Just as more and more brands opt for being super digital, Christian Dior is keeping it very real; and live, as it did Monday night, when it unveiled its pre-fall 2021 collection to an audience of 1,000 during Shanghai Fashion Week.
The Paris-based fashion house held its event inside the Long Museum West Bund in central Shanghai, presenting fashion inspired by pop aesthetics and the high-color globalism of Elio Fiorucci. Talk about funky in the Far East.
Dior’s creative director Maria Grazia Chiuri frequented Fiorucci’s iconic and pathbreaking fashion emporium in Milan back in the ’70s, and that sense of fantasy was apparent in a collection that featured acid hues, transparency, hyper reflective metallics and power-pop rockstar looks. Mixing it all up with her signature semi-sheer calf length skirts; French mariniere sweaters; cannage mini-skirts; fishnet tights; metallic Parisian berets and chunky boots.
All staged in a mammoth nightclub show set – with leopard-print stairwell; giant gold glitter walls and immense disco balls. A veritable boogie night on the Bund, with local stars Zhang Ziyi, Ora Yang and TFBoys’ Karry Warry sitting front row.
A see-now, buy-now event live streamed to 126 million people on Dior’s own sites and Chinese social media platforms like Tmall, where customers can pick up their orders in two weeks’ time. The show also was the first time Dior ever staged a runway show for a pre-collection.
Chiuri had already unveiled most of the collection in Paris, but for the show in Shanghai she climaxed with four brand new dresses – composed of flared chiffon plissé skirt and metal sequined singlet, each bearing one letter D, I, O and R. The whole amped-up collection starred giant sequins and mirror-disc embroideries, while the Italian couturier also played with the iconic Bar jacket, revamping it in an up-tempo leopard print; and reworked the iconic Lady Dior bag in silver sequins.
The designer put together the show working remotely from her studio in Paris, organizing the cast fittings via video and computer links to China, where Dior was a guest of honor on the official calendar for Shanghai Fashion Week.
Chiuri called on her fellow Italian – disco legend Giorgio Moroder – to develop a custom-made soundtrack to the show. The house also invited Maripol, the former store manager of the Fiorucci New York flagship, to intone dramatically during the show. Maripol, who produced the legendary Downtown 81 documentary on the New York art scene, also shot the collection lookbook.
Before a finale which featured surprise performances by singer Joey Yung and the Chinese rock group Black Panther.
“Shanghai Fashion Week is now an ecosystem gathering all parties from inside and outside the fashion industry of China and globally. Dior’s collaboration with SHFW proves the impact of our platform. It also proves the city’s attraction to international luxury fashion brands, and the Chinese market’s attraction,” said Xiaolei Lv, vice Secretary-general, Shanghai Fashion Week Organization.
“We believe the marketing activities like Dior in China during the fashion week will also inspire Chinese young and creative talents. Although the core business of Shanghai Fashion Week remains supporting and promoting Chinese talents, we expect more international brand appearances during our fashion week in the future,” Lv added.
Dior has been busy in Shanghai for some time. Last year the couture house staged the Christian Dior: Designer of Dreams exhibition, also in the Long Museum, which attracted 250,000 visitors. While in December, the brand staged a soiree and viewing party for local hipsters of its men’s pre-fall collection, a collab’ with artist Kenny Scharf and menswear designer Kim Jones.
With China practically the only buoyant luxury market right now, all the activity made sense. In the final two quarters of 2012, Dior scored double-digit revenue growth, even as most brands suffered falls.
However, Monday night was all about having fun, both looking back to the glorious days of disco, and forward to when Dior can finally again stage shows in Paris.
Testifying to her love of disco, Chiuri organized a show playlist on Spotify, which included classic dance tracks like I Feel Love by Donna Summer; Supernature by Cerrone; Blue Monday by New Order; Miss Broadway by Belle Epoque. And, of course, Chase by Giorgio Moroder.
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