HARRODS has opened its temporary Dior wonderland. The expansive project – which includes a café, exhibition, window display and pop-up shop – took over 18 months to create and was inspired by the fashion house’s long-term relationship with the famed London store.
“This isn’t a marketing tool,” Christian Dior CEO Sidney Toledano told us at the launch party last night. “It’s a transmission of couture. Customers look for more today, they want to hear about the brand history – they need to understand more. Harrods and Dior share the same goals, the same concept of luxury and the same level of service. We need to explain why and how we do what we do. I want people to understand the passion, the innovation and our commitment to excellence. When I come into this room, it works so well. Mr Dior is doing something – he is here.”
The store’s fourth floor Georgian Restaurant has been transformed into a Dior homage, complete with a giant doll’s house which inside features tiny furniture made using J’Adore Dior fragrance bottles; dresses worn by the label’s famous fans, from Diana, Princess of Wales, to Elizabeth Taylor; beautiful black and white imagery taken from the brand’s archives; videos explaining the concept behind its campaigns; and Dior versions of famous London landmarks – from post boxes to telephone boxes. Its window displays feature mini versions of the capital’s attractions, including Tower Bridge and the London Eye, each bearing a Dior stamp. Its pop-up store – which sells a collection of exclusive products – has already proved a success in just one day’s opening, having already made over £100,000 before 5pm yesterday.
“What Raf Simons represents is a culmination of Dior’s heritage and also cutting-edge luxury,” said Harrods’ chief merchant, Marigay McKee. “The luxury market is changing – a successful luxury brand needs to have a point of difference, there needs to be a reason to buy. Luxury is about a dream investment and finding products that are unique. Our customers love Raf’s curved heel Dior shoes – we can’t keep them in stock. They’re modern, they’re sexy and timeless.”
Toledano believes that Raf Simons has been instrumental in driving a new chapter at Dior, one he says that – according to recent financial figures – has pleased both customers and critics in equal measures.
“I expected that Raf would take us in a new direction, and of course he has, but what he has brought also is momentum,” he said. “Someone said to me before Raf was hired, ‘Why do you need a designer?’ We were doing very well as a house and had been for 20 years. A designer is connected to something, they have antennas – as Mr Dior once said himself. They hear the wind in the leaves.” Thanks to Ella Alexander and vogue.co.uk for the news.
Dior at Harrods is open to the public from now until April 14.