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When Dior announced that Francis Kurkdjian was joining the brand as perfume creation director back in 2021, the beauty-sphere immediately began buzzing with anticipation. The news that one of the world's biggest luxury houses was joining forces with the nose behind olfactive icons like Jean Paul Gaultier's Le Male and Baccarat Rouge 540 (the viral hit by Kurkdjian's very own brand, Maison Francis Kurkdjian) generated a slew of breathless headlines — and equally weighty expectations for the partnership.

Nearly two years later, Dior and Kurkdjian have announced their first major release: L'Or de J'Adore, a reinvention of the house's famed J'Adore perfume, originally introduced in 1999. Formulated by Calice Becker, J'Adore immediately struck a chord among consumers enchanted by its swan-necked bottle, juicy-floral facade, and glamorous marketing campaign (Carmen Kass was J'Adore's original "golden girl," later replaced by Charlize Theron). Now, the fragrance belongs to an elite class of scents — occupied by the likes of Chanel No. 5, Mugler Angel, and Guerlain Shalimar — that aren't just perfumes, but cultural phenomenons.

Kurkdjian was well aware of J'Adore's gravity when tasked with revamping the scent for 2023. At a press event, the perfumer compared the project to "being able to touch something that is untouchable." Still, he wasn't daunted. Heightening J'Adore's sensuality, Kurkdjian tempered its original fruitiness with a bouquet of petals intended to create the impression of a flower — or "the feeling of flowers," as Kurkdjian puts it.

His quest to distill the essence of flowers extended to the bottle. L'Or de J'Adore retains the teardrop shape of J'Adore's instantly recognizable flacon — but gold rings circling its neck have been melted down to a single, fluid collar. "I'm trying to repeat what I've learned long ago: You get the purest quality of gold when you start to melt gold," he said. "So I [tried] to imagine that if I had to heat [J'Adore], what would be left?"

Getting straight to the heart of things is a philosophy that Kurkdjian lives by. "L'Or de J'Adore sets up the direction I want to bring to the house of Dior," he said. "Simple formulas and perfumes, easy-to-understand. The era we live in... We don't have much time to experience things. We have to appreciate things right away."

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