BOOTING UP VIRTUAL LUXURY

Byline: Katherine Weisman

PARIS — Christian Dior is taking the idea of a luxury fashion home page one step further and making it interactive.
Dior.com is a revamped Web site that went up last Friday. For the time being, it is an institutional and informational site where one can learn about the house, its fragrances and cosmetics or fashion and accessories. Online sales, however, are not out of the question, said Dior Couture president Sidney Toledano. Dior.com has existed since December 1998, but featured relatively static information about Dior’s beauty products.
The fashion pages, which enable users to access everything from accessories to men’s wear, open to a model wearing a bias-cut denim print silk dress and mini jeans jacket, accompanied by Lauryn Hill singing “Everything Is Everything” from October’s ready-to-wear show.
Other show music accompanies the photos of Dior fashion, some of which were pulled from runway shows and some of which were taken for the site. The haute couture section features a virtual rendering of the Chateau de Versailles’ Orangerie, where the show was staged last summer, but the models are from the actual show.
Interestingly, the viewer can click onto an “essentials” option and see some of Dior’s pre-collection. Pre-collection, which can represent up to 70 percent of a fashion house’s seasonal sales and which takes up a lot or rack space in stores, is rarely featured in magazine editorial and only in bits and pieces of a typical house’s runway show, thus hardly ever seen by the public.
The interactive aspect comes in the My Dior section, which is accessed by a user’s e-mail address and a personal password. A viewer can find the Dior looks best suited to her personality by clicking on four of nine thematic visuals. My Dior also features an electronic agenda and address book.
The fragrances and cosmetics side of the page is chock-full of product information, tips for choosing and applying makeup and color guidelines about how to choose the proper makeup based on one’s wardrobe choices.
There is a lot of editorial on this part of the site, ranging from fashion contributions from Elle magazine editors to “mini-novels” related to Dior’s major perfumes. The site was developed by Dior with a small french firm, Hexo.

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