Lady Dior in Duesseldorf
Lady Dior is a star. And no, she is not a lady but a best-selling handbag. Dior brought its 'Lady Dior As Seen By' exhibition to the Langen Foundation
Dior is a special brand. And there are many reasons for it. First of all, it’s the only house that has actually managed to shape two clear brand identities for men and women. Dior Homme under Kris Van Assche is a still growing business and also one of the highlights of the Paris men’s season. Van Assche is a master of street smart tailoring with an uncanny talent for luxury goods. Not only does he make good suits and sportswear but also fine shoes and bags, which sell extremely well.
But then, also the Dior women’s collection is a highlight of the women’s ready to wear and Haute Couture season. Maybe Hermès is on a similar level but in general big houses do not achieve to match the desirability of the women’s brand with men’s or vice versa. The recent show by Serge Ruffieux and Lucie Meier for women’s ready to wear was so strong and focused that one can imagine them having the job for a little bit longer as the market for outstanding new talent is limited. But again, this just shows that Dior, the brand is bigger than its individual designer, no matter what the name might be.
The first show after John Galliano proved that when CEO Sidney Toledano took the micro before the show to announce that the atelier had created the collection. Yes, there was super talent Bill Gaytten behind the scenes but still, the name of the house mattered more than the name of the designer. And this seems to hold true post-Raf Simons as well. But how is this done?
The recent ‘Lady Dior As Seen By’ exhibition at the magnificent Langen Foundation by Japanese architect Tadao Ando seems to give a clue. There, the best of Duesseldorf’s society and Germany’s actresses mingled to witness an exhibition of a selection of top artists who re-interpreted the Lady Dior bag. The brand also just opened a new flagship in Eickhoff’s old store. And here is maybe the recipe for success: focus on institutional campaigns and events as much as on fashion shows.