Korean Opportunity: Dior, Seoul
In a bid to strengthen its influence in the Asian market, French luxury fashion house Dior has opened its latest flagship in Seoul's affluent Cheongdam-dong shopping district. This will allow the brand to tap into South Korea's $8.3bn luxury market, now ranked as the third largest luxury market in Asia behind China and Japan.
Designed by French architect Christian de Portzamparc, the six-storey building – which is already becoming a local landmark thanks to its curvaceous, bright white façade – is the brand's largest flagship in Asia to date. The elegant interiors take design cues from the brand's iconic Montaigne flagship in Paris and mix traditionally luxurious materials such as leathers and wood with high-gloss and textural surfaces. The interiors were overseen by NY-based architect Peter Marino – the man behind the flagships of sister brand Louis Vuitton.
To enrich the in-store experience and show off all aspects of its brand personality, Dior has opted for a hybridised store concept that brings retail, hospitality and culture all under one roof. The top floor boasts the Dior Café, helmed by French pastry chef Pierre Hermé, while the lower floors feature a Palace of Versailles-inspired VIP lounge and a gallery, as well as housing the brand's full collection of products including bags, shoes, watches, jewellery and ready-to-wear. A separate menswear department is located in the basement.
The launch is accompanied by an exhibition at Seoul's Dongdaemun Design Plaza dubbed Esprit Dior, which showcases Dior's designs, both historic and current, alongside collaborations with Korean artists such as Lee Bul (who also designed a crystal, glass and aluminium installation for the Seoul flagship). For more on how to boost brand appeal through retail strategies with either a local-centric and/or heritage aspect, see Specialise to Survive, part of our Future of the Store Industry Trend, Monetising Heritage and Rites, Rituals & Culture Clubs from our New-Era Luxury Macro Trend.
For more examples of the role (and evolution) of retail flagships, including hybrid retail concepts, see The Evolution Of The Retail Flagship, Hybrid Retailing, Retailer-Restaurants and Luxury Brand Temples: The New Power Flagships. See also Art-Fuelled Fashion Spaces.
For more on the use of extraordinary architectural concepts to boost brand awareness, see Radical Facades, Future-Facing Facades, Media Facades Summit and the section Architecture as Advertising in Store Design Directions: Architecture, Materials & VM in our Future of the Store Industry Trend.