Portrait of Pierre Dinand

Pierre Dinand, an engineer’s son, began his art studies in Paris in the early 1950’s.

He was drafted and sent to fight in the paddyfields of Indochina, but Dinand was more interested in art than in fighting.

Fortunately, an obliging senior officer allowed him to attempt courses at the Royal Art School of Cambodia in the Silver pagoda of Phnom Penh.Shortly thereafter, he was detached to work with a group of archeologists in Angkor Wat.

For over a year, he studied Asian temples and sculptures.

On his return to France, Dinand found a job in the automobile industry.

« I was a test driver, but they discovered I didn’t have a driver’s license… « 

Pierre was fired on the spot and ended up working for a chemical company. The firm was about to launch a new product.

 » But the package was hideous.

I decided to re-design it myself « 

The boss was delighted. Dinand was promoted to chief advertizing executive and his wages tripled. After a time, he was recruited by Contact advertising agency. One of the customers was the Rochas perfume company.

« It was extraordinary ! Here was a return to my little sculpted objects, to architecture, I was working again in three-dimensional rather than flat drawings, designing a bottle is like designing a little house. the bottle is the perfume house. »

They were looking for a new bottle design. « Madame Rochas » was on the shelves in late 1958. For the first time ever, the stopper was not made of glass but rather, entirely of plastic and metal. The perfume was a success. Dinand was hired by Rochas, and designing perfume bottles became his profession.

 » And it just never stopped. « 

In 1964, Dinand was introduced to an up-and-coming designer, Yves Saint-Laurent.

 » I also met Givenchy, Balenciaga, Guerlain, Dior…

I was just rocketed to the very center of design and perfume. « 

Feat N.Y. 1990 Photo by Bob Stern

In 1968, Dinand create the Ateliers Dinand with his two sons, his secretary from Rochas and his driver.
During the following thirty years, he collaborated with all the biggest names in the perfume world, opening offices in New York, Milan, Tokyo, Rotterdam and even Moscow, shaped the most iconics perfumes, obtaining numbers of awards for his design.
With the opening of a museum dedicated to his work in Japan, in collaboration with the city of Grasse, he was elevated as Living Legend. 

But unfortunately, even living legends cannot avoid financial crises, Pierre Dinand sold his company shares in 1995, the Ateliers Dinand closed a few years later.

The story could stop here, Pierre Dinand was, at this moment, 64 years old.

But the man with a thousand bottles is recalled by Paco Rabanne, Dolce Gabbana, l’Occitane to the sketches.

The passion for these « little sculpted objects » is stronger than anything, his curiosity for the new techniques and his ability to interpret creator’s personality still intact.
Today, at 93 years, with the support of his grandson, Jules Dinand, in a workshop of the place st André des arts,Pierre Dinand still working for the magic of shapes continues to operate.

Paco Rabanne-Calandre
Yves Saint Laurent Rive Gauche

The Art of Perfume Bottle Design

There’s more to the designing of perfume bottles than shape.
It also takes a strong technical background. Thanks to his early experiences in the industry, Pierre Dinand was able to bring new materials to a field where the use of glass still reigned.

In the early sixties, Pierre Dinand wanted Paco Rabanne’s Calandre to be locked into a metal frame to set with the design of the Paco’s metal dress made for Brigitte Bardot.

 » Paco decided on a theme : ‘a couple making love on the backseat of a car at a drive-in.’In that case, I told him, better have a big car ! ‘yes’, he responded, a ‘Rolls-Royce’. From the Rolls came the idea of its front, the radiator grille or calandre, which eventually became the name of the perfume. « 

But in those days in the perfume industry, for various reasons, metal was practically impossible to use . And so he decided to experiment with ABS. At the time, it was a brand new material mostly used in the car industry. Once galvanized, this material can be metal-plated and looks like real metal.


Dinand’s most iconic designs is the bottle for Yves Saint Laurent’s Opium fragrance in 1977. Shaped like an inrō and inspired by the opulence and mystery of the Orient, Dinand created a bottle that exuded sensuality and allure. Its sleek silhouette and rich, deep color perfectly complemented the exotic notes of the fragrance, making it an instant classic.

 » Ironically, the design was first made for Kenzo who refused it. I presented a reworking  to Saint Laurent thrown in as a bonus between several designs. Yves grabbed the Kenzo bottle and said : « It’s a Japanese inrō, where the samurai stored their opium balls ! » The name  Opium came from the bottle design. « 

One of those rare, enduring successes in an industry define by change is Yves Saint Laurent’s Rive Gauche.

It’s the first perfume line in aerosol cans, echoing Andy Warhol’s Campbell’s Soup cans. The design was inspired by the vase de Dunand found in an antique shop at the marché Byron in Saint-Ouen. 

This metal bottle still unchanged and on sale today.


Another notable creation by Dinand is the bottle for Calvin Klein’s Eternity. With its simple yet sophisticated design, the bottle became synonymous with timeless elegance.The concept was inspired by a wedding gift. Cavin Klein gave to his just married wife a band previously owned by the Duchess of Windsor. It was inscribed with the words « For Eternity ». 

 » Calvin and I went to Tiffany store to see the ambiance and the color codes for wedding presents. Almost everything was in crystal and silver with religious symbols. Thus we imagined a bottle in cut crystal and a silver cap, topped by a stylised cross. « 

Dinand’s approach to perfume bottle design is a harmonious blend of exchange with the perfume creator, its own observation of the world around him, and material’s technique from the industry. In the same way, Dinand says that’s a perfume become iconic only if the fragrance, the bottle design and the communication are intimately linked.

Yves Saint Laurent-Opium
Calvin Klein Eternity