The new runway experience: Dior Cruise
In days gone by, when designers wanted to present their new collections, all they needed was a simple catwalk, a bunch of models, heaps of media, some shit hot clothes and a happening after party (thankfully the word 'happening' has been phased out). Alas, these days it's not so simple. To garner any sort of attention, a 'show' must now present a fully emersive experience for not only the attendees but for the many thousands (if not millions) of viewers and followers who will be watching via Insta, Twitter & Snapchat.
To stand out in the crowd these days, fashion houses are being pushed to create jaw-dropping events that sometimes last for days on end. Take the recent Dior show for example, which was reminiscent of what an elaborate 3 day wedding of a distant cousin with a penchant for self indulgence might be like. It began with show-goers arriving at their French hotel room to what can only be described as the best gift bag ever - a Dior pack that included fresh peonies, a handbag, a selection of beauty products including a fragrance, a pair of sunglasses and of course a perfect panama hat, all Dior of course. A stunning Dior themed dinner was then put on to ensure guests were well fed and gifted once again. Possibly the next day (actual timeline is a guesstimate) prior to the show, early guests were treated to a game of French bocce and then sent on to the spectacular residence of Pierre Cardin, known as the Le Palais Bulles (the palace of bubbles) which was to be the location of the show. Sprawling views of the mediterranean accompanied by free flowing champagne entertained guests before the show began and models took to the runway which ran in, out and around the bubble house while the sun began to set, obvs. Once the standing ovation for Raf Simons was complete, the after party began and featured an extravagant fireworks display which saw the evening come to an end. The next day however, the event continued with guests treated to a luxe lunch on the water in the French Riviera at what can only be described as a Dior cafe. Think perfectly striped ice creams cups, a Dior ice-cream truck, speedboat taxi's, Dior sun & deck chairs and of course a meal fit for a king.
Now I know you're probably sitting there wondering how I know all this, and before you ask, no I wasn't there (I had to wash my hair that weekend), but like many many others, I watched it all unfold on Instagram & Snapchat which brings me to my point, that these days shows are just as much made for social media as they are for the actual guests. A show has always been an opportunity for a brand or designer to basically show off, but this is now truer than ever, given their guest audience is now much much larger than simply the number of names on their guest list.
In the world of fashion, the image focused social channels live for this sort of extravaganza and now these big brands are beginning to understand that these very channels are how they are going to entice their next generation of 'fan' - with a fully emersive experience that is designed to surprise, delight and be exposed on social media. You see thats where the eyeballs are, and while there's probably very few peeps on snapchat who actually shop at Dior on a regular basis, Dior know that their role in the consumer world is to be a brand that people aspire to, and where do most peeps get their inspiration these days? Social Media. Thus the experience must now be not only socially friendly but also socially savvy. As PR guru Samantha Jones once said to her movie star bf Smith Jerrod 'If you're not wearing something the kids can't afford, how will they know to look up to you' #truestory. So for those wanting to stand out in the crowd, experience & thinking outside the square has never been more important.