Charlize Theron on fearlessness, creativity and the new J’adore Dior fragrance

Photography by Josh Olins for Parfums Christian Dior

Charlize Theron looks back on the past two decades as the face of Dior J’adore with the launch of the brand’s latest fragrance, L’Or de J’adore.

“When you try to create a story with something that already has a historical basis, it can be intimidating,” Charlize Theron says over the phone. She calls from Los Angeles and recalls how she joined the house of Dior almost 20 years ago as the face of the iconic J’adore Dior fragrance, as well as several of its iterations. It’s hard to imagine the Academy Award-winning actor, producer and activist being intimidated by anything. She later confirms my suspicions by calling herself fearless. “I’m rarely afraid to do something that requires me to step outside of my comfort zone,” she says.

However, when Theron first agreed to become the face of J’adore in 2004, the task ahead seemed daunting. “This scent was already advertised and it was really wonderful,” she says. “So part of me said, ‘I guess I’ll just show up and keep doing it.’ Theron was pleasantly surprised to find that the brand was not interested in working on cruise control. “It was nice to be surrounded by creative people who dare to be bold and maybe even a little subversive, in a house with such a rich history,” she says.

Today, Theron is the face of the latest addition to the Dior fragrance family, L’Or de J’adore. Francis Kurkdjian is the creator of the fragrance, the perfumer’s first major fragrance for Dior since he was appointed director of perfume creation. “J’adore’s floral bouquet is exuberant and rich,” says Kurkdjian. “The dialogue it opens between colors gives it a unique signature. I wanted to define the colors of J’adore and maximize them.”

To achieve this, Kurkdjian simplified J’adore’s original formula by “zooming in” on the colors. “They became hyperbolic,” he explains. “The exaggeration of flowers gives the fragrance an unprecedented richness. I wanted a radical approach and an immediate floral feel. J’adore flowers grab you right away, without waiting.”

The magic of L’Or de J’adore lies in its ability to pay homage to the original while being bold and daring in its pursuit of something new. “In L’Or de J’adore you can still find the cornerstones of the original J’adore, but there are also bold moments where the floral notes are so concentrated,” says Theron. “Everything has changed in such a way that it doesn’t feel like you’re completely moving away from what you originally loved.”

This article first appeared in FASHION’Issue October 2023. Find out more here.

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