When Dior recently released its flotilla of “La Collection Couturier Parfumeur” scents, adding seven new fragrances to the existing Eau Noire, Bois d’Argent, and Ambre Nuit, I wasn’t interested. I’m not a big Dior fan anyway, and most of the descriptions of the new scents left me cold. A Leather, a Big Oriental, a Soft Floral, a Citrus Aromatic, more Colognes… um, no, thanks. I’m all stocked up. The only one that had any appeal at all for me was New Look 1947, and it didn’t seem all that exciting.
And then some commenters on a post at Now Smell This mentioned that New Look 1947 was a “big white floral,” and I was suddenly interested again. It seems that every year about this time, I reenter my All Tuberose, All the Time phase (Daisy wanted to know how that was any different from the rest of my year!), so “big white floral” suddenly yanked NL47 back onto my To-Test list.
In the interest of full disclosure, I declare to you that most of my year is Intermittently Tuberose, and I never seem to lose interest in that note, but cold weather just seems to call for it. (More tuberose-centric fragrance reviews to come over the months of January and February.)
Here’s the ad blurb from Dior: New Look 1947 ~ “February 12, 1947: A major event was held at 30, avenue Montaigne in Paris, where Christian Dior presented his first fashion show. With his flower women and bright colors, the Designer launched a fresh fashion trend. “It’s a New Look!” exclaimed Carmel Snow, Editor-in-Chief at Harper’s Bazaar, thus christening the Designer’s inimitable style. Today, the New Look has become an explosive, generous, ultra-feminine and floral fragrance.” The notes for the spicy floral include tuberose, benzoin, ylang ylang, rose, jasmine, vanilla and iris. The perfumer is listed as Francois Demachy, and New Look 1947 is intended for women.
A spicy floral with tuberose? An ultra-feminine floral? Count me in. And this review – Octavian at 1000 Fragrances (you may need to be patient and wait for the page to load, as I have to do) – incited me to jump in on a split of New Look ’47 when one popped onto my radar. Octavian calls this fragrance “parfum lingerie” and evokes greige/nude/pastel colors, “soft, powdery, creamy, very sensual.” He also calls it “an infinite smoothness of flowers melting into an abstract note.”
So what I was expecting was a quiet white floral draped in yards of pastel tulle, moisturized and made-up and powdered and confectionized. Did I get that? Nope. Dior has a lot of nerve, calling it “explosive” and “generous,” not to mention “spicy floral.” It’s not very floral at all, nor spicy; in fact, my first impression was of cold cream.
I haven’t seen cold cream at the drugstore for yonks, but my mother used to use it to remove her eye makeup (when she bothered to wear it – most of the time she was a lipstick-and-mascara-only gal) when I was a child. I don’t even know what’s in cold cream, although at a guess I’d say there’s a hefty slug of lanolin in there. It’s a heavy, smooth, solid cream right on the verge of greasy, and if you have ever smelled it, you’ll likely recall its distinctive odor.
There I was testing New Look 1947, frantically sniffing my wrists every chance I got, looking for the tuberose, and getting “cold cream” and “face powder” instead. At first I thought it was just the dry weather we’ve been getting, because that can cause me to miss certain notes. (I spent at least two months thinking L’Arte di Gucci was just a nice gardeny rose, no kidding. I totally missed the cassis bud and costus until I wore it one humid afternoon. And when I smelled it entire, I fell really hard for it, in all its inconvenient, demanding glory.) So I cranked up the humidifier, which made my winter-dry nostrils feel better but did nothing for NL47. And then I wore it while doing some fairly energetic housecleaning, and that didn’t bring out the tuberose either.
I wore New Look several times, reapplying throughout the day – I get about three hours of wear out of it, about average for an EdT on my skin – and paying a lot of attention to it in repeated attempts to tease out the tuberose. Oh, it is there, all right, but it’s buried, as if the powdered-and-lotioned debutante in the tulle dress has one single tuberose petal tucked into her ballet-pink dancing slippers. Except that her dress isn’t tulle, it’s crepe de chine.
The only time I get much sillage from New Look is right at the beginning, when it’s all prim aldehydic sparkle. Very quickly it fades into a quiet skin scent, even if I do the “overspray” trick of spray-until-wet, let dry, and spritz one more time. That’s extravagant spritzage for me, but some fragrances just need that kind of presence to even register (notably, certain L’Artisans and Annick Goutals). This quiet skin scent has, I admit, the really lovely texture of crepe de chine, or that microfiber material called “peachskin”: soft, nearly sueded, smooth and drapey, and if you run your hand across the fabric as someone is wearing it, you can feel the warmth of the skin underneath. Try as I might, I cannot pick out any of the florals at all, they are so integrated into that creamy-powdery base. It stays in that vein for most of its existence on my skin, and reminds me of the basenotes of Mariella Burani, and even in a small way of Iris Poudre.
Patty’s review at Perfume Posse was more pithy (and a lot more fun, if not very close to my experience), something like, “J’Adore L’Absolu and Diorissimo had a hot two-week tropical affair and made New Look 1947 from their lusty floral loins.” Now that would have been worth it, in my opinion. I love lusty floral loins. Not to mention that J’Adore L’Absolu and Diorissimo (and Dolce Vita, come to think of it) are the only Dior fragrances I really enjoy.
New Look seems very much on the femme side of the aisle to me, with its accent on the tonalities of makeup – powder and cream – but I do know of at least two men who are enjoying it (and finding it much more of a white floral than I do). I like New Look 1947, but I do not love it, and I have to admit that it seems a little derivative to me. Not that that’s bad, mind you, but I already have a bottle of Mariella Burani, and a decant of Iris Poudre! I may keep trying to amp up the tuberose in it, because if that note registered to me, New Look 1947 might be more distinctive. I’ll wear it, of course, because it’s quiet and comfortable as silk underwear. It’s entirely polite and unlikely to annoy even your most rabidly anti-perfume neighbor.
It’s just a little sad that “quiet and comfortable” is the nicest thing I can say about it.
Top image is of the fragrance from Fragrantica. Second image is of several models in various New Look dresses from oldmagazinearticles.com. Third image is from a 1947 magazine, showing a travel makeup kit, from ggardenour at eBay.