Dior Fall 2022: Runway show for the first time in South Korea

Written by Oscar Holland, CNN

Dior staged a fashion show in South Korea for the first time on Saturday, presenting its latest collection to a star-studded audience in Seoul.

The French fashion giant transformed the prestigious Ewha Womans University into a runway and sent skateboarders down a slanted central ramp before models appeared in waves of yellow plaid, sheer tulle and pleated outerwear. The brand also partners with the university as part of the [email protected] mentorship and education program.

Overseen by Dior’s creative director Maria Grazia Chiuri, the label’s fall 2022 womenswear collection puts a contemporary spin on uniforms. The looks were often complemented by blouses and ties, while short skirts and biker shorts contributed to what the brand described in a press release as “punk undertones.”

Models pose in Dior’s latest collection. Credit: Choi Na Rang/Dior

Among the celebrities in attendance was Blackpink singer Jisoo, who has been a global ambassador for Dior since last year. The K-pop star was joined by several other stars at the event, including figure skater Kim Yuna and Korean-American rapper Jay Park.

The show signals South Korea’s growing importance to the French fashion house, which described the weekend’s event as “unprecedented”. In a statement ahead of the show, Christian Dior Couture chairman and CEO Pietro Beccari said the label is “forging new powerful ties” with the country.

Blackpink's Jisoo was one of many celebrities who attended.

Blackpink’s Jisoo was one of many celebrities who attended. Credit: Myunggu Han/Dior/Getty Images

Dior’s website lists nearly 25 boutiques in South Korea, including seven in Seoul’s exclusive Gangnam district. The flagship store, designed by Pritzker Prize-winning architect Christian de Portzamparc, opened in 2015 in the capital.

On Sunday, shortly after the show, the label opened a sizable new concept store in the capital’s trendy Seongsu-dong district. Inspired by the brand’s headquarters in Paris, the sprawling open-air boutique features a garden and lounge, with furnishings from various Korean designers.

Luxury powerhouse

Dior is not the first European fashion house to host events in South Korea, as other Asian destinations – particularly China – prove difficult to operate amid Covid-19 restrictions. Louis Vuitton, for example, presented its autumn-winter 2021 collection for men in an art space outside of Seoul. One of the last shows overseen by the late creative director Virgil Abloh, it was K-pop mega band BTS, who had signed on as Louis Vuitton ambassadors earlier this year.

A look from Dior's Fall 2022 collection.

A look from Dior’s Fall 2022 collection. Credit: Dior

The show put a punkish twist on the uniforms theme.

The show put a punkish twist on the uniforms theme. Credit: Dior

Several other labels have attempted to appoint South Korean stars as brand ambassadors, including Gucci, Loewe, Givenchy, Chanel, Prada and Alexander McQueen who have signed up K-pop singers, movie stars, or both, in recent years.

Jisoo’s Blackpink band members have all collaborated with major luxury brands, with Rosé the face of Saint Laurent and Tiffany & Co., Lisa representing Celine and Bulgari and Jennie working with Chanel and Calvin Klein. Louis Vuitton’s women’s clothing division, meanwhile, has teamed up with “Squid Game” star Ho-yeon Jung.

While many Asian markets are still recovering from the impact of the pandemic, luxury spending in South Korea has bounced back to 2019 levels, according to consultancy Bain & Company. The company’s 2021 Luxury Goods Worldwide Market Study noted that Korean shoppers who choose to shop at home rather than abroad more than made up for the lack of tourism in the country.
South Korea is now the seventh largest luxury goods market in the world, according to market research firm Euromonitor.

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