SHANGHAI – A former aircraft hangar in Shanghai’s West Bund arts district was given a glamorous blue-and-white makeover to celebrate 70 years of Dior on Saturday evening.
More than 500 guests joined Dior’s artistic director Maria Grazia Chiuri and a slew of Chinese celebrities and influencers — including Angelababy, who boasts 81.6 million followers on Weibo and was tapped to be a Dior ambassador in April — for the launch of “I Feel Blue,” a three-part exhibition that will show over only two days in Shanghai.
As well as a display of a dozen pieces from Dior’s archives, sourced from the brand’s seminal 1947 to 1957 period and designed by Christian Dior himself, and a display of porcelain Lady Dior bags in various shades of blue created by Chinese contemporary artist Liu Jianhua, a big screen video projection of Chiuri’s latest ready-to-wear collection for the brand was shown.
Prior to the event, Dior chief executive officer Sidney Toledano told WWD the French luxury house is continuing to build on its consistent performance in the Chinese market.
“I don’t give numbers but business is going very well. We have been doing well since we started here and we are improving on improvements,” Toledano said.
“With the new collection even, the summer collection from Maria Grazia, we are seeing positive inflection from that.”
The executive was also positive about the impact the brand is seeing from embracing new technologies as part of its communications strategy. Last year Dior made waves in China by becoming the first pure luxury brand to sell on China’s WeChat platform — which boasts more than 800 million users. For one day only — until stocks were exhausted — the usually e-commerce shy Dior offered limited-edition Lady Dior bags priced at 28,000 yuan (or $4,200) through its official WeChat account.
According to Toledano, the successful experiment showed the potential for connecting with consumers in China and elsewhere digitally. It’s a form of connection he is open to, so long as it’s done in such a way so as not to dilute the emotional connection people feel to Dior.
“It’s a tool. We did this experience with an expensive bag. I gave them five days as an experiment to see if they could sell this expensive bag and they sold out in 20 hours. We cannot ignore this way of connecting. I believe in the Internet to drive clients to the store and also if you can’t go to the store but you want something,” he said.
Dior’s Shanghai exhibition is part of a worldwide whirlwind of events scheduled this year to coincide with the brand’s 70th anniversary, including an expansive retrospective at Les Arts Décoratifs in Paris, and another in Melbourne featuring 140 couture garments, which will run from August through to November at the National Gallery of Victoria.