‘Miss Dior, Stories of a Miss’ Exhibit in Tokyo Traces the Iconic Scent’s Heritage

A new exhibition, called “Miss Dior, Stories of a Miss,” opens its doors in Tokyo’s Roppongi Museum on June 16. It is the latest installment of a show dedicated to the fragrance launched by Christian Dior in 1947.

“This ‘Miss Dior, Stories of a Miss’ exhibition in Tokyo presents an exceptional opportunity to delve into the global legacy of tradition and innovation that has been cultivated by Dior through its iconic fragrance Miss Dior,” said Véronique Courtois, chief executive officer of Dior Beauty, in a statement.

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“This perfume is a true incarnation of Christian Dior’s genius global vision, presented on the same day as his first fashion show. It made Dior the perfumer of all time and the most desirable couture house,” Courtois continued. “Christian Dior wanted a fragrance that smells like love and freedom, getting inspiration from his beloved sister. Today, Francis Kurkdjian, our in-house perfumer, draws inspiration from this beautiful story for his latest creation Miss Dior Le Parfum, launched this year.”

Miss Dior ranks first among prestige women’s fragrances worldwide, according to consolidated data from NPD, including its European panel comprising France, Italy, Spain, the U.K. and Germany, and its U.S., Canada and Mexico panel, plus Beauty Research’s Asia panel.

The exhibition is in nine rooms spanning 12,355 square feet and made up of heritage couture pieces, objects and other archival elements from the LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton-owned brand. There is some artwork made especially for the show, too.

The ribbon running through a room at the “Miss Dior, Stories of a Miss” exhibition in Tokyo.
The ribbon running through a room at the “Miss Dior, Stories of a Miss” exhibition in Tokyo.

A bright pink ribbon arcs through one room, nodding to the ribbon around the neck of Miss Dior’s bottle.

“Shohei Shigematsu, the great architect, makes us dream with this exhibition,” said Courtois. “He possesses an exceptional sense for blending contemporary design with the heritage that Dior has cherished over many years. This talent is generously reflected in the space he has curated for this exhibition, which also incorporates brilliant ideas for experiencing fragrance that we look forward to presenting to all the visitors.”

People are invited to take a journey through the history of Miss Dior, starting in the Provence region of France. Visual artist Eva Jospin designed a limited-edition, numbered bottle of Miss Dior, which comes with an organza bow embroidered with a blooming garden scene by women in the Indian Chanakya workshops and in a matching mini trunk. One hundred and fifty pieces were made.

This creation by Jospin — who has conceived décor for some Dior couture shows — stands in the center of the gallery that morphs into a garden with flowers and foliage, due to wall murals embellished with the embroidery.

“Miss Dior, Stories of a Miss” includes drawings and watercolor paintings by René Gruau and Mats Gustafson, as well as an Etsu Egami painting that recently became part of Dior’s collection. There are also works by Japanese painter Yukimasa Ida, Chinese painter Liang Yuanwei, Dutch designer Sabine Marcelis, Italian photographer Brigitte Niedermair and Japanese visual artist Haruka Kojin.

Artworks at "Miss Dior, Stories of a Miss" in Tokyo.
Artworks at “Miss Dior, Stories of a Miss.”

“Conceiving a space to experience something as immaterial as a scent was an interesting challenge, but Miss Dior represents a core identity of the maison shaped by a multitude of stories behind the fragrance,” said Shigematsu, a partner at OMA, in a statement.

“To reflect the diverse contents, auras and narratives, we designed the exhibition to reveal new perspectives of timeless iconographies and draw new threads across distinct themes,” he added. “Significant motifs and inspirations are translated into surreal environments transporting viewers into the world of Miss Dior.”

The works on display are meant “to celebrate the fertile and free spirit of Miss Dior,” the brand said.

Miss Dior was originally dedicated to Christian Dior’s sister, Catherine Dior, a flower lover who was in the French Resistance. With his Verticale collection, the designer thought to have Miss Dior’s bottle formed like a suit. That came dressed in a houndstooth pattern and a couture bow around its neck.

Inspired by the Miss Dior fragrance, including its floral olfactive composition, he made a couture dress spangled with a thousand embroidered silk flowers. Called the Miss Dior dress, it was the centerpiece of his Trompe l’oeil collection of 1949.

The Miss Dior dress.
The Miss Dior dress.

“Since then, the spirit of Miss Dior has continued to nourish the imagination of the different artistic directors of the house, as well as the skills of its haute-couture ateliers,” said Dior in a statement. “The collection of dresses worn by Natalie Portman in the Miss Dior fragrance advertising campaigns is the most beautiful demonstration of this.”

Portman was back in Tokyo after seven years for the Miss Dior exhibition’s vernissage, on Wednesday night.

“I particularly enjoyed the scenography guided by the movement of the legendary Miss Dior ribbon, and the several works created by all the international artists are a real celebration of the free spirit of Miss Dior,” she said.

Also in attendance were Blackpink’s Jisoo, a global brand ambassador for Dior fashion and fragrance, plus Dior Parfums ambassadors Yuko Araki, Cocomi Kimura and Tomoshi Yamashita.

At the exhibit will be a boutique selling Miss Dior products, as well as makeup and skin care, plus books about the house of Dior’s heritage. Fragrance consultation sessions are to be available there, too.

Through Dior.com’s “virtual museum boutique” people can visit a digital replica and place orders.

For IRL exhibit-goers there will be a café offering signature desserts made by pastry chef Pierre Hermé. He dreamed up five mini desserts inspired by Miss Dior’s universe, including flowers and scents, and especially conceived limited-edition macarons.

Fashion on display at "Miss Dior, Stories of a Miss."
Fashion on display at “Miss Dior, Stories of a Miss.”

The first Miss Dior exhibit took place in Paris, at the Grand Palais, in November 2013. Subsequently, other Miss Dior-themed shows were held in Shanghai; Beijing; Tokyo; the late designer’s home, La Colle Noire, in the South of France, and Seoul.

“Miss Dior, Stories of a Miss” will run through July 15.

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