Cuir Cannage is the latest introduction in the high-end, "haute parfumerie" collection curated by Dior Parfums to represent what their highest standards in perfumery are supposed to be...
So far, they have been able to show that the collection is not so much a creative outlet for the brand as one which serves already available perfume formulae transferred to higher-end conditioning and luxury semiotics.
Cuir Cannage introduced earlier this year came with a detailed road map as to what Dior wanted to accomplish with it. You can read about it here. It's supposed to be part Cuir de Russie haute tradition and part arty conceptual rethinking of how the insides of a luxury leather bag smells like.
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Unfortunately for the creative objectives of perfumery, Cuir Cannage turns out to be an expensive vehicle mostly to sell further the idea of owning a Dior bag, the ones that come with a "cannage" motif, often advertized next to actress Marion Cotillard.
It is so obvious as perhaps not warranting spelling it out, but of course everyone will have noticed how hard the brand are trying to emulate the iconicity of the Chanel bag mattress impression with their own rendition of the same idea: bags made out of the softness of cats' paws, but more to the point, signalling adherence to the luxury club.
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The perfume Cuir Cannage sadly divulges once more the kind of short-cuts Dior are willing to take with a collection that ought to be really interesting. They certainly have the means. I think that Chanel so far has succeeded better in preserving a sense of play with Les Exclusifs which vanishes in the case of La Collection Privée Christian Dior. No one is playing in Dior haute and niche perfumery. The constraints of marketing are heavy. The only risk they seem to be willing to take is in who or what to copy. As a twist on the previous idea which was to copy their mainstream successes and make them move up to the gentrified section of the Privée collection, they have now apparently resorted to looking elsewhere for inspiration. In this case and specifically, I do not see what Cuir Cannage adds to the already existing Serge Lutens Cuir Mauresque. It smells virtually exactly the same. It is louder in the end suggesting less the subtle olfactory underbelly of a leather bag, or an exotic leather mythology, as an overabundance of strong essences reminding you of historical complaints put against the violence of the scent of Spanish leather in the olden days ca. 1780, which made it fall out of fashion once, apparently, people could smell it better as urban miasmas dispelled.
Cuir Cannage eau de parfum is a violent leather perfume, and not in a good way. It pounces rather than styles. It is more of a saturated floral Spanish leather impression too, which shows how the Dior perfume discourse is a façade with no real interest in communicating with connnoisseurs, say, or anyone. You can even wonder whether the word "Russian" was not thrown in to simply jive with the luxury Russian patrons. We can think of a number of leather perfumes that are interesting - not just interested in money-making - and not aiming for the nouveaux riches so obviously, Cuir Mauresque to start with.