It started with a pair of sweats. But not just any sweats. These are Dior and calling them sweats feels wildly inappropriate. They’re more like slightly loose fitting slacks—half camel hair, half cashmere—that happen to have a drawstring.

Francis Kurkdjian was wearing said pants on a flight back from Cannes when he bumped into a friend. “He said, ‘oh, your pants are very cool.’” The interaction sparked an idea for a fragrance: an olfactive meditation on what constitutes “cool.”

“I think cool is the new glamour, the new chic, in a way,” offers the Christian Dior perfume creation director. “A cool attitude for me is the idea of using higher end fabrics and materials—it can be natural like cashmere or synthetic like the 3D-printed sneakers by Kim Jones [artistic director of Dior men’s]—and [making them] very comfortable. It’s the combination of something very easy to wear and very luxurious,” a recurring theme he’d noticed in Maria Grazia Chiuri’s womenswear collections for the house as well.

La Collection Privée Christian Dior New Look Eau de Parfum Spray ($420 for 125 ml,


So how did he go about translating that feeling into a perfume? It was all about creating contrast, an “olfactive choc” between the suppleness of amber and the airy freshness of aldehydes, molecules known for conferring a clean, radiant quality to scents. Blazing incense was added to function as a “last layer,” enveloping the entire formula. The result is at once warm and crisp, elegant yet easy. It reads as a bit of departure from Dior’s scent portfolio. More modern and relaxed, it’s, well, really cool.

When it came to naming the scent, Kurkdjian and the Dior team landed on a moniker steeped in history: New Look. It is, of course, an homage to the cinched silhouette made famous by monsieur Christian Dior in 1947, a sartorial revolution at the time. But the name also nods to Kurkdjian’s vision for Dior’s Collection Privée, an exclusive range of highly refined fragrances. “To me, as a scent, there is something new about it. It’s a new look because I’m opening a new chapter within Collection Privée, which is more of my playground as a perfumer.”

On this sweltering fall Paris day, Kurkdjian beams as he passes around blotters soaked in his latest creation to a group of journalists. He is donning the trackpants that started it all. “[They’re] too hot for today,” he admits. “But I wanted to wear them because they were the beginning of my exploration. It was, ‘How can you have something very easy to wear and yet very sophisticated?’ This is it.” Indeed it is.

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