PARIS — As big as a minaudière on the computer screen, the Incroyable et Merveilleuse Grenouille diamond ring rotates, each facet glinting seductively.
A few clicks away, one can inspect a Diosera “bar” couture jacket circa 1997, the texture of its woolen fabric and fringed edges taking on a 3-D dimension.
This story first appeared in the October 10, 2011 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
Dior’s new Web site, slated to go live on Wednesday, unites fashion and beauty universes at one address, and portrays — via high-definition images and videos — the French brand’s ongoing upscaling drive.
“Once you are in the house, you can go into different apartments,” Sidney Toledano, Dior president and chief executive officer, said during an exclusive preview of the Internet venture. “We decided to have a one-Dior site.”
Over a year in development, the site boasts more than 80 videos in its overview section alone, and striking curve-shaped slide shows for women’s fashions and accessories, echoing the entry rotunda of Dior’s flagship location on the Avenue Montaigne here.
While there are some e-commerce components — for example, beauty products are available for purchase in the U.S. — and it’s possible to check a product’s availability in local Dior boutiques, the main purpose of the unified site is to engage young consumers and reinforce the brand’s luxury orientation and couture roots.
When online users pick a category to explore — leather goods, watches and jewelry, children’s wear or fragrance — among the first options is a video depicting Dior’s savoir-faire in the category.
“You see hands. You have demonstrations of people working,” Toledano said. “It’s so we can feel the detail. I just want to make sure we get across this high-quality point of view.”
Toledano declined to quantify Dior’s ambitions for traffic to the site, stressing it’s a “communications tool.”
Later this year, Dior plans to layer on a digital magazine, viewable on the Web, iPhone and iPad. Details are forthcoming.
The site is uncluttered and simple to navigate. Users can probe more deeply into product categories, or broad subject areas like “expertise” or “exceptional pieces” and share content via Facebook, Twitter and other popular social media sites.
While the site has a consistent overall look, including a dark gray frame, Dior’s various creative talents — Kris Van Assche for men’s wear, Victoire de Castellane for fine jewelry and Tyen for makeup — were given latitude to express the personality of their respective departments.
For example, fine jewelry is displayed next to exotic, taxidermy birds, or atop tiny furniture, much as they are in Dior fine jewelry boutiques. The Dior Homme section is more linear and minimalistic.
Across categories, prominence is given to exceptional products, from handmade couture dresses to patterned eye shadow compacts, the various colors blended and painstakingly pieced by hand.
“It’s like putting everything in one store. Today, we are more and more doing big stores because we really want people to experience our universe,” Toledano said. “The only thing missing now is the smell.”