Sunday May 27, 2012
A retail indulgence
French luxury label Dior, opens its biggest store in the world in a location that matches its aspirations.
WHEN it comes to the display of merchandise in a luxury brand's boutique it's as if there is an unspoken industry standard to leave uninterrupted space between the different styles of, say, the coveted handbag.
The more space between merchandise seems to suggest the ability of the brand to afford more real estate to display its coveted items.
And as such, a high-end boutique usually has space for only a modest selection of luxury merchandise.
But, the time has come when this modest quantity of merchandise cannot satiate the demands of its high-end clientele.
They simply need to see more and preferably, all in one place.
Which brings us to the recent grand opening of Christian Dior's newest flagship store in Taipei at the Taipei 101 – to tap into the increasingly wealthy Asian market.
Dior Taipei 101 is not only the largest in Asia, but in the world as we – a group of international media who were flown in for the launch – were told.
Taipei 101 is situated in the emerging financial district of Hsin-Yi that features spacious boulevards and landscaped parks.
On a chilly evening, guests – including Datuk Michelle Yeoh, Hong Kong actor Simon Yam and his wife QiQi, fellow actor Daniel Wu, and Korean actress Han Chae Young – arriving for the launch were quickly ushered onto a very long silver carpet.
In true high fashion spirit, flanking the carpet were some of the finest looking men in elegant black suits, welcoming guests.
Taipei 101, which opened in December 2004 – with 101 floors – is currently the third tallest building in the world, and is Taiwan's most elegant destination for premium goods, fashion and fine dining.
Galleries Couture, located on the third floor, is reserved for the gathering of top luxury brands from around the world, and this is where the opulent Christian Dior flagship reigns.
As guests made their way to Galleries Couture, they immediately experience its grandeur through the spaciousness and soaring ceilings.
Occupying 1,803sqm, this two-level boutique will undoubtedly satiate the demands of the most demanding client under one pricey roof.
The Dior Taipei 101 interior – designed by New York architect Peter Marino – is consistent with Dior's worldwide flagship in Paris on Avenue Montaigne.
It combines 18th century details blended with modern elements to achieve a feminine and glamorous aesthetic, reflecting Dior's traditional yet modern elegance.
Like the proverbial kid in a candy store, there was a hush of excitement as guests streamed into this very expensive store.
On the first level, two rooms are devoted to Dior's complete range of handbags and leathergoods. There is also a fine jewellery room which leads into a VIP area for the fine jewellery and watches.
Entering the first level, one is introduced to the iconic Lady Dior handbag in its latest Spring Summer 2012 style.
Customers who own every shade in the collection have the option of customising their own Lady Dior from a selection of exotic leathers.
An impressive staircase of wrought iron balustrade invites clients to the second level, which features three ready-to-wear salons – for cocktail and evening wear, a VIP salon and a shoe room.
The spacious fitting rooms offer a ceiling to floor length mirror and perfect lighting, complete with Dior's fragrances for spritzing pleasure.
To further enhance the luxurious experience, several contemporary artists were commissioned to design works of art throughout the boutique.
These included a circular Claude Lalanne Gingko bench in the bag room, a Veronique Rivemale mirror in the fine jewellery room, and a Rob Wynne mirror glass installation in the shoe.
A note-worthy art piece is the enormous ceiling to floor Oyoram video art installation – along the staircase – featuring live-streaming of Dior's runway shows that is synchronised with videos at the flagship in Paris.
To commemorate the world's largest Christian Dior flagship boutique in Taipei 101, the brand chose a romantic shade of pink to represent French elegance and mystical romance as the theme of the limited 101 series.
These limited collections include a Lady Dior bag in an elegant purple pink tweed, high heeled wedge made in purple pink tweed platform and shining lambskin, a pink rose and bow silk scarf and sunglasses with the classic cannage stitch pattern.
If he were alive today, would Christian Dior – who founded the haute couture empire in 1946 and regarded as one of history's greatest fashion figures – approve of such a mammoth retail experience?
He probably would, knowing that this was the new way to indulge the growing appetite of his fans.
And, he'd certainly be amused that when he started his Parisian couture house all he had was limited windows to display his coveted dresses!