Glass talks to François Demachy Perfumer-creator at Parfums Christian Dior

Be your own man – Perfumer-creator at Parfums Christian Dior, François Demachy, discusses with Glass the creation of –  and inspiration behind – the new EDT version of the exemplar in contemporary male perfumery – Dior Homme

A NEW fragrance by Dior is always an event in the olfactory world. For this spring, their modern classic  Dior Homme has been re-interpreted by perfumer-creator at Parfums Christian Dior, François Demachy as an eau de toilette. This launch is accompanied by a very cool advertising campaign fronted by British actor Robert Pattinson, the face of Dior Homme since 2013, shot in NYC, has the tagline “I’m your man” and is soundtracked by the 1988 same titled song – a powerful brooding declaration of erotic passion and love – by legendary Canadian singer-songwriter, poet and author Leonard Cohen.

Francois Demachy DiorFrancois Demachy Perfumer-creator at Parfums Christian Dior

In the film, Pattinson inhabits a character inspired by the heroes of modern American cinema – the films of Martin Scorsese and Francis Ford Coppola and their predecessors, Elia Kazan and Nicholas Ray.

Released in 2005, the original Dior Homme (now called Dior Homme Original) was created by Oliver Polge and is regarded  as one of the best masculine fragrances of the last few decades and is described by the leading perfume expert and writer Luca Turin as a “textbook example of successful top-down design”.

This latest iteration foregrounds woody accents, opening with a feathery powdery grey iris accent and then resonates with layers of wood notes – some smooth and some raw – like atlas cedar, cashmere wood and Haitian vetiver – in its heart and base.

Glass spoke to Demachy to discover the process behind his re-working of Dior Homme.

Dior Homme EDT NEWThe new Dior Homme Eau de Toilette


Robert Pattinson is the face of the new Dior Homme eau de toilette. What is it about him that embodies this new EDT and what was it like working with him? How closely involved was he in the creation of the fragrance, if at all?
He embodies the new scent perfectly. It’s all about being a man today, with all the nuances that it suggests: manly/virile, but also sensitive and not afraid to lay himself bare. Robert Pattinson is the incarnation of that. He is a tremendous actor who can navigate between big productions and more confidential films. He can be The Batman, but also play a very personal and intimate part in a smaller movie that will reveal a totally different side of him.

Finally, I’m sorry to say but I feel like some things should be simple. If you have seen the new commercial, I think you will agree that he is the right incarnation of Dior Homme’s raw sensuality and woody nature, because he simply embodies it very well. The concept of the film was to shoot very close to him, his skin, his emotions … and he looks sensational doing it!

he new Dior Homme eau de toiletteDior Homme Eau de Toilette

Does film and cinema play a part in the creation of your fragrances and, in particular, Dior Homme?
Dior Homme is a very cinematographic concept. This was already the case with previous campaigns; it is in its DNA. As I said many times, I can be inspired by anything and everything. Today it’s a film. Tomorrow it can be a dish in a restaurant, or a specific plant smell in a little alley …

When you spoke to Glass in 2018 you told us how location is a big influence on  you saying, “I can find inspiration on the other side of the world, in a field in India, or in New York where you can smell 1,000 different things in the busy city, or on my doorstep in Paris or Grasse.” How did New York City specifically inspire Dior Homme?
New York City has always inspired me. I used to live there for a while, and even though I don’t live there anymore, I always go back. It’s kind of the contrary of what you would think a perfumer loves, because it’s all city smells, and some mixed smells can seem disgusting to us.

But it’s as much an inspiration as a flower smell! New York in my mind is 1,000 different smells, and inside these 1,000 are some original mixes, some spices and some smokes and some woods that I tried to represent in the scent, yes.

Dior Homme EDT ingredientsDior Homme EDT includes lots of woody notes

As the custodian for Parfums Christian Dior you have to ensure the quality of the originals, but also come up with new interpretations of classic much-loved and highly regarded perfumes, how do you deal with this responsibility?
Sometimes it’s difficult, but it’s mostly interesting because of the challenge! Some Dior original scents are among my favourite, like Eau Sauvage which I used to study in school as a classic, and to this day I think to myself, “I would’ve loved to create that perfume, to put it into the world …”

My role, as you say, is both to make sure these classics stay alive, and to make sure they evolve with their time by creating new variations. Miss Dior is a good example as well; the original is the perfect chypre.

But today I bring some different elements, and some variations are best sellers around the world, like Miss Dior Blooming Bouquet in Asia, which is a great feeling. I always say the most important element to have in my job, for me, is doubt. I need to doubt and question everything to always improve, and never think we have seen and done it all, that would be the demise for a perfumer!

by Caroline Simpson

Dior Homme (EDT) retails at £76 (1ooml)