FRIENDS Anita, Fran and Lynne have Fashion coursing through their veins. They may spot Dior DNA, in abundance, in Maria Chiuri’s Ready to Wear collection, shown in Rodin’s Paris museum, this week.
It wasn’t easy for me to find many clues. Maybe this black and white ensemble has a suggestion of his legacy in the darted waist, floaty skirt, peplum and tailored cuffs.
But here’s the rub: regardless of whether the critics like the clothes or see work as credibly linked to Dior’s back catalogue, sales are significantly up since Chiuri took over as artistic director.
Christian Dior Couture posted 2017 half-year sales revenue of just over €1 billion, up 17 percent from €893 million for the same period one year ago at constant exchange rates.
Already the avowed Feminist, Chiuri, has succeeded in attracting a much younger millennial audience — set to soon account for a large proportion of luxury spending — and her designs are reportedly selling far more briskly than the more critically-acclaimed conceptual work of her predecessor Raf Simons.
Critics and consumers are held in the thrall of a direct-to-consumer reality where longstanding media and retail channels are being increasingly disintermediated.*
Show reviews were once scrutinised by wholesale buyers who curated clothing for consumers. Now questions are being asked about whether opinions of critics or buyers matter, when brands can connect directly with consumers online and via their own stores.
Fashion marketeers know that what you deliver is not only the product but the story about the product.
*The direct connection between social media communicators/bloggers and consumers and Fashion followers.