What do the Broadway musical “Miss Saigon” and Thursday night’s Dior party in Paris have in common?
A real helicopter.
One was plunked inside the French brand’s Champs-Élysées flagship, clad in Rimowa’s signature aluminum gray and upholstered inside with Dior Oblique logo canvas, created by Marc Bohan in 1967.
It was a dramatic way to celebrate the spring 2020 collaboration between the German luggage-maker and the French couture house, both part of luxury giant LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton. The party was to unveil the Dior and Rimowa capsule collection, first previewed on the Dior Men’s catwalk last June.
The chopper proved a great conversation piece, the blades almost grazing the scalps of the towering Arnault clan.
“It’s not my favorite thing,” Rimowa chief executive officer Alexandre Arnault confessed when asked about helicopter travel.
He noted that the flying machine on display lacked an engine, which had to be removed for safety reasons. It is to remain at the Paris boutique until Nov. 13 before traveling to the Parco department store in Tokyo, SKP in Beijing, Dior stores in Dubai and Hong Kong, plus a dedicated pop-up in Miami’s Design District to coincide with Art Basel Miami and Dior Men’s pre-fall 2020 runway show.
And then the younger Arnault took his father, Bernard, by the arm to show him the custom interior of the two-seater.
Kim Jones, artistic director of Dior Men, wore the diminutive Personal suitcase with its cross-body leather strap and talked about how helicopters are integral to his principle hobby: viewing rare wildlife.
“I like specific animals and the only places they live are usually places free of humans or roads so you have to take a helicopter there,” he said, mentioning a recent expedition to see flamingos in Africa. “It’s a way to see the ground close enough to do counts on animals, and to see the health of an ecosystem.”
Is he completely comfortable in flying glass bubbles?
“I get scared I must say because I’m terrified of heights,” he said. “And I don’t like it when it’s windy. When you get a thermal, that can be quite scary, especially around Mount Kenya when you get to the side that has snow.”
Actor Vassili Schneider said exhilaration overcame fear during his last helicopter ride during the Cannes Film Festival last May. He flicked through his camera roll to show footage of the craft zooming over verdant hills.
“I’ve done skydiving and it’s about the same sensation,” he enthused. “When you’re in a helicopter, especially when you’re low to the ground, you really feel like you’re flying.”
Schneider just wrapped filming the first season of the Canal+ series “Procession” and a TV movie “États d’Urgence,” in which he plays the son of a policewoman whose job spills over into her family life.
Lukas Ionesco, a musician and actor, said his father designs sets for movies and once took him on a helicopter ride over Paris. He just finished his latest album, “Magic Stone,” which he described as somewhere between folk and grunge. He’ll start touring this fall, with a Nov. 16 gig scheduled at Silencio, David Lynch’s subterranean Paris nightclub.
Guests at the party could also discover a new Snapchat application dedicated to the Rimowa and Dior capsule. Its augmented reality lenses can conjure a 3-D, rotatable, gull-winged DeLorean sports car with a suitcase tucked inside; project Dior’s Oblique logo as a sparkly mask on to your face, or make a Personal suitcase magically appear on a special card printed with clouds.
Pietro Beccari, chairman and ceo of Christian Dior Couture, characterized Snapchat as “a great playground for Gen Y and Z, generations that are avid for new technologies and a new trend to embrace.”
As for that silver helicopter, the executive saw it as a spectacular piece of merchandise.
“I think we’re gonna sell it as well. We already had a few clients who asked the price,” he said, pegging it in the stratosphere — at about half a million euros.