Celebrating Haute Couture, Dior Takes Bold Approach With New Collections

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Celebrating “haute couture as an antidote to fast fashion,” this year’s Christian Dior couture show was held at Paris’ Musée Rodin. The collection was showcased inside a large white cube amidst beds of roses as guests entered the museum. The show notes asked, “Is it possible to celebrate haute couture while also offering a critical reading of it?”

Dior artistic director Maria Grazia Chiuri said of the show, “L’atelier is a space of the mind but also a real space. I wanted a collection that is not so visible on social media—we live in the moment, the right now.”

Dior’s collection combined classic couture and freshness and fluidity, from a three-piece, herringbone suit, with a spin on the iconic Dior bar jacket to strapless, jewel-colored dresses made from one piece of fabric and built without lining. Chiuri said she is “not from the satin generation.”

Leveraging social media, Dior uses Instagram to showcase the return of its $2,000 equestrian-inspired saddle bag line. The saddle bag blitz is one of the first moves at Dior by CEO Pietro Beccari, who previously enlisted Instagram stars Kendall Jenner and Bella Hadid to star in campaigns during his tenure at Fendi.

Chiuri staged a Mexican rodeo for a cruise collection featuring female riders who compete in the male-dominated rodeos, performing daredevil acts at breakneck speed while riding sidesaddle. “Life is a rodeo,” she said. “You have to learn to stay in the saddle.”

Dior will launch a new watches and jewellery boutique in Harrods in September featuring several special edition pieces: The Dior Grand Bal with feathers, yellow gold threads and scattered diamonds; and the Rose Des Vents breastplate, a multi-chain yellow gold, diamond and mother of pearl necklace decorated with Dior’s signature lucky stars. Dior also launched a Tête de Mort collection with skull-shaped jewels.

On the fragrance front, Dior is bringing Joy back for the first time in nearly two decades with Oscar winner Jennifer Lawrence as the face of Joy by Dior.

Aimed at millennials, Joy by Dior (50 milliliters, $100) will be available in stores worldwide in September.

“Three years ago, we felt it was about time to add another one that appealed to the next generation of consumers,” said Claude Martinez, CEO of Parfums Christian Dior. “The new generation in Europe and the US—people in their 20s, I’m talking about—are not that much in favor of fragrances. They are disconnected. A brand like Dior needs to be able to talk to them.”

Dior is also set to hold its first-ever men’s pre-fall runway show in Tokyo this November, featuring designs by Kim Jones. The show will coincide with a Dior men’s pop-up at a Tokyo department store that will carry Jones’ first collection.

The first major Dior retrospective in the U.S., “Dior: From Paris to the World,” opens at the Denver Art Museum in November, celebrating 70 years of the House of Dior’s legacy and global influence.

The proliferation of digital social media like Instagram, Pinterest and Snap, have brought chic couture mainstream. Last year’s 70th anniversary exhibition, “Christian Dior, Couturier du Rêve,” at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs drew more than 700,000 visitors. “The success of the exhibition in Paris was huge,” said Müller. “In fact, it was a record in terms of success. It was the record in the fashion exhibitions.”

From its founding by the master couturier Christian Dior, subsequent directors of the famed house include Yves Saint Laurent, Marc Bohan, Gianfranco Ferré, John Galliano, Raf Simons and Chiuri. LVMH is parent to Christian Dior along with other luxury brands including Louis Vuitton, Givenchy, Céline and Loewe. LVMH reported record-breaking annual sales of $49 billion for 2017.

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