HONG KONG — Christian Dior’s first haute couture show in Hong Kong drew celebrities and VIPs from across the region to see the spring 2014 collection.
“We invited some of our clients outside Paris to see the show in January, but many couldn’t attend so we brought it here. Television, the Internet and magazines are great, but for haute couture you need to see the pieces up close,” said Sidney Toledano, Dior’s chief executive officer.
Guests flew in from China, Singapore, Vietnam, Taiwan and Indonesia to attend the show. Taiwanese actress Lun-mei Gwei was on a high from the recent release of her movie “Black Coal, Thin Ice.” “I had to come. I’m just here for the night, then back to Taiwan. My new movie is out, and I’m looking forward to taking a rest,” said Gwei.
Mixing with Zhang Ziyi, Carina Lau, Pansy Ho, Simon and QiQi Lam and other Asian celebrities and socialites was Elizabeth von Guttman. She said she was looking forward to two things in Hong Kong — shopping and dim sum. “I think I’ve been eating dim sum since I arrived,” she said. “I’m hoping to get up the Peak tomorrow and do some sightseeing.”
Hong Kong socialite Fanny Sieh, wearing Dior, said she’d seen the show in Paris. “Last month I opened a Chinese restaurant in Central — Mott 32. I think we will go there afterwards to celebrate,” said Sieh.
Hong Kong fashion designer Tania Mohan said, “Things have been busy, I’m working hard on my brand Tabla to bring it to an international audience.”
Steaming up the front row was former Miss Vietnam Mai Phuong Thuy, looking glamorous in Dior. As well as modeling, she said she is active in helping run the family businesses, a chain of restaurants and pharmacies.
The show at the West Kowloon Heliport began dramatically when the wall that ran the length of the runway turned transparent to reveal a postcard view of Hong Kong Island across the harbor. The haute couture collection was the same as that presented in January in Paris — a very modern aesthetic, with strong silhouettes in a palette of navy, black and ivory.
Dior’s whole haute couture team traveled to Hong Kong, and manager Madame Rivière will meet with clients over the next two days. They will be able to view the dresses and have fittings at the flagship Dior store in The Landmark in Central. Access to the VIP room is through a special entrance in the lobby of the neighboring Mandarin Hotel. Well before she left Paris, Rivière’s appointment book was very full, testament to the strong market for haute couture in the region.
“The Chinese customers like the sophistication and exclusivity. The new couture designed by Raf [Simons] is talking to them — they like the modernity he is bringing in this new direction, they like the spirit and they like the DNA, they want to know the story of the company,” said Toledano.
While some luxury brands experienced a slowdown in the last couple of years, Toledano said Dior had not been impacted and 2013 was an improvement on 2012, with double-digit growth and the same expected for this year. The clampdown on gift-giving in China was thought to be at the root of the slowdown. Toledano said as most customers were buying things for themselves, not gifts for others, Dior was not as impacted.
“The luxury market is still growing, but at different levels for different brands. For Dior it is growing and I am confident in the Chinese market — we continue investing, renovating and extending,” Toledano said.
On May 30, Dior will open a flagship in Chengdu. Designed by architect Peter Marino, it will feature side-by-side men’s wear and women’s wear stores. Alongside the opening is a new concept to offer a window into the world of Dior — a monthlong exhibition, “Le Petit Theatre,” to run through June.
Dior is seeing expansion throughout the region. A new store will open in Melbourne at the end of the year. In Singapore, the Marina Bay store is being renovated and expanded, with women’s wear taking over the full current area and men’s wear moving to another floor. It is expected to reopen in a few months. The Kuala Lumpur store is being renovated, and flagships opened in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh last year. And in Hong Kong, a new men’s wear store will open in the basement of The Landmark, below the flagship, in early 2015.
The next big Dior event in Asia will be the Dior Homme show on April 18 overseen by artistic director Kris Van Assche. While women’s wear still accounts for a larger slice of the pie in China, Toledano said that the weight of men’s wear in the region was more important than in the rest of the world.
“This is part of our strategy investing in the brand, showing the big shows to our clients,” Toledano said.
In his new book “Hollywood Royale,” Andy Warhol’s Protégé Matthew Rolston celebrates the Eighties revival of Hollywood glamour. Featuring more than 100 portraits taken by Rolston from 1977 to 1993, the book contains photos of icons like Michael Jackson, Cyndi Lauper, and @drewbarrymore, pictured here in 1991. “Hollywood Royale,” out today, will be accompanied by an exhibition opening at Los Angeles’ Fahey/Klein Gallery on March 1. #wwdeye
"Nowadays when life is not so happy with everything going on in the world, I think people come to me for a little bit of whimsy and color and fun." - Designer Rebecca De Ravenel on her cult-favorite jewelry line. (📸 : @vsteves) #wwd40
“Everyone is talking about how the retail industry is struggling, but I think it’s an incredible time because brands who are doing something different and innovative are setting themselves up for the future,” said @adamgoldston, who founded the luxury athletic brand @apl with his brother @ryangoldsten. The Goldston’s are part of WWD’s 40 under 40: a group of industry notables. See the rest of the list on WWD.com. (📷: @vsteves) #wwd40
@eyeswoon blogger Athena Calderone debuted her first-ever cookbook, “Cook Beautiful,” which is heavily centered on the presentation and visual expression of food. Pictured here are her miso glazed carrots from the book. Get the recipe on WWD.com. (📷: @johnny_miller_) #wwdeye
“It’s passion that helps get anybody to a certain point and it’s what’s propelled me,” said Kith founder @ronniefieg, one of WWD’s 40 under 40: a group of industry notables who are changing the face of retail, fashion and beauty. Fieg, who opened a Manhattan flagship on October 7, began his career at age 13 as a stock boy and salesman for footwear chain David Z. “I think staying true to [my] beliefs, hard work and passion have gotten me to where [Kith] is today.” See the rest of the 40 at WWD.com. (📷: @vsteves) #wwd40
25-year-old @samweaving is about to break out this fall, starring in Netflix’s horror film “The Babysitter,” fittingly out today on Friday the 13th. That’s not the only place you’ll be seeing her, though — Weaving’s got a role Showtime’s “SMILF” and another alongside Frances McDormand and Woody Harrelson in “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri.” Though she’s got a full plate at the moment, there’s one role she’s got her eye on: Marilyn Monroe. “I’m a little too young at the moment, but it’s on my bucket list,” the actress told WWD (📷: @dandoperalski) #wwdeye
BFF's Poppy Jamie and Suki Waterhouse celebrated the launch of their bag line Pop x Suki at Nordstrom last night. "The line is really about our friendship, and how we are so different but complement each other," said Waterhouse. 👯 (📷: Katie Jones) #wwdeye
After designing the new @louisvuitton and @bulgariofficial flagships and a @chanelofficial boutique opening in Japan, @petermarinoarchitect has another project on his plate: The Lobster Club. Located in the Seagram Building, it’s the famed architect’s first restaurant project in New York, serving up modern Japanese brasserie-style cuisine. Bronze hues, bespoke material detailing, blush and chartreuse tones and a heavy emphasis on Picasso can be seen throughout. Mark your calendars for Nov. 1 for the much-anticipated opening. (📷: @clint_spaulding) #wwdeye
Did you know: @carlychaikin of "Mr. Robot" has been painting for about a decade? The actress, who plays Darlene on the show, is a self-taught artist who lists Salvador Dalí and Chuck Close as some of her idols. Chaikin told WWD that painting is a form of meditation for her — A much-needed one given the intensity of "Mr. Robot." See a piece Chaikin is working on at WWD.com (📷: @jilliansollazzo) #wwdeye