Dior has announced it will move forward with plans to present Cruise 2021 on a live runway in Lecce, Italy on July 22. The catch? Only friends and family of the brand — real ones, not the brand-ambassador kind — will be there in person to see it happen.
The show will follow all the social distancing rules in effect in the Puglia region of Italy, which means there will be no audience. Instead, guests will follow along via livestream. Pietro Beccari, CEO and president of Dior, co-hosted a virtual press conference with artistic director Maria Grazia Chiuri to share the news on Monday.
Beccari says the live runway is important to Dior for several reasons. "The first one is that for Maria Grazia and I, luxury is emotions. When it comes to fashion, nothing carries the emotion of a real fashion show," he explained. "We would like with this to send a message of hope, of optimism, and for some people, rebirth after this period of difficulty."
Italy, of course, has been particularly hard-hit by the Covid-19 crisis, and the brand feels responsible for the artisans it employed for the Cruise 2021 collection, which was originally slated to debut on May 9. Both Beccari and Chiuri made sure to mention the artists of the Puglia region who have been tapped to create everything from embroidery to ceramics to lighting, who Beccari said have been working Saturdays and Sundays to make this show happen. "Mr. Dior had the courage to launch his line after World War II; this is in our DNA," he said.
Other brands in the luxury space — most notably Chanel — scrapped plans for resort shows in favor of digital presentations. Dior will follow this format for the Fall 2020 Haute Couture show on July 6, though Beccari did not share any further details at precisely what it will look like.
Despite these innovations, Beccari and Chiuri balked when pressed on whether Dior is considering abandoning the fashion calendar, as has been announced by brands like Saint Laurent and Gucci. "Definitely, we will follow the rhythm of fashion week — there are people in Paris who expect us to follow this rhythm," Beccari said.
"I think it's also important to remember that fashion week is not only important for fashion family, it's also important for the city where the fashion shows are," Chiuri added. "This is also our idea: Don't forget that we are important for others."
This means that, at the current moment, the brand is planning on having a live Spring 2021 show in September, depending on the measures which will be in place by then. "We hope to have some audience in September, if not a full room," Beccari says, though Chiuri does caution that these plans have to be taken day-by-day.
September is shaping up to be a very mixed bag: Burberry also announced plans for a live Spring 2021 show on Monday, though the British label does not intend to have any audience; in New York, stalwarts like Michael Kors and Marc Jacobs have announced they're skipping the runway next season.