What Happened: Dior’s Spring 2021 Couture show was livestreamed to over 11 million viewers on Weibo. Drawing inspiration from Tarot, creative director Maria Grazia Chiuri’s 2021 collection was captured in a 15-minute film directed by Italian filmmaker Matteo Garrone. The livestream was followed by a discussion panel that featured media mogul Hung Huang, actress Carina Lau, supermodel Ming Xi, brand ambassador Yang Cai Yu, and others. The live broadcast on Dior’s WeChat video account exceeded 10,000 views, while other platforms such as Douyin, Little Red Book, Bilibili, and Tencent Video also held simultaneous live showings.
Jing Take: Since COVID-19 emerged, fashion weeks have gone online, democratizing the medium’s viewership. Anyone can now view collections online, as they happen — and anyone can be a critic, too. In some cases, brands take note of online critiques and act. For instance, Dior was panned for its lack of diversity last season; this new collection clearly addresses this issue, earning praise from netizens. The brand has also figured out how to extend the show experience digitally; a behind-the-scenes Q&A video starring Lau also fared well, engaging Weibo users. The livestream itself, however, didn’t rate as well on Chinese social outlets.
Opinions were harsh. The conversations were deemed bad and awkward. Boring. Unrelatable for many among the massive audiences. The backdrop was called unnatural. Such scathing commentary indicates that international luxury still fails to grasp the necessary nuances of the medium.
Dior’s Chinese New Year campaign, one often notoriously difficult to nail, was a success. Celebrity endorsements, product designs, and the brand’s use of cultural symbols all worked. From there, this livestream should have been an easy win. Instead, it missed a lucrative opportunity to connect with millions of eager viewers. Mainlanders have become increasingly accustomed to seeing professional, well-executed, entertaining livestreams. If exclusive luxury names (with generous budgets) can’t meet (let alone exceed) expectations, perhaps they should reconsider their form of democratization, which is, in practice, nothing of the sort.
The Jing Take reports on a piece of the leading news and presents our editorial team’s analysis of the key implications for the luxury industry. In the recurring column, we analyze everything from product drops and mergers to heated debate sprouting on Chinese social media.