It all started on an April evening in 1946 in Paris, when Christian Dior almost tripped over an object - a star - while walking up the Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré at Paris. Up till that evening he was hesitant about creating fashion, however, at that very moment he had flashbacks of his childhood friend Georges Vigouroux and other incidents that encouraged him and believed in his ability to make a change and at that instant he too believed that it was his destiny to be the change and decided to open a fashion house in his own name. Since then, Dior's fashion resembles change, empowerment and freedom.
On February 12th, 1947 Dior made an international success after presenting his first collection at 30 Avenue Montaigne, which became a turning point in the fashion industry and ot was a transformation from uniforms and restriction to seduction and femininity by presenting designs that for the first time after the war, complimented the female body and showcased the beauty of it. Today, the twinkling star shines in Dior’s designs and upon its buildings to honor the brand’s history and to act as a reminder to always believe in one's destiny.
In the 2019 Paris Fashion Week Dior took the opening ceremony to whole new level and it did not miss the chance to create an exceptional and unforgettable experience that left the audience astonished and filled with feeling of empowerment and freedom with its amazing ready-to-wear spring-summer 2019 collection that included 87 pieces of artistry, elegance, and charm by the Italian fashion designer and creative director at Dior Maria Grazia Chiuri and a special addition of fascinating choreography that speaks freedom by dancer and creator Sharon Eyal. Chiuri wanted the message of liberty and love to reach everyone across the world, she explained to British Vogue how modern choreography resembles freedom with the movements of the body and she added: "The inspiration is dance: fashion speaks about the body in the same way dancing does – it's like music, it's a universal language.” Truly, this combination of fashion and dance worked like a charm!
Dior continues to be the creator of haute couture, it also provides ready-to-wear fashion all across the globe. Although, it’s main focus is on womenswear because the brand was initially created to bring back women's attractiveness and femininity after years of war. Still, it offers menswear through one of its divisions, Dior Homme and childrenswear through Baby Dior. In addition to that, it provides a selection of accessories as well, including bags, footwear, jewellery, and timepieces. Not to forget Dior’s most profitable and best-selling items from fragrance, makeup, and skincare products.
Around the 1940s, during the depression era, the use of fabric was limited to certain types and quantities and as a consequence, fashions in general and womenswear specifically became sharp, short, and military-influenced. The dominating styles and pieces were peplum jackets with padded shoulders, knee length straight skirts, and tailored mannish suits. In 1947, Dior launched his first collection, which later became known as the “New Look” in fashion history. With this iconic collection, Dior wanted to bring back softness and femininity to womenswear by using softer fabrics and designs that follow the curves of the bust, accentuate the waist, and add volume to the hips. The best example is the iconic bar jacket with the flowy black skirt that was nipped at the waist and voluminous at the hips. This collection of feminine designs that highlighted the features of the female body empowered women and brought back their confidence after years of belittling and downgrading. This is where Dior’s luxurious female empowering heritage begun.
Although Dior is now controlled and chaired by Bernard Arnault, the head of LVMH which is the world's leader in luxury products, to this day, Dior never fails to follow its heritage and continue on inspiring people in all places. Because change and innovation are in Dior’s DNA, and because freedom was the inspiration behind the latest ready-to-wear women's spring-summer 2019 collection. Chiuri, the artistry creative director, took a whole new approach to Dior's silhouettes. In an interview with Vogue she said: “It's very important for me to test new things – such as the silk jersey – it's a new adventure. I think to be in fashion today as a luxury brand you have to maintain your heritage but to 'renovate' what is iconic for you." Certainly, she was successful in expressing Dior’s message and heritage in a new way. She got rid of the corsets that keep waists and bodies nipped, as well as the bones, underwires, and stiff fabrics. Instead, there was tulle, braided into a soft yet precise macramé dress. Also, for the first time, there was jersey, cut and draped and pleated into neat neo-Grecian dresses. Tie-dye floral prints were also present on many designs that added a touch of softness and femininity to the collection.
When it comes to marketing, Dior uses a mix of demographic - based on the age, gender, and income, psychographic - build around its target market’s lifestyle, values, and self concept, and behavioural - regarding user status, loyalty, and occasion, segmentation strategies to reach its target market, which consists of the upper-class section of the society, as well as, fashion conscious individuals with the biggest target being women. To cater to niche audiences, Dior manages multiple social media accounts on Instagram. In the recent years, Instagram has become one of the most used social media platforms for fashion purposes. A lot of fashion brands and influencers are using this platform not only to share photos of their creations but also to share insight from backstages, the process of making projects, advertising, and with Instagram’s latest feature, luxury brands like Dior can now sell products directly from a post! Dior official @dior is Dior’s largest platform with 21.4m followers and it is devoted to womenswear, backstage insights and in some cases to showcase celebrities that wear Dior to particular events throughout the year. Dior also manages separate accounts for its other divisions, each focus on a specific type of fashion system, for instance, @diormakeup for its cosmetic products, @diorskincare, @diorparfums, and @babydior_official for skincare, fragrances, and childrenswear respectively.
Dior has also been successful in positioning itself as a brand which carries rich heritage and at the same time challenge the trends and status of the fashion industry and modern society, the constant renovation is obviously portrayed in their designs over the years. It uses value-based positioning strategy to position itself as a premium brand, in addition to the high-quality production, Dior carries its DNA and meaningfulness behind its design in every collection. It presents the rich heritage and history of its dresses, perfumes, accessories and pictures in various parts of the world through exhibitions to promote products with a rich heritage.
In addition to artistic collaborations like Dior Lady Art where Ten contemporary artists have come together in a one-off collaboration to reveal their vision of the iconic Lady Dior bag (Dior, n.d). Dior has made its products easy to reach and accessible all over the world by using many selling strategies that satisfy the needs of the different consumers that it targets. For consumers who prefer an in-store experience, Dior has department stores in 210 location all around the globe. Being in a store and having the opportunity to physically touch and see the product is valued greatly for some consumers, however, with the development of technologies and the busy lifestyle that’s dominating the 21st century, many consumers now find it more convenient to shop online, from the comfort of their home or literally from wherever they are by simply ordering the items and have them delivered to their doorsteps. To fulfil this arising demand, Dior uses e-commerce, as a consequence, its products are available to purchase through its own website. Moreover, Dior fragrances and some cosmetics and skin care products are available to purchase in-store and online through other companies like Sephora. Couture designer Maria Grazia Chiuri made fashion history by announcing, "We should all be feminists." This empowering message with powerful words likes "liberty" and "love". She used fashion and choreography to express liberty in a unique way that has never been seen before. The body doesn’t know how to lie, and body movements communicate to the subconscious mind and deliver messages that no words can describe. Similarly, fashion is an expanded field of visual arts, the brain translates what the eyes see in a way that is most understandable to the individual person, from a unique perspective to each, all whilst conveying the same message. Chiuri made a genius decision to mix two powerful ways of communication to pass on a message that inspired everyone in the audience, even people watching behind a screen, without having to say a world. The way the dancers interacted with the models on the runway was spectacular. “They are fragile and strong at the same time” chiuri said, and this is how she envisioned women during the designing process. They can be soft and feminine while having so much power and strength hidden within. “The story comes from inside the body,” read an enormous Sharon Eyal quote printed on the exterior of the show space, resembling that the choreographic dance along with the designs speaks power and strength from the inside out.
Dior developed a strong branding image throughout the years not only by supporting and delivering such strong messages but also by its social media presence which helped it tremendously in increasing its brand equity as well as creating and maintaining an emotional bond with its consumers by further associating itself with brand ambassadors such as Rihanna, Johnny Depp, Natalie Portman and many more over the years. In my opinion, Dior’s heritage is compelling and the message it carries was and still is very important. To have a luxury brand like Dior adopt such a great objective is essential in today’s society, especially in this generation with all the technological advances, influencing and reaching a wide range of people is much easier. Dior is using its platform and ability to reach a wide audience in an effective way and its inspiring everyone around the world. Especially in the latest collection Chiuri freed women from corsets, nipped waists and bodies, uncomfortable clothing items with bones and underwires just to achieve the “typical/desirable” feminine body look. The widespread hourglass female body structure that’s been emphasized since old times by many designers is desirable by many women. To achieve those specific look designers used corsets, bones, underwires to create the illusion of that good posture. This provided, for a long period of time, some sort of confidence that it convinced the society and engraved this image of “perfection” in minds. However, Chiuri was successful in achieving this great looks without all the discomfort by replacing old methods, designs, and material with new state-of-the-art creativity and designs she took a new renovated approach to empower women from the inside out and I think she made an exceptional success in keeping Dior’s heritage alive. Just like Dior’s first ever collection revived fashion from the depression era to a whole new era, Dior continues to lift spirits up and influence people from all ages and genders and from generation to generation. Chiuri’s and Eyal’s breathtaking show demonstrate that luxury is not always materialistic, it's not about expensive fabrics and luxurious look, it comes from within, it is layers of emotion.
Dior was born out of passion and desire to make a change in how society perceived women. The goal was to inspire and empower women and indeed, since the beginning and until today this is presented in Dior’s designs, materials used, even marketing approach. The creative minds behind Dior never fail to honor Christian Dior’s purpose of establishing this fashion house "Women, with their intuitive instinct, understood that I dreamed not only of making them more beautiful but happier too." Christian Dior.
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