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Dior leaves Galliano behind with Russian museum exhibit

March 17, 2011

Is Dior already back on its feet?


Christian Dior will flaunt its history with the opening of Inspiration Dior, an exhibition at Moscow’s Pushkin Museum of Fine Art that features the brand’s designs since its first collection in 1947. Guess who is not on the guest list?

The sudden termination of Dior Creative Director John Galliano’s position made the reality of Dior’s Paris Fashion Week runway show debatable. But the brand was able to carry it off and finish Fashion Week, with plans to do the same with the opening of the Russian exhibit.

“Dior has a long, and often interrupted, history in Russia,” said Chris Ramey, president at Affluent Insights, Miami. “The opportunity to provide an historical perspective is invaluable to the brand.”

Dior allure

The brand was certainly shaken when Mr. Galliano was caught on video spewing allegedly anti-Semitic remarks in a Paris café, just days before Dior’s fall/winter collection was set to hit the runway.

Mr. Galliano was Dior’s creative director for 15 years. Without his leadership, the brand was unsure as to whether or not it should run the show.

“Dior will have to find a new ‘voice’ to keep their style classic, as well as luxurious,” said Dalia Strum, founder of Dalia Inc. and, New York. “This scandal immediately affected Dior’s decision on Galliano’s future with the company.”

However, the brand landed on its feet and has kept the momentum going, especially with the planned April 28 opening of the Moscow exhibit.

The exhibit will run through July 24. It will feature 120 couture dresses and 60 blue-chip artworks including paintings from the Pushkin Museum and others, according to WWD.

The exhibit will showcase all of Dior’s product lines, such as fine jewelry, apparel, watches, perfume and influences behind the house. This includes all creative directors including Mr. Galliano and Christian Dior.

Also featured are the women who inspire Dior’s collections. Celebrities highlighted include modern influences such as Marion Cotillard, Charlize Theron and Penelope Cruz, as well as Mr. Dior’s early muses.

From Russia with love

When choosing efforts in which to bounce back from a devastating blow, a brand such as Dior needs to be careful and strategic.

In addition to this exhibit, Dior has also released a myriad of ads, including one with the Oscar-winning Natalie Portman who had actually denounced Mr. Galliano after hearing of his rant (see story).

However, Russia is an emerging region that already accounts for 3 percent of the total luxury market, Affluent Insight’s Mr. Ramey said. It is growing rapidly, and this is not including Russian tourists who buy outside the country.

There is no reason to believe that this exhibit will not resonate in Russia, as well as serve to help Dior back on its feet.

“An exhibit is also consistent with the traditional European strategy of creating desire and aspiration among the masses to elevate those who can afford the product,” Mr. Ramey said.

“Considering the affluence in Moscow dwarfs the rest of the country, as well as a solidified local distribution channel in place, the Dior exhibit is the ultimate brand promotion,” he said.

Final Take

Rachel Lamb, editorial assistant at Luxury Daily, New York

Rachel Lamb is an editorial assistant at Luxury Daily. Reach her at