American Marketer


Dior brings together 15 international female artists for fragrance exhibit

November 12, 2013


French fashion house Christian Dior is aiming to further align its women’s fragrance Miss Dior with international artists during a two-week exhibition at the Grand Palais in Paris.

Opening Nov. 13, the free “Esprit Dior, Miss Dior” exhibit is dedicated to the heritage of the brand’s first fragrance created in 1947 to accompany designer Christian Dior’s “New Look” collection. The exhibit highlights the fragrance’s inspirations through the work of 15 international female artists who were given “carte blanche” to explore Miss Dior’s scent, bottle silhouette, its muses and history.

"Exhibitions are a great strategy to generate awareness and create buzz by utilizing innovative brand marketing through an interactive experience," said Dalia Strum, professor at the Fashion Institute of Technology and founder of Dalia Inc., New York.

"Affluent consumers resonate with exhibitions because it provides them with an opportunity to connect with luxury items in an interesting and engaging manner," she said.

"This strategy is a great approach to give first views to their loyal clientele, and engage with them in person about the brand and their recent product releases."

Ms. Strum is not affiliated with Dior, but agreed to comment as an industry expert.

Dior was unable to comment directly.

Visual scents
For the first time in the fragrance’s history it is the focus of a large-scale exhibition at the Galerie Courbe du Grand Palais in Paris from Nov.13-25. The exhibit explores Mr. Dior’s inspirations with a main focus on his debut fragrance.

Miss Dior bottle hanging in the entryway of the Grand Palais, Paris

The original Miss Dior fragrance was created as a couture perfume in 1947 and was named after Mr. Dior’s sister Catherine after she visited her brother’s studio.

Dior’s Esprit Dior, Miss Dior exhibit is broken into six themed sections that include “Perfuming the First Fashion Show, 1947,” “The Misses of 30 Avenue Montaigne,” “Miss Dior, Perfume to the Stars,” “Behind the Bottle,” “Christian Dior in Company of Artists” and “From Granville to Grasse” to outline the works of Mr. Dior.

Exhibit themes

Throughout the exhibit notable and historic pieces such as the the red “Concerto” dress, the “Bar Suit” and Raff Simon’s modern take on the original “Miss Dior” dress will be on display. The exhibit also features a gallery full of artists that inspired Mr. Dior, some of whom were personal friends, such as Bernard Buffet, Joan Miró, Salvador Dali, Man Ray and Giacometti.

To maintain the label’s connection to the art world, Dior invited 15 international artists to help the brand “propel the Miss Dior fragrance into the modern world.”

The fifteen pieces are on display next to the reference that inspired it. These inspirations include the Miss Dior bow, the rose, the houndstooth pattern and current ambassador for the fragrance, actress Natalie Portman.

Miss Dior bottle

Participating artists include Polly Apfelbaum, Carla Mattii, Hannah Starkey, Lara Baladi, Maria Nepomuceno, Joana Vasconcelos, Carole Benzaken, Shirin Neshat, Ionna Vautrin, Lee Bul, Tomoko Shioyasu, Liang Yuanwei, Karen Kilimnik, Alyson Shotz and Nika Zupanc.

Visitors to the Dior Web site can explore the exhibit’s themes and read bios of the participating artists. A few photographs of the art featured in the exhibit can also be viewed on the Web site.

For example, Ms. Apfelbaum created a multi-colored rug that draws on Miss Dior’s black and white houndstooth motif, which is joined by fragrance boxes and accessories in their original pattern.

Synopsis of Ms. Apfelbaum's artwork at the exhibit

Dior has been promoting Esprit Dior, Miss Dior on its social media through a teaser video that shows the all white bottle of Miss Dior, the outside of the Grand Palais and featured art pieces in shadows as camera pans the exhibit space.

'Miss Dior' exhibition - Teaser

Spirit of Dior
Dior has organized other exhibits that demonstrate the brand’s dedication to art and culture.

For example, Christian Dior partnered with the Museum of Contemporary Art in Shanghai, China, in an exhibit titled “Esprit Dior” to display brand history in relation to art, fashion, society and culture.

The Esprit Dior exhibit Sept.13 through Nov. 10 explored the haute couture fashions created by Dior throughout its history alongside contemporary works of art by Chinese artists (see story).

Dior often uses its heritage as a focal point to attract consumers.

For instance, the brand is giving enthusiasts a guided tour of the brand’s inner workings through a renovated Web site that stresses the importance of heritage rather than pushing ecommerce.

Unveiled on Oct. 31, the redesigned site allows consumers to “walk in the Dior world” by experiencing an array of images and content that tout the apparel label’s history in a magazine-like format (see story).

Positioning a specific section of brand heritage in a way that consumers are able to interact with leaves a lasting impression.

"Any opportunity to engage with their current and potential consumers allows the brand to create memorable experiences, where they begin to integrate into their lifestyle," Ms. Strum said.

"This strategy establishes brand-loyalty for the consumer, and opportunities for the brand to better connect and understand their target market," she said.

"With a focus on a single element of the brand, it allows the label to emphasize the attributes and lifestyle associated with the fragrance, including the sources of inspiration and artistic influences."

Final take
Jen King, editorial assistant on Luxury Daily, New York