When the legendary fashion designer Christian Dior was a little boy, his favourite spot was his parents’ garden.
In the Normandy seaside town of Granville the family owned a hectare of land with beautiful flowers and wonderful sea views.
And do you know what his favourite flower in that garden was? Me!
Dior – who was rather superstitious – was convinced that I brought luck. He was so attached to me that later, as a successful couturier, he asked his personal florist Madame Dedeban to cultivate lily-of-the-valley all year round for him, in a heated greenhouse, so that he could always wear a sprig of it in his buttonhole.
He always took me around with him in a little box, and had his petites mains, his assistants, sew a few of the flowers into the hem of an haute couture sleeve or dress before they went on show.
Dior’s dearest wish was to create a lily-of-the-valley perfume, but this turned out to be very difficult.
Although I smell delightfully sweet, aromatic compounds cannot be extracted from my flowers, as they are too delicate.
Happily, Jacques Guerlain – a famous French perfumer – had already succeeded in almost perfectly capturing my delicious fragrance using a synthetic substance with a tricky name, ‘hydroxicitronellal’.
Dior also made an attempt, and in 1956 he created Diorissimo, a classic eau de parfum with the smell of a fresh spring morning. Mmm…