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At Harrods, Dior Creates a Gingerbread Holiday Fantasy

With a larger-than-life holiday takeover that transforms Monsieur Dior, his family, and his atelier into a gingerbread world, Dior is making history at Harrods. This year, Harrods doesn’t have Santa’s Grotto, but with the House of Dior in town, who needs the reindeer from the North Pole anyway?

This is the largest brand takeover that Harrods has ever undertaken, and Dior has never worked on such a significant scale with a retailer. Dior has switched changed the traditional red and green of the season with warm cookie browns, caramel, cinnamon, and powdered sugar white both inside and outside the store.

44 windows, the storefront’s exterior in Knightsbridge, a café, and two pop-up stores are all included in the takeover. The focal point is an immersive experience that charts the development of the couture house and the life of creator Christian Dior. Animated tableaux composed of big and little gingerbread cookies, piped icing, and colored candies are featured.

In a magnificent 3D display for the Dior cruise 2023 collection, a mega-star measuring 17 meters, or nearly 60 feet, high hangs above the Brompton Road entrance. It was inspired by sketches by the Roman artist Pietro Ruffo.

A small forest of gingerbread fir trees covered in white sugar sits over Door No. 5 of Harrods around the corner on Hans Crescent. The full exterior will be illuminated for the first time on Thursday night as both businesses celebrate the opening with a cocktail at the store and dinner that follows.

Emma Raducanu, a tennis pro and Dior ambassador who resides in London is scheduled to cut the ribbon. “The Fabulous World of Dior” at Harrods, which runs from Thursday to January 3, is modeled after the company’s new flagship location at 30 Avenue Montaigne, which attempts to showcase the full breadth of the brand.

It also fits in with Pietro Beccari’s, chairman and CEO, intention to evoke a sense of fantasy. Dior undoubtedly arrived at the appropriate moment. Britain, like so many other nations, is experiencing economic hardship, a crisis in the cost of living, and potential fuel shortages in winter. For example, London is experiencing a downturn in international travel and recently saw the removal of tax incentives for foreign-born shoppers.

The Harrods takeover “comes at a time when people want to be diverted, when they want to have a moment of delight,” according to Beccari. While Dior cannot alter the world, we can perform our duties, which include inspiring people to dream. I think we’ve done that work here.”

When asked why Dior picked London for the takeover, Beccari responded that the British capital is among the most gorgeous throughout the holiday season. Due to their long relationship with the shop, Dior picked Harrods.

In 1953, the company’s founder Christian Dior opened a corner shop at Harrods. A few months later, he selected the location as the setting for his spring 1954 collection. In a special “Dior lounge” at the shop, Dior personally attended that performance. As a result of his love for British culture, he gave future fashion movement names like Dickens, Londres, Chelsea, Mayfair, Piccadilly, and Cambridge.

Beccari claimed that Dior was also influenced by the custom of taking kids to see the Christmas windows in American department stores. “We wished to participate in and uphold this tradition. You may even see Mr. Dior’s mother in the display because he had such a strong sense of family. I believe having that sense of family at Christmas is lovely, he continued.

The company is “very proud of our cooperation, which seems like the conclusion moment of our 70-year shared history,” according to Harrods managing director Michael Ward. The undertaking was “our most elegant and fascinating takeover to date,” according to Ward.

There are more reasons why Dior is in London. Following its display at the Victoria and Albert Museum in 2019, it has a larger fan base here. Less than three weeks after its debut, tickets for “Christian Dior: Designer of Dreams” were sold out, drawing close to 600,000 people. The exhibition’s run, which was extended from July to September 2019, was among the most prosperous in the history of the institution.

The House of Dior was featured in the biggest and most thorough British fashion show ever, with a huge display of dazzle, rippling wool, sculptured coats, and floral designs and motifs. The presentation shed light on the designer’s interest in Britain, his signature “lines” and aesthetics, as well as his global perspective and historical inspirations.

It is obvious that Beccari places a high value on telling a brand’s history and establishing its culture. The CEO declared, “Sharing your set of values as a brand today is practically a need. You sell more than just goods; you sell who you are. You must speak about it as you promote your expertise and history. Retail 2.0, Beccari declared.

Because of this, the Paris flagship also includes a café, a restaurant, a private apartment, and a place for ongoing exhibits. Because of this, the Harrods display includes a significant cultural component and serves pastries and meals that are influenced by Christian Dior’s culinary heritage.

Beccari stated that the founder’s belief that Dior should never be “too classic, or too literal” is something he always bears in mind. He believed that in order for traditions to be current, relevant, and even ironic, they need to be teased, pulled, and stretched.

Team Dior took this concept to heart, especially for the exhibition, which is like entering a puppet show and a Pixar movie combined. On the show, Dior collaborated with five creative businesses. It includes recreations of 30 Avenue Montaigne as it was during Christian Dior’s time as an employee, as well as his childhood home in Granville on the coast of Normandy and La Colle Noir, his manor house close to Grasse.

The buildings are covered in moving gingerbread Dior figurines, each with a tiny white lily of the valley flower picked out on his jacket. He appears in Normandy by the sea with his gingerbread mother, or at his immaculate set-up desk, daydreaming about dresses. Little clouds of thought float above his head.

Little shadows flit here and there behind the brightly lit windows of the gingerbread Avenue Montaigne store, revealing all the activity inside. Cookie cutter seamstresses use gingerbread sewing machines on one floor. Mechanical bees transport small buttons and bits of measuring tape to another area of the workshop.

At one point, a gingerbread fairy godmother makes an appearance, turning sugar into gowns and then back into sugar. Digital effects are also used, such as colored blossoms falling over a tall cookie house that displays the company’s classic scents. Digital fireworks and shooting stars erupted over the Normandy sea at the conclusion of the performance.

The area is filled with roses, cookie trees, and other plants. Despite not being edible, Dior has you covered. At Le Café Dior, where diners can sit on chairs upholstered in the Dior toile de Jouy and eat at wooden tables carved with the toile motifs, real gingerbread cookies in the shapes of the Bar jacket, the Dior Book Tote, and Lady Dior bags are for sale.

The installation also includes two pop-ups, one of which is a gift shop with units that resemble icing gingerbread on the walls and drawers. Conversely, conveyor belts display holiday treats including cookies and pastries as well as ready-to-wear, accessories, sweaters, and home décor goods from Dior.

The second pop-up, a gingerbread replica of Monsieur Dior’s atelier, provides a glimpse into the manufacturing process for Lady Dior and other bags and accessories. With two more spaces, beauty also has its moment. One is devoted to the La Collection Privée line of Christian Dior fragrances. The other concentrates on additional Dior scents, cosmetics, and therapies.

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