“Mr Dior was not just the designer – he was the boss,” Soizic Pfaff tells me. As the director of Dior Heritage, Pfaff arguably knows more about the legendary brand founder than anyone else in the world. We’re speaking in Paris at the launch of the brand’s newly renovated flagship store, which also includes the extensive new Dior Galerie exhibition – a museum-like installation that was more than four years in the making.
“It’s a fantastic project,” Pfaff says of the Galerie, which follows the journey of the fashion house since its inception in 1947 and was inspired by the successful moving Dior exhibitions which have travelled the world in recent years – from the Victoria & Albert Museum in London to the Musée des Arts Décoratifs in Paris. It features a series of themed spaces and archive pieces, staged in the very rooms where Christian Dior worked and held his original couture shows.
“We have many things that we found and bought specially for La Galerie,” says Pfaff. “We sourced many garments, documents, photographs, even gifts which were originally on sale in the 30 Montaigne boutique.” 카지노사이트
Christian Dior – whom Pfaff fondly refers to as Mr Dior throughout our meeting – launched his eponymous label in 1947, with his boutique opening in 1955 at 30 Avenue Montaigne. The current flagship store and exhibition still sits on that exact same site.
“You can see Mr Dior’s office, where it originally was,” says Pfaff. There’s also a recreation of the model ‘cabin’, a backstage space where the models used to change and have fittings. “How they’ve arranged the cabin – it’s as if they never left,” she adds. “You are almost ready to see Mr Dior arriving! For me, it would have been impossible to have this anywhere else.”
Pfaff, who has worked at Dior since the 1970s, oversees the vast Dior archive that contains documents, sketches, samples and historic pieces spanning the history of the French fashion house. The Heritage department, which launched in 1987, works to preserve and celebrate that history – sourcing and buying back archive pieces, organising exhibitions, gathering research for books, and cataloguing signature design codes. Her team works closely with Maria Grazia Chiuri for womenswear, Kim Jones for menswear, and Victoire de Castellane for watches and jewellery.
“Mr Dior wrote a lot,” Pfaff tells me. “He was a visionary and he loved to communicate, so we have so many documents and information about what he wanted and what he said.
“While you’re walking through the spaces you can also see the famous staircase, in the middle of the exhibition – and that was the place where everything happened. It was la column vertebra, the backbone of the house. [The exhibition] is very respectful of what he did and what he wanted.” 안전한카지노사이트
The Dior Heritage HQ, where Pfaff works, is situated in an unassuming, completely unbranded building in a hidden courtyard off Avenue Montaigne, and houses an extensive library of looks from each creative director, which works as a reference library for the design teams. This inventory is also used by VIP clients who can come and explore the vast catalogue and use it as inspiration for a bespoke piece from the haute couture department.
Celebrities and VIP clients, says Pfaff, have always been integral to the success of Dior. In fact, that’s why the 30 Montaigne location was originally chosen, thanks to its location opposite the famed Plaza Athenée hotel – a popular meeting point for high-profile women in the 1950s, which is still a popular haunt for rich and famous today.
“He wanted to have these very elegant ladies as his clients,” explains Pfaff. “Women of influence – and money. Mr Dior knew that the prices he proposed were high, but he knew he was completely justified, as the quality of fabrics and the construction was always the best.” The exhibition includes a room dedicated to ‘Stars in Dior’, which features dresses worn by the house’s ambassadors throughout the years – from Natalie Portman to Charlize Theron and Jennifer Lawrence.
In today’s digital world, with our reliance on quick retail gratification, next-day delivery and buying anything we need (or want) at the click of a button, brands are faced with the ongoing challenge of enticing shoppers back into stores. As a result, customer experience has never been more important, and the revamped Dior flagship takes full advantage of this: alongside the immersive exhibition – which also includes the chance to see the skilled seamstresses at work – there are Dior gardens to enjoy, a Dior restaurant to dine at, and even a Dior apartment to spend the night in.
“You must not sell only, that’s for sure,” says Pfaff, adding that the customer has come to expect “something more” from the retail experience. “Demonstrating the craftsmanship is important. [It helps with] the communication of the brand. The internet is fantastic, of course, but people want that [experience] now – especially now. They need that. The internet is great for a certain type of product, but for some garments you need contact, and you also need contact with the sales people…. It helps you understand the value of the product. We have to have both.” 카지노사이트 추천
With the pandemic having forced the shuttering of many retail brands, and the numerous lockdowns giving designers the chance to recalibrate and re-strategise, the labels finding success seem to be the ones with a clear focus and aesthetic; that remain true to their DNA. The Paris store and exhibition is certainly a faithful tribute to the man that founded it all – so is looking back, in fact, the best way to move forward?
“[Mr Dior] did so much in 10 years and now we are still living what he organised, and those fundamentals of Dior,” Pfaff says thoughtfully. “Particularly the history of 30 Avenue Montaigne, which is fantastic. What makes the brand special is the personality of the founder, and what he wanted.
“He is still the boss of the place, which is not necessarily the case in other fashion houses. You can still feel it.”