French Luxury House Will Hold First China Couture Event In Shanghai On April 14
Continuing its expansion into the China market in 2012, the French fashion house Christian Dior has been busy this week reaching out to the country’s luxury-hungry consumers while preparing to hobnob with the Chinese media and business elite. On April 8, Dior announced the third edition of its online DiorMag, this time offered in simplified Chinese, and over the course of the week the company has updated the magazine daily with content and photographs centering on the haute couture collection it will present for the first time in China tomorrow at an event at Shanghai’s House of Roosevelt. In the run-up to the event, Dior has given additional clues to what it’ll be showing on April 14, announcing that its update during the event will offer backstage photos and portraits of celebrities in attendance.
Though Dior made its first official announcement of its Chinese-language DiorMag on Facebook — a misguided move if it wanted to reach Chinese readers, as Facebook is blocked in mainland China — it’s apparently hoping to make up for clumsily making the announcement on Sina Weibo. According to the brand’s Weibo page, the popular media figure, WWD columnist and Brand New China proprietor, Hong Huang (洪晃) will be live-tweeting the April 14 Shanghai event on Dior’s behalf. Considering the clout Hong holds on Weibo (her 4.5 million followers dwarf Dior’s 189,000), this will guarantee more eyeballs and better social media engagement than we’ve seen from Dior on the platform. While Dior’s Chinese-language DiorMag announcement garnered 8,187 “likes,” 252 shares and 111 comments on Facebook, its terse Weibo statement only led to 37 retweets and 18 comments.
Despite poorer use of Chinese social media platforms like Sina Weibo than brands like Burberry or Louis Vuitton — which were among the first to take Chinese digital media seriously — Dior can’t be faulted for not trying hard enough in the Chinese market. Last May, the brand brought a traveling multimedia exhibition to Shanghai, featuring interpretations of the classic Lady Dior handbag by some of the world’s best-known photographers, filmmakers and visual artists. Then, in July, the fashion house marked the opening of its newly renovated location at Shanghai’s IFC mall with an exclusive fashion show. In November, as part of its celebration of the grand opening of its new boutique at Guangzhou’s Taikoo Hui Mall, Dior held a star-studded party to debut its S/S 2012 in the southern metropolis. Soon after, Dior sent its perfume master François Demachy to Chengdu to discuss a new collection of 10 individual fragrances with invited guests.
In December, Dior capped off its busy (and successful) 2011 with the grand opening of its new 800 square meter Beijing flagship store at Shin Kong Place. To launch the new location, Dior invited dozens of Chinese celebrities, artists and local socialites to take part in the ribbon-cutting ceremony and viewing of the “Lady Dior As Seen By” exhibition, which included more than 50 creations from international contemporary artists.
The brand definitely has its work cut out in 2012. Let’s just hope it figures out how to better leverage Chinese social media, with all its local particularities, rather than expecting to reach China’s fashionable crowd via Facebook and Twitter.