In Search of a Classic

Diorissimo was one of the original fragrances of the House of Dior. Edmond Roudnitska created it for Christian Dior n 1956, a year before Dior’s untimely death. I didn’t discover it until 1981. At the time, my favorite fragrances were Love’s Baby Soft and Jontue. They were more age-appropriate for someone just starting high school. 1981 was also the year Lady Diana Spencer became an overnight media sensation when she married Prince Charles. I had a “style crush” on her. I loved her clothes, and would pour over pictures of her in magazines, imagining myself in those fabulous gowns and stylish dresses. I even copied her hairstyle, which wasn’t at all flattering on me. Nonetheless I wore it that short all through high school. My senior yearbook photo looks like the Princess Diana Official Engagement Portrait (but with red hair), complete with short hair, ruffled collar blouse, and pearl drop earrings. I cringe every time I look at it.

One magazine article in particular mentioned that Princess Di’s favorite fragrance was Diorissimo. I had never heard of it, but the next time my mom took me to our local department store I stopped by the fragrance counter to try it. Diorissimo is a fresh floral fragrance, including top notes of lily of the valley with subtle hints of ylang ylang, and jasmine. It’s like springtime in a bottle. But when I smelled it that first time it immediately reminded me of the white lilac tree in the backyard of our house.

That was thirty years ago. I realized long ago that short hair makes my face look fat. It’s been years since I lived in the house I grew up in with the white lilac tree in the backyard. I still get nostalgic for that house and that time, so I decided to look for a bottle of Diorissimo to recapture those memories of the early ’80s. But when I went to the mall I couldn’t find it in any department store. I was told it was discontinued. The fragrance counters these days seem devoted to Dior’s newer, younger fragrances, like Dior Addict and J’Adore. I think Diorissimo is one of those fragrances that are still in production but are hard to find because they’re not as popular as they once were (Rive Gauche by Yves Saint Laurent is another one). So I turned to the Internet. I found it on, where it sells it for $94 for a 3.4 oz. bottle (ouch!). But with their instant 15% off coupon, plus free shipping over $70, I procured a bottle of this elusive elixir for $80.

Curious to see if Dior still manufactured Diorissimo, I checked the official Dior website and discovered a page called Les Creations de Monsieur Dior. It features three of the original fragrances created for Christian Dior during the ten years he headed the House of Dior: Diorissimo, Diorella, and Dioressence. So these classics are still available. You just have to look online.

Now that Spring has finally come to Boston after a very long, snowy winter, I find myself wearing Diorissimo almost every day. Every time I smell it, it reminds me of my white lilac tree. I wonder if it’s still there.

One Comment on “In Search of a Classic”

  1. Tiffany says:

    This is my grandmother’s favorite perfume. It really does smell like lilacs. I’ve loved it for as long as I can remember. I think Givenchy’s Very Irresistible is a younger, edgier variant of the traditional flowery scent.

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