- RYAN WADDOUPS
At Dior’s Newly Revamped Paris Flagship, LVMH Doubles Down on Experiential Retail
After a two-year renovation, Dior is reopening its historic 30 Montaigne flagship in Paris. Featuring a museum, restaurant, hotel suite, and salon, the project is a big bet on fully immersive brand experience as luxury brands attempt to widen their scope beyond fashion into the realms of culture, art, and hospitality.
Dior’s newly revamped flagship at 30 Avenue Montaigne in Paris. Photography by Adrien Dirand
In 1946, Christian Dior founded his maison in a stately Parisian hôtel particulier at 30 Avenue Montaigne that eventually became the French label’s top-selling flagship. It closed in 2019 for a sweeping makeover, which entailed the LVMH-backed maison acquiring six contiguous historic buildings and combining them into a 108,000-square-foot emporium offering a wholly integrated Dior universe designed by luxury retail’s go-to interior architect Peter Marino.
Besides offering womenswear, menswear, accessories, homewares, jewelry, and beauty products imbued with Dior’s savoir faire, the flagship abounds with fanciful details like a luminous sculpture by Paul Cocksedge, suspended in an airy atrium, that mimics Christian Dior’s sketches falling from his desk. An adjoining museum recites the label’s history through the lens of its esteemed creative directors such as Yves Saint Laurent and John Galliano, while the on-site restaurant is helmed by French culinary breakout star Jean Imbert. There’s even a standalone hotel room that allows guests the chance to keep the store open all night for exclusive 24/7 access. “We wanted to build a kind of Luna Park of the senses,” Pietro Beccari, CEO of Dior, tells Business of Fashion. “Someone coming here, if they loved Dior they will love it even more. If they didn’t, they’ll be convinced about the value of this brand.”
LVMH continues to make ambitious forays into experiential retail, which they see as a key strategy for brick-and-mortar businesses to circumvent an evolving retail landscape that’s increasingly pivoting to e-commerce. Expanding its luxury travel portfolio has been a focus, from the expansion of Bulgari-branded properties to Fendi’s pop-up cafes to the acquisition of high-end hotel group Belmond.
La Samaritaine in Paris. Photography by Matthieu Salvaing
The conglomerate also recently bankrolled the long-awaited refurbishment of storied Parisian department store La Samaritaine, an all-in-one shopping destination that stocks such luxury brands as Fendi, Balenciaga, and Givenchy and offers five-star accommodations at the Cheval Blanc hotel, also designed by Marino. The success of La Samaritaine remains to be seen, and LVMH executives are notoriously tight-lipped about sales numbers; at the ribbon-cutting, a publicist stated that “we don’t want to talk of figures—that would spoil the dream.” Still, HSBC estimates that Dior’s revenue has tripled from $2.4 billion to $7.2 billion since Beccari took the reins in early 2018.
LVMH brand sales have boomed during the pandemic, but the wisdom of its all-encompassing strategy for in-person experiences is still a bold bet on consumer behavior and brand loyalty. Do people want all LVMH all the time? We’re about to find out.