The strategy behind Dior’s new megastore

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  • Dior’s historic flagship on Avenue Montaigne is set to reopen with a museum, restaurant, pastry shop and luxury suite.
  • This is LVMH’s latest bet on using experiences and hospitality to deepen brand engagement, after Fendi restaurants and Bulgari hotels.
  • The project comes as Dior gains on Chanel, with analysts estimating it has tripled sales to $7.2 billion under CEO Pietro Beccari.

PARIS – “It’s not a store, it’s a universe,” said Dior chief executive Pietro Beccari, taking a seat in an armchair still draped in plastic tarpaulin at 30 avenue Montaigne, the founding address. emblematic of the brand.

Less than two weeks before its official opening, saws were still buzzing at the sprawling resort where the fast-growing brand plans to flex its new scale. On March 6, the brand will unveil a flagship store that has tripled in size, along with an adjoining fashion museum, restaurant, patisserie, garden and luxury hotel suite. The brand’s historic couture workshop also returns to the building, as well as a sumptuous salon for private sales and fittings.

The expansion – designed by key luxury architect Peter Marino – took two years to build as six historic buildings acquired by Christian Dior, including the mansion where he launched the brand in 1946, were combined into an eight-story building of 10,000 square meters. -meter complex. The project is a bold statement on the continued importance of physical experiences at a time when e-commerce is experiencing unprecedented growth.

Look up into the store’s airy atrium and you’ll see a light-up sculpture by Paul Cocksedge, meant to evoke sketches of Mr. Dior falling from his desk. Sculptures by Isa Genzken and photos by Brigitte Niedermair, as well as a 2,000 square meter museum dedicated to the history of Dior, testify to the company’s desire to elevate its brand closer to the blueprint of the art, following documentaries on crafts, exhibitions and the major “Christian Retrospective Dior: Creator of Dreams.

Look ahead and you’ll see Dior’s strategy of translating that storytelling into relatable, bankable products on full display. Counters showcasing a selection of the brand’s best-selling accessories and footwear lure shoppers before they’re guided through labyrinthine wings devoted to men’s and women’s fashion, or shop-in-style areas. single-category shop for homewares, jewelry and beauty.

Merchandising offers a myriad of classic product combinations, seasonal styles, and seasonal twists on the classics. Signatures such as “cannage” stitching, black and white chevrons and Dior’s “oblique” logo pattern are applied across a wide range of product categories and price points in a way that helps ensure that wide offer of the brand feels recognizable Dior.

Further on, in the winter garden and the Dior pastry shop, a €17 pastry offers another way to discover the brand without breaking the bank for the €2,900 bag. A restaurant run by Michelin-starred chef Jean Imbert – a star of the French culinary scene whose career was launched by a win on “Top Chef” – offers another layer of experience.

“We wanted to build a sort of Luna Park of the senses,” Beccari, 54, said. “Someone who comes here, if they liked Dior, they will like it even more. And if they didn’t, they would be convinced of the value of this brand.

Dior Charter

A mix of spectacular and rooted

30 Montaigne’s mix of spectacular and down-to-earth reflects an approach to business for which Beccari, who joined Fendi in 2018, has become known. At Fendi, the aim of hammering home its central message as the Roman house of fantasy and fur was exceptionally executed, culminating in a high fur (high fur) show that took place not at, but on the Trevi Fountain, with models walking on Plexiglas platforms through the water. At the same time, Fendi capitalized on its renewed interest in fur by pushing small accessories like fuzzy bag charms and key rings.

It is also the latest chapter in a group-wide campaign by parent company LVMH to integrate luxury brands and experiences. During Beccari’s tenure at Fendi, the group installed a restaurant and a luxury hotel in the brand’s Roman palace, as well as the opening of six Bulgari-branded hotels. In 2018, LVMH acquired the Belmond hotel group for $2.6 billion and last year reopened the Samaritaine department store in Paris after a 10-year renovation that included the installation of a high-end hotel chain Cheval White in its upper floors.

The massive complex is also the product of a sort of meltdown reaction as LVMH chairman Bernard Arnault’s seemingly endless appetite to invest in Dior collides at a time when the brand and its products are running at full capacity. diet.

This combination has seen the brand build on its rapid growth, continuing to spend up to 10% of its revenue on marketing, even as sales nearly tripled during Beccari’s tenure, from 2.2 billion euros. at 6.5 billion euros ($7.2 billion), according to HSBC estimates. (LVMH does not detail sales of individual brands; Beccari declined to confirm the estimate).

The idea of ​​tripling the size of Dior’s Paris flagships was a bold move when work began – with 2,200 square meters for retail and 600 square meters for private sales, it is now larger than the historical bases of much larger old companies like Chanel on Rue Cambon. or the Hermès Faubourg Saint-Honoré base.

But when stores closed during the pandemic and other brands pulled out — cutting back on marketing and canceling fashion shows — Dior continued to stage (and aggressively advertise) lavish releases for its collections.

Neck-to-neck with Chanel

Dior’s bet paid off: combining the sales of Christian Dior Couture and its beauty sister company, Parfums Christian Dior, the Dior name should exceed 11 billion euros ($12.3 billion). in 2022 — neck and neck with Chanel, the Parisian compatriot of beauty and couture that has long eclipsed it. (Chanel has yet to release numbers for 2021, but gave guidance for sales to at least exceed pre-pandemic 2019 levels of $12.2 billion).

Dior Charter

Beccari denies the brand still compares itself to Chanel, describing it as one of many rivals. “We’re working on the long-term desirability of Dior and trying to gain market share, from Chanel, Hermès, Gucci, whatever they are,” he said. “That’s what it’s about.”

The brand’s current success is a far cry from the days when LVMH chairman Bernard Arnault acquired it, then struggling within a debt-ridden textile and retail group, from the French government for one euro. symbolic in 1987.

“Dior has always been Arnault’s baby,” said HSBC analyst Erwan Rambourg. “A few years ago, when it was a 2 billion [euros per year] company, all the marble and locations didn’t necessarily seem to make a whole lot of sense. But now that they’ve tripled sales, you get the returns.

Beccari has earned a reputation as a “capable person”, Rambourg said. “He comes across as a dreamer, then goes all out to make the dream come true.”

Beccari’s signature blend of the spectacular and the grounded is more present than ever in Dior boutiques, where big-budget outings like Maria Grazia Chiuri’s globetrotting cruise to Marrakech; Lecce, Italy; and Athens result in salable products like limited-edition €4,700 Saddle bags and €195 hair ties.

Beccari’s choice for menswear director Kim Jones was rewarded for his sensitive and androgynous reinterpretation of Dior womenswear signatures, such as the Bar suit on the catwalk. But hit products like skateboard sneakers and shoulder bags create a spunky, even macho vibe on the streets, helping the brand reach a new generation of men.

“It all starts with their freedom to do what they want. Then, once we have the material, we try to package it in the best possible way,” Beccari said.

A patisserie offers an affordable experience inside the Dior flagship store and museum at 30 Montaigne.

For retail consultant Robert Burke, Dior’s approach of blending luxury shopping with a more welcoming and accessible experience makes sense: rather than “pretty woman”-ing customers, Dior offers a taste of wow factor of its price over ask for the couture for 12€ in its museum.

“Strong brands today realize that capturing consumers’ attention is what’s important,” he said. The decision to include luxury hospitality, albeit just one suite for now, allows the brand to explore a new way to activate ultra-high net worth customers, while patisserie and museum make the store relevant to a wider audience. “Brands are realizing that there are ways to grow their audience without diluting their impact,” he added.

Beccari says Dior’s best days are yet to come as the brand leverages its new financial muscle to take on bigger projects like 30 Montaigne to drive growth.

“Scale is absolutely important. It gives you the freedom to create impact,” he said. He and Mr. Arnault agreed on the deep renovation of 30 Montaigne as the “power economic” of the brand was much less, he explained. “Now think that we have the money!”

Editor’s note: This story was edited March 3 at 7:40 a.m. An earlier version of this story misstated the name of a New York-based luxury retail consultant. His name is Robert Burke.

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