Dior hosts runway show in South Korea for the first time
Dior hosted a fashion show in South Korea for the very first time on Saturday, presenting its latest collection to a star-studded audience in Seoul.
The French fashion giant transformed the prestigious Ewha Womans University into a runway, sending skateboarders down a sloping central ramp before models appeared in waves of yellow plaid, sheer tulle and pleated outerwear. The brand is also partnering with the university as part of its Women@Dior mentorship and education program.
Overseen by Dior's creative director Maria Grazia Chiuri, the label's Fall 2022 womenwear collection put a contemporary spin on uniforms. Looks were often completed with blouses and neckties, while short skirts and biker shorts contributed to what the brand described in a press release as "punk overtones."
Among the celebrities in attendance was Blackpink singer Jisoo, who has been a global ambassador for Dior since last year. The K-pop star was joined at the event by various other stars, including figure skater Kim Yuna and Korean American rapper Jay Park.
The show signals South Korea's increasing importance to the French fashion house, which described the weekend's event as "unprecedented." In a statement prior to the show, chairman and CEO of Christian Dior Couture, Pietro Beccari, said that the label is "forging new powerful ties" with the country.
Dior's website lists almost 25 boutiques across South Korea, including seven in Seoul's exclusive Gangnam district. Its flagship store, designed by Pritzker Prize-winning architect Christian de Portzamparc, opened in the capital in 2015.
On Sunday, shortly after the show, the label opened a sizable new concept store in the capital's trendy Seongsu-dong neighborhood. Inspired by the brand's Paris headquarters, the sprawling open-air boutique features a garden and lounge, with furniture by various Korean designers.
Dior is not the first European fashion house to stage events in South Korea as other Asian destinations -- China, most notably -- prove difficult to operate in amid Covid-19 restrictions. Louis Vuitton, for instance, presented its men's fall-winter 2021 collection at an art space outside Seoul. One of the last shows overseen by the label's late creative director Virgil Abloh, it featured K-pop mega-band BTS, which had signed as Louis Vuitton ambassadors earlier in the year.
Several other labels have looked to appoint South Korean stars as brand ambassadors, with Gucci, Loewe, Givenchy, Chanel, Prada and Alexander McQueen among those to sign up K-pop singers, movie stars or both in recent years.
Jisoo's Blackpink bandmates have all partnered with major luxury brands, with Rosé the face of Saint Laurent and Tiffany & Co., Lisa representing Celine and Bulgari and Jennie working with Chanel and Calvin Klein. Louis Vuitton's womenswear division is meanwhile working with "Squid Game" star Ho-yeon Jung.
While many Asian markets are still recovering from the impact of the pandemic, luxury spending in South Korea has bounced back to 2019 levels, according to consulting firm Bain & Company. The firm's 2021 Luxury Goods Worldwide Market Study noted that Korean shoppers choosing to buy at home rather than overseas has "more than compensated for the lack of tourism" in the country.
South Korea is now the seventh largest luxury goods market in the world, according to market research firm Euromonitor.