up their tables.
    We just wrote about Diorella in Counterpoint on and I have a very old bottle here that I’d completely forgotten. Still smiling fresh and the top notes seem to be largely intact. Surprising for a aldehydic citrus. LOVELY!!
    Diorissimo is beautiful but not really me.
    Portia xx

    • Tom says:

      I loved reading that! I might just go and try to scare up some vintage, but Turin puts it well- you can tell the new stuff has been redone, but it’s still great.

    • Dina C. says:

      Loved your post about Diorella, Portia! Fantastic breakdown of the scent and how it unfurls.

  • Maya says:

    Happy Halloween!
    You describe a very cool woman.
    Great deal on the Diorissimo, which I love, and the Diorella, which I have never tried, but will. I do love a nice bag of freebies…..hey, that’s what trick or treat candy is, free. But that’s another thing about getting older – no more trick or treating.

    • Tom says:

      Well as I type this there are a few hundred thousand people over on the boulevard tricking and treating, but I’m home. It may be age, but I prefer to chalk it up to wisdom..