One of the hottest artists at this years Art Basel in Miami displayed his work on a most unusual medium - Christian Dior handbags. Berlin based artist Anselm Reyle was tapped by Delphine Arnault to design a capsule collection of Dior classics. Reyle covered all accessories from shoes, to bangles, to bags, in his signature modern designs awash in color and camo. Dior signature caning is oversized and asymmetric, and the results are awesome. The collection that Reyle has created has a Warhol like quality to it, colorful and irreverent, with just enough classic Dior details.
While I'm excited to see Christian Dior creating some much needed positive public relations, I'm saddened that this brand is still left languishing on the vine. Long before John Galliano had his public meltdown and left Dior, the brand had lost it's lustre for all but it's most dedicated fashion clients in North America. My worry is that while business mogul Bernard Arnault, the owner of LVMH and Christian Dior, holds on to Dior as a trophy in his luxury crown, he lacks the vision needed to truly foster a Couture house like Dior.
Many industry insiders fear that Mr. Arnault has the same formula planned that he created at Louis Vuitton. Arnault took control of the storied luggage house and expanded it's reach across the globe. By lowering average price point and increasing category range, Mr. Arnault was able to turn a small luxury collection into a multi-billion dollar brand. American designer Marc Jacobs was made creative director and quickly partnered with modern artist Stephen Sprouse. Sprouse would make graffiti covered LV bags a must-have and it helped change the brand image and make it one of the hippest in the accessory world. Marc Jacobs also launched RTW at Louis Vuitton, but it is given little attention from luxury shoppers. Shoes also get the cold shoulder for the most part. At LV, it's logo mania on bags and wallets, and there has never been a greater demand globally for a resin coated canvas product. However, Dior is so much more than just a bag collection. Christian Dior revolutionized the fashion industry with his talent in construction and draping. His "New Look" would be the inspiration for designers from the late 1940's to this day. It is such a waste of a legacy and a legend to relegate the Dior brand to just bags and shoes. Dior is so much more than just a bag collection. Christian Dior (the Collection) deserves to represent the finest designs in the Couture and RTW world. An avant-garde designer needs to be chosen as the new creative director and given the control he or she needs to re-launch this iconic brand.
Enter Anselm Reyle for Dior. While it seems like an exciting new project, when you look at the history of LVMH, it seems more like a calculated formula that has been played out before.
Let's hope Christian Dior can once again become the most exciting RTW collection in the industry. Bernard Arnault has the power to do just that, if he will allow it.