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Christian Dior and Carl Peter Fabergé
Both are united by the lily of the valley - both created works of art!
Carl Peter Fabergé took over his father's jewellery shop in St. Petersburg in 1872. It didn't take long and Fabergé's name was closely linked to the tsar's court and the Russian nobility.
His legendary "Easter eggs" are more than works of art - they are a feast for the eyes!
From December 1986 to the end of February 1987, it was not without reason that crowds of people stood in front of the Kunsthalle of the Hypo-Kulturstiftung in Munich, where the only "large" exhibition of Fabergé's works to date was shown. (Only the catalogue is worth seeing!)
Not only his "Easter eggs", made annually for the Zarenhof, are unique and extraordinary; I am especially enchanted by his "lily of the valley basket" from 1896.
The 1986 exhibition catalogue describes this work of art as follows: Nine lily of the valley plants with golden stems, pearl and diamond flowers and nephrite leaves on woven gold moss cushions. Basket of plaited gold." - Pictures can be found on the Internet.
This flower basket stood for years on the desk of the last Tsarina Alexandra Fyodorova (Alix of Hesse-Darmstadt), married to Nicholas II Tsar of Russia.
To see this basket of lilies of the valley in nature was unfortunately not granted to me at that time; nevertheless my heart is attached to it. Just the pictures of it fascinate me again and again.
The works of art and jewellery that Carl Fabergé created in Russia are very different from each other: if he worked for the tsar's court, valuable gemstones and materials were used But if the "nouveau riche boyars" from Moscow wanted a "real Fabergé", a lot of enamel was used besides "secondary" gemstones.
The last large proportion of Fabergé jewellery was auctioned in 2010: the unique jewellery of the Valais Simpson - Duchess of Windsor! Not always beautiful or stylish - but very expensive!
We remember that!
Before I get to the fragrance itself, another short note:
At the beginning of the nineties I met in Abano Terme, where we were both cured, an old lady who lived in Munich.
She reported that she (1910) was born in St. Petersburg, 1918 with the families fled west.
Among them was also Carl Fabergé with his "followers" who left St. Petersburg.
One thing remained clearly in the girl's memory until our conversation at the time: "He drank French cognac and smoked thick cigars! - and that on the run!
Carl Fabergé lived for a short time in Baden Baden (there you can also find a museum of his name) and died in 1920 in Lausanne.
His "Easter eggs", however, are still unforgotten today and have a large "fan community"!
(Even if on the occasion of the "small" exhibition here in Berlin's Charlottenburg Palace a girlfriend indignantly said to me: "I didn't pay an entrance fee, just to see a few Easter eggs!")
Edmond Roudnitska, the famous "nose", once wrote: "The more we penetrate smells, the more they begin to penetrate us. They dwell within us and become a part of us." - How true!
In 1956 he created a perfume for Christian Dior with fresh floral notes and an extremely effective charm: "Diorissimo"!
The first "advertising displays" made for this fragrance are strongly reminiscent of the Versailles of the Sun King: an elaborately crafted Rocaille surrounds the simple lettering. "Tout Paris" was delighted!
Jasmine, lily and amaryllis dominate this classic, but you immediately feel the unique magic of the lily of the valley.
Jean Cocteau, a friend of Dior's, once noticed a "magical" connection of "Dieu": God with "Or": Gold = Dior! - That's a nice pun! Well, be it as it is!
I got to know and love this unique lily of the valley scent as a young woman in the mid-seventies.
At that time this lily of the valley with its "companions" enchanted me especially.
The fresh entrée of bergamot and a lot of green is extended by a real flush of flowers.
In addition to the already mentioned flower scents there are lilac, a very spicy rosemary and my special favourite Ylang-Ylang. This scent always reminds me of shimmering little beetles that leave a very special golden scent trail!
Sandalwood (still very much loved today) and Zibet ennoble this scent painting and lift it out of a "simple" summer flower scent; they give it a delicate, almost virgin sensuality.
I read somewhere that this wonderful lily of the valley fragrance is "a perfume that gives colour to all things and can give shine and eternity to a hat forgotten on a garden chair with a flower, a light dress, a bright laugh and the colours of time"
Unfortunately I can't remember where I found this saying; I wrote it down because it gives words to my personal feeling.
At another point I already mentioned that the wife of my boss at that time was employed in the perfumery of Bubi Scholz, the boxer, and gave me this dream fragrance in 1974 for Christmas.
It was still in the unpretentious clear glass flacon with the banderole, which had a black, pink or dark blue houndstooth pattern depending on the fragrance creation. The simple clasp with the gold thread was matching in colour.
I loved my "Diorissimo" hot; even though today I know that I was actually too young, too tender and small for this scent.
Of course it was added: it was a "Dior"!
A "Dior" fragrance in the seventies was what was later a "storage field" (in whatever form) or later a "Cartier" lighter/ fountain pen.
This full-bodied fragrance surrounded me for many hours and often accompanied me into a delightful summer evening without me having to spray it again.
Oh, I felt so great - surrounded by so much fragrant beauty!
Everything was light, magical and therefore unforgettable!
Time went on, but "Diorissimo" was still forgotten; the flacon landed somewhere - I don't know where!
One day I remembered and bought a flacon "Diorissimo" in an auction.
Oh, I was proud - and immediately disappointed! What had I bought then?
Only later, when I was already on my way here and followed my curious nose, did I realize that I had bought a new edition.
That wasn't my diorissimo anymore!
Although I was glad that the initial question of whether I really had such a confused taste (or distorted memory) at the time could be answered this way, ... no, it's not for me!
Call me old-fashioned or simply nostalgic: the "diorissimo" that I loved always remains a shining highlight in my "fragrance heart"! Even the best reformulation cannot change that!
My lily of the valley, which once enchanted me, is still called "Diorissimo" today and unfortunately has a rarity value! And yet he remains very precious to me!