PARIS – Christian Dior perfumes can say that their roses are green. His jasmine and tuberose too.
“It all starts at Dior with the land, the soil, the quality of what we do,” said Laurent Kleitman, president and CEO of the house. “So the work we’ve done here, building on this vision from Dior himself, was making sure that we really could get the best possible ingredients for the perfumes or skincare that we could dream of.”
Parfums Christian Dior, which uses high levels of natural ingredients in its products, has focused on building a high-quality supply chain as Christian Dior himself had done, selecting exceptional flowers from a first-rate terroir.
Most of the growers he works with use organic farming practices and are moving towards regenerative agriculture. Dior is committed to caring for the farming communities with which it works.
Since 2006, the house has sought to revive the Grasse region of France, partnering with flower producers such as Carole Biancalana at the Domaine de Manon. Soon your crops will provide all the flowers for the scents in the house.
“We have reintroduced old flowers, like Grasse tuberose for J’Adore, which was lost,” said Kleitman.
Across France, in Granville, the birthplace of designer Dior, where his lifelong love of flowers blossomed, the brand is creating a garden with the Granville rose that will be used specifically for beauty care products. Dior leather.
“It will become one of the largest rose gardens ever made for Dior, with 50,000 plants,” said Kleitman, adding that they will be grown using certified, sustainable agricultural practices. “We do that not only in France, but elsewhere.”
These include Italy for the iris and Madagascar for the mimosa.
In Paris, Parfums Christian Dior focuses on restoring and replanting the Petite Provence area in the Jardin des Tuileries, a garden that Dior himself loved.
At the Château de Versailles, the house has funded the planting of 600 rose bushes, including Granville roses, in Queen’s Grove this spring.
Dior has been a member of the Union for Ethical Biotrade since this month and aims to have all of its gardens fully certified by the association by 2024.
“This is the beginning of the journey,” said Kleitman.
In an extensive interview, the executive described some of Dior’s other sustainability initiatives, which are part of an ongoing program.
“Whether you talk about conservation, the link with nature, with flowers, or even the role we play on a social or cultural level, it has always been part of the DNA of the house,” he said. “It is absolutely authentic to what Dior stands for, since 1947. We are presenting its legacy to the world.”
Kleitman noted a striking parallel between the state of the world that year, shortly after World War II ended, and today, when the coronavirus pandemic ebbs and life slowly returns to some normalcy.
Kleitman said at the time, Dior hoped to change society, improve social conditions, especially for women, believing that they should be center stage.
“Women have always been at the center of the Dior house,” said Kleitman, explaining that the designer surrounded himself with many strong-willed women at work, such as Raymonde Zehnacker, Marguerite Carré and Mizza Bricard, and had two at home: his mother and sister. “Mister. Dior was [a feminist] – even before the word ‘was created.
The house has always been associated with strong women, such as Marlene Dietrich and Ava Gardner in the past or Isabelle Adjani, Sharon Stone, Charlize Theron and Natalie Portman more recently.
“It’s very natural for us,” Kleitman said.
Last year, Dior launched its #DiorStandsWithWomen and #DiorChinUp campaigns, which included video interviews of many inspiring women, who shared their individual stories. The project helps financially support girls’ education in Africa.
“It was just a continuation of what Mr. Dior inspired us to do,” said Kleitman. “This is a commitment to a strong femininity, a non-stereotyped femininity.”
Then there’s the most concrete embodiment of the house’s sustainability initiatives: the eco-design of its products.
“Here again, you could say, ‘You’re doing things now because it’s the fashion,'” Kleitman said. “No, because the first lipstick conceived by Mr. Dior in 1953 was already refillable, the first in the 1950s.”
The hit Rouge Dior lipstick can be refilled from 2020. Premium skincare like L’Or de Vie has refillable bottles, while the iconic Sauvage masculine scent also comes in a refillable bottle. Its spare parts are made of recyclable aluminum.
This year, Parfums Christian Dior refillable products and refills are expected to account for 24 percent of the units sold by the brand.
Dior’s couture gift box will be made entirely from recycled paper in July, and online, people will be able to choose fully recycled packaging that is 46 percent lighter than store-bought.
Most of Parfums Christian Dior’s 144 independent boutiques have energy-efficient LED lighting, while four in France have been powered by green electricity since 2017.
“The House of Dior is thinking about sustainability, from the design stage, in everything we do,” said Kleitman.
He also sees art through the lens of cultural responsibility. Dior, the designer, had been a gallery owner and art collector, working closely with artisans. Parfums Christian Dior stays true to that tradition.
In the garden of the Petit Palais museum in September, the house will sponsor an exhibition of works by French sculptor Jean-Michel Othoniel.
Parfums Christian Dior is also forging links with young artists in their quest to pass on knowledge. In 2020, he established a chair at Beaux-Arts de Paris, so that students can learn how to integrate art into gardens through a program called “Inhabiting the Landscape: Where Art Meets the Living World.”
At the end of the academic year, an artist receives the Dior la Colle Noire Award, and the person’s project will be exhibited in the gardens of the Château de La Colle Noire, Dior’s home in southern France.
“We would like to have a role in shaping a new generation of artists and not just working with well-established artists,” said Kleitman.
Parfums Christian Dior’s sustainability commitments will be synchronized with the overall structure of its parent company LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton’s environmental initiatives structured around a program called Life 360, launched in December 2020.
They are also discreetly designed to sync with Dior’s own belief. He said, “By being natural and sincere, revolutions can often be created without looking for them.”
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