Behind every perfume is a story. This fragrance, whose equivalent is one of our new arrivals, carries the name of Christian’s sister, Catherine, a gutsy woman who formed part of the French resistance during World War II. She was Miss Dior and we’ll tell you her story.
The history of Miss Dior
Catherine and Christian were born in Granville. Their beautiful house couldn’t save them from misfortune. Their mother died and the family business went bankrupt. Mister Dior and his younger daughter, Catherine, moved to the south of France, to a place near Grasse, a place full of flowers and the cradle of perfumes. It was there that Catherine began her close relationship with flowers.
When World War II began, Christian and Catherine were living in Paris. She met the man who would be her lover for the rest of her life; Hervé des Charbonneries, a married man and member of the Resistance. Paris was occupied by the Nazis and Catherine, along with her lover, passed information about the German troops to the English government. In 1944 she was arrested by the Gestapo and taken to the Ravensbruck concentration camp. Meanwhile, her brother continued working in Paris, worried, of course, about her.
A year later Catherine was freed and the French government rewarded her with a flower-marketing position in Les Halles and she returned to the south of France to dedicate herself to the cultivation of flowers for the rest of her life. Periodically she returned to Paris and visited her brother in his workshop, giving him ideas, showing him sketches, etc.
In 1947 Dior was about to present his new collection full of happiness, luxury and optimism, in a post-war period that called for austerity and quiet. Thanks to this provocative move was born a collection which earned him his place as a fashion designer. He wanted to accompany it with a perfume that was like love. What he said to the perfume makers Jean Charles and Paul Vacher was, “And what does love smell like?”
The newly-created perfume was not just for up close; it occupied all the space around and was full of the flowers of the south. So they had the fragrance, but they lacked a name for it, and after several days of searching for one, one morning Christian’s sister arrived at the door and his assistant said, “Voilà, Miss Dior.” The name of a passionate, romantic and resistant woman; Miss Dior was the perfect name for what would be one of the most famous perfumes in the world.
The original bottle was full of curves. It was in 1950 that it was changed to the form that we know today. It was the perfume preferred by women like Sofía Loren and Grace Kelly.