Christian Dior famously once said, “Respect tradition and dare to be bold.” That is exactly what perfumer Francis Kurkdjian has done since he was appointed as the houses’s perfume creation director in 2021—a title he holds as he continues at the helm his eponymous fragrance line. And earlier this summer, Kurkdjian unveiled a reimagined take of Dior’s iconic J’adore Eau de Parfum that is already showing promising signs of reaching cult status too.
The new J’adore L’Or ($170) is essentially liquid gold in perfume form (l’or means gold in French, hence the name). It still retains that sensual floral fragrance fans know and love, only its successor is a touch warmer and bursting with heady notes of orange blossom, jasmine and centifolia rose absolutes. The scent is housed in the same signature amphora as the original—only the unmistakeable golden rings that accent the neck have been updated to look like dripping metal.
Now to celebrate the release, Kurkdjian and Dior have teamed up with award-winning French sculptor and friend of the house, Jean-Michel Othoniel, on a special sculpture with an amphora of the new J’adore L’Or nestled within. (Othoniel previously collaborated with the house in 2012 on another special edition design for the now-discontinued J’adore Absolu Eau de Parfum.) The limited-edition piece is a miniature version of Othoniel’s signature monumental, gold beaded sculptures that have been showcased around the world, including at the Palais Royal–Musée du Louvre station of the Paris Métro and currently at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden where his Dior-supported Flowers of Hypnosis installation is currently on display until October 22.
During the creation process, Othoniel specifically designed the piece in the shape of a rose to complement the J’adore L’Or fragrance. “I worked around the idea of the rose because the rose is really one of the most important elements of the perfume,” he tells T&C. He first illustrated the rose in watercolor, and then transformed it into a 3D model to perfect its shape. From there, the model was given to a foundry, which used a traditional lost-wax casting technique to bring his vision to life. The beads on the sculpture were created in bronze and finished with gold.
According to Othoniel, Kurkdijan’s new fragrance played a significant part in the creation too. He says they both worked closely together to ensure the perfume and the sculpture complemented each other perfectly. “It was this idea of creating another layer of Frances’s vision,” adds Othoniel. “So as he was elaborating the fragrance, I was working at the same time.”
Othoniel also intentionally made it in such a way so that the bottle and sculpture are codependent with one another. “It’s a dialogue between the sculpture and the amphora. The bottom of the amphora is rounded and it can’t stay by itself. It needs to be supported by the sculpture,” he explains. “So I really love this idea if you take out the bottle, you always to have it in your hand. You can’t leave it by itself. It becomes sort of something like a talisman, something like a magical object.”
The project took about two years in the making and now Othoniel is excited for the world to see his work in shoppers’ hands. “This project is like a bottle on the sea,” he says. “I don’t know who it will touch, but I hope it will bring more people into the contemporary art world.”
Othoniel’s dazzling creation for the J’adore L’Or is out now. There are only 100 sculptures available worldwide (including at select flagship boutiques and on Dior.com) and comes with white glove delivery service for $15,000.