Who was Mitzah Bricard, Christian Dior's muse and the woman who inspired Mitzah, the exclusive Dior perfume (2010) from La Collection Privee?
"...Germaine 'Mizza' Bricard, who had once been a demi-mondaine- that is, an expensive prostitute.Another famous Mitzah quote is "When a man wants to send you flowers, say 'my florist is Cartier'". There you have it. Mitzah Bricard was a latter-day courtesan, also famous for her love for leopard pattern and pearls. Considering all that, one would expect the fragrance to be of the vintage-like genre, dirty, furry and animalic to distraction; something along the lines of the magnificent Absolue pour le Soir by Francis Kurkdjian. But it isn't. Instead, Mitzah is an elegant mildly spicy amber-oriental perfume. It's rather well-behaved, actually, and very easy to wear.
'Nowadays', she was heard saying, 'society women have brought the profession into disrepute. They'll go to bed for a cafe creme.'
Madame Bricard was moody, excessive and perpetually late. She never rose before two in the afternoon and wore a new dress every day. But Dior saw her as the epitome of Urban sophistication. She was his muse." ---Nigel Cawthorne, The New Look: The Dior Revolution, 1996
Mitzah opens up spicy and sweet, decidedly related to just about every big amber perfume you know, only milder and without any of the bold elements from the likes of Ambre Sultan, Ambre 144 or Ambre Fetiche. It veers a bit from the expected vanillic path when a round honeyed rose note joins the fun and softens what could have gone significantly darker had the spice been heavier. Instead, Mitzah melts seamlessly into a labdanum-incense base that is less smoky than I would have liked. Then again, for smoky amber we the aforementioned Ambre Fetiche, so perhaps there's a very good reason that this fragrance is brighter and friendly. In fact, I'd say that women who find the wood and smoke accord in many classic amber perfumes too dark/sharp/masculine are likely to enjoy Mitzah far more.
The obvious question now is about similarity and differences between Mitzah and another Dior Privée fragrance, Ambre Nuit. I'll post a full review of the latter soon, but the short answer is that Ambre Nuit is more masculine and straightforward. It also lack the incense part, so I'd advise you to try both and see which one hits the right spot for you.
Notes: coriander, rose, spices, cinnamon, labdanum, vanilla, honey, patchouli and incense.
Dior -Mitzah from La Collection Privée ($155, 4.2oz. A bargain, especially when you split the bottle between three people and compare to other exclusive lines such as Tom Ford Private Blend) is available from dior.com, Bergdorf Goodman, Dior Las Vegas boutique, and as a kind reader informed me last week, also at South Coast Plaza, Costa Mesa, CA.
Photos of Mitzah Bricard by Louise Dahl-Wolf, harvardartmuseums.org.