The emblematic Harrods of London has long become a mandatory stop for visitors to the British capital. Founded in 1834 by Charles Harrod, it is the largest and most luxurious department store in the world, and a paradigm of British fashion.
To celebrate 60 years of the arrival of Dior in London, the store organized a special exhibition that “captures the essence of Christian Dior in the last six decades”, said chief merchant, Marigay McKee. This collaboration between the French label and the English emporium points to the importance of haute couture labels inside luxury departments stores, even when said brands have their own shops nearby. Dior, for example, has a boutique just a few blocks away from Harrods.
The relationship between the French couturier and the city of London began in 1953, when Christian Dior traveled to England to attend the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II. He returned the following year to present his collection at Harrods, and the store has never stopped selling his products.
The five-week long celebrations showed the enormous Brompton Road window displays with miniature versions of the capital’s main attractions, including Tower Bridge and the London Eye, each bearing a Dior stamp. The Georgian Restaurant, on the fourth floor, became the pop-up Cafe Dior, with a menu inspired by Monsieur Dior‘s 1972 recipe book, La Cuisine Cousu-Main, including black truffle crêpe, peach and strawberry soup and Dior cupcakes. And the first floor became a temporary boutique called “So Dior”.
Shoppers had the opportunity to retrace the history of the French Maison with a curated selection of displays, featuring beautiful black and white imagery taken from Dior’s archives, a recreation of the emblematic storefront at number 30 on Paris’ exclusive Avenue Montaigne, and iconic dresses created for movie stars and celebrities, such as Audrey Hepburn, Elizabeth Taylor, Princess Diana, Princess Margaret, Marion Cotillard, Emma Watson, Charlize Theron, and Jennifer Lawrence, among many others.
A series of videos followed the evolution of the brand over the years, from the 1950’s, through the reign of John Galliano, to the present, with Raf Simons as creative director.
Simons is credited for taking the House of Christian Dior to a more modern era, bringing new life to the brand, and attracting a younger audience. The exhibit accomplished Harrods’ goals of reaching a record number of visitors, who came to celebrate a truly iconic relationship. ■