Dimitri Dimitriadis follows his heart and wears many hats — all of which revolve around a lifelong passion for scent. As a perfume writer, speaker, curator and historian, this one-on-one was a real honour. Read on to hear about his journey, how many fragrances make up his epic collection and the empowering advice he has for our community.
How did your fragrance love story begin? And what made you decide this would be your journey in life?
My love affair with perfume started when I was very young. At around the age of 6 or 7, I distinctly recall my mother asking me to retrieve a pen from her handbag. Whilst I was fishing around in there blindly with one hand, I was taken by the odour of the soft leather. Her purse smelled of buttery kidskin, Oddfellow breath-mints and loose cigarettes, which I had unintentionally broken in half. My fascination with scent started there. I also had a childhood friend, Paula, who lived on a property in the East Coast Bays of Auckland whose backyard was overgrown with nasturtiums. I have a very clear recollection of the two of us aged 8 or 9 pressing the pumpkin-coloured petals into a glass bottle of water, hoping to imbue it with their bittersweet powdery scent so we could gift it to our mothers on Mother’s Day. I just knew as I matured that perfume was to play a big role in my life. It’s a passion that blossomed into an unconventional ‘career’; one that has run parallel to my formal profession as graphic/packaging designer.
Biggest ‘pinch-me’ moment of your career?
I would say, when I had the rare opportunity to meet my perfume heroes. In the past few years, I’ve had the rare honour to meet Guerlain parfumeur Thierry Wasser on several occasions, and the magnificently talented nose at Hermès, Christine Nagel. Just being able to discuss their craft with such giants in the industry was an immense honour for me. In addition, in 2021, I conceived and curated a perfume exhibition called ‘120 Years of Attraction’, which was hosted for one month in Perth’s luxury CBD shopping precinct, Raine Square. The show cast light on socially and culturally important perfumes and perfume bottles from 1900 to 2020 — ones which were influenced by movements in art, design and current affairs and succeeded in recording the global zeitgeist over the past 12 decades. The show – the first of its kind in the world, was met with resounding support and was picked up by national and international press. There were calls to take the exhibition on the road, but Covid lockdowns prevented that from happening. For that month, I just filled my bucket with love. Being able to share my passion and collection with so many passionate visitors was most definitely a ‘pinch me’ moment.
Favourite perfumery in the world to visit?
Over the years, I’ve found many favourites, but a ‘first’ and incredibly memorable one is the Roja Dove Haute Parfumerie on the top floor of Harrods in London. Not only was it an Aladdin’s cave of rare artisanal and niche offerings, but it also held vitrines of exquisite examples of perfumes from the early-mid 20th century. It is a must-see for any parfumisto visiting the English capital.
At last count, we saw your perfume collection had tipped over 1800 fragrances! We’re curious to know how you go about choosing your scent for the day?
There are probably closer to 1200 at the moment, as my collection is always in flux. As to my scent of the day; it is usually dictated by mood or intent. If I’m feeling poorly, I’ll often reach for something uncomplicated and clean, but if I intend to create an impression, I’ll choose something complex, diffusive and commanding. My perfume choices are every bit as nuanced as I am. In that regard, it’s so important to have options!
You tried our Tim Tam Eau de Parfum recently. We’d love to hear your thoughts?
I did! As an Australian ex-pat living abroad in Scandinavia some years ago, I would often beg friends and family to send Tim Tam’ care packages’ from Down Under. It was the one item I yearned for that would transport me straight ‘home’ again as the flavour dissolved on my tongue. The minute I heard Arnott’s was releasing a Tim Tam fragrance as a 2022 limited edition, I just had to buy it! It is comfort and familiarity in a bottle. You’ve managed to capture all the chocolatey, biscuity qualities any Tim Tam aficionado could ask for. And extra points for there being zero calories with this guilt-free indulgence! Tim Tams have become an Australian icon, so I congratulate you on capturing the essence of this biscuit with great aplomb.
What scent or scent notes make you nostalgic, and where, what or who does it connect you with?
There are a lot of fragrances that take me right back to a time, a person or place:, every time I travel, or I attend a milestone event, I love choosing a new perfume to wear exclusively for that vacation or for that night… with each subsequent wearing, it allows me to associate that fragrance with that joyous time in my life. As for nostalgia, the smell of fresh freesias takes me right back to my childhood in New Zealand, where they grew wildly under my bedroom window. Their perfume reminds me of a carefree time in my life, which I love to revisit from time to time when I see them growing wildly, or I pick them from the side of the road.
Best advice you’ve received in life?
In recent years, the advice I’ve been living by is “stay in your own lane”. No matter what hullabaloo is going on in your periphery, it’s important to stay focused on the end game. Train your focus on what it is you wish to achieve and not be distracted by what’s happening to your left and right. With time, I’ve learned not to indulge the competitors, the naysayers, nor the negativity pressing in from the sides. Just run your own race, at your own pace!
What do you imagine you would be doing if your career was not fragrance-focused?
I’ve been fortunate enough to professionally indulge my passion for perfume for over 25 years, whilst parallel, I’ve built a career in my studied vocation of graphic design and communication arts. However, if it were to all go away tomorrow, I would probably look at mentoring young adults. The ‘adult me’ you see today is a product of childhood trauma, and whilst I’m actively addressing it, I strongly feel there needs to be more support for teens and young adults in the mental health sector.
You strike us as someone who follows their heart, gets up in the morning, and loves what they do! What advice would you give to anyone just starting their fragrance journey?
That’s kind of you to say! To anyone starting their perfume journey, or in fact anyone following their passion, I would reiterate, “stay in your own lane”. Don’t be dragged into toxic online communities where envy, competitiveness and resentment prevail. Instead, tread your own path and carve out your own niche. Remember, you are competing with no-one. Study your passion until you know it inside-out; hone your skills and remember to stoke the fire frequently. It’s an old saying, but if you live your passion, you will never work a day in your life.
You can check out Dimitri on Instagram.
Inspiring… thank you Dimitri
Congratulations to my dear friend, I have had the privilege of your friendship for many years, your wisdom & your knowledge. A gentleman & a scholar with an unparalleled eloquence and kick-ass sense of humour