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Why Christian Dior’s new Paris flagship became more than a store

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Why Christian Dior’s new Paris flagship became more than a store

Dior 30 Avenue Montaigne

Back when I wore ties every day to work, they were almost always Christian Dior ties. I loved the width, the assortment of patterns and the heft of them as they sat against my dress shirts. I was a regular customer, but by no means a die-hard or an expert. For that, I would probably have to stay overnight at 30 Avenue Montaigne.

A four-storey building originally built in the 1860s for a scion of none other than Napoleon, 30 Avenue Montaigne was where Christian Dior — the man — decided to set up his business. Like a savvy brand manager operating in 2022, he chose it in part because it was a way to meet customers where they were, at the nearby Hôtel Plaza Athénée.

Recently, Dior’s current CEO Pietro Beccari breathed new life into 30 Avenue Montaigne by turning it into the brand’s official flagship. This not only includes the latest menswear and womenswear collections. There is also a gallery that celebrates Christian Dior’s history, a cafe, archives which have been made available to the public, extensive gardens, a beauty salon, a studio to design custom jewelry, a museum and, to top it off, an opportunity for select customers to sleep over.

An article on Vogue had the details

La Suite Dior (is) a set of private apartments within 30 Avenue Montaigne. Guests who stay the night will be assigned a dedicated staff of up to eight people, including personal shoppers and chefs. 

This is customer experience at its most high-end. It is also CX at its most physical: there was no mention of mobile apps, video walls or other technologies that would somehow capture more of Dior’s customer data. Instead, I suspect those high net worth customers will be the ones leaning into technology (such as their smartphones) to create images that will stand out on platforms like Instagram.

The Disneyfication of Dior (In A Good Way)
In some respects, there is something very familiar about Dior’s approach with 30 Avenue Montaigne, but with two important differences. This is the kind of CX design that normally only happens when it can be done at scale, and when the target market is the families of young children.

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Disney’s Magic Kingdom, for example, is often held up as an example of CX excellence because it is so deeply immersive into the stories of Mickey Mouse and his friends. The same is true of resorts dedicated to Harry Potter or even Great Wolf Lodge.

Dior suggests this strategy can be refined, however. It has redesigned 30 Avenue Montaigne to deepen its most loyal customers’ relationship with the brand by harkening back to its past but keeping it contemporary with special new capsule collections, while also providing accommodations and amenities that will almost certainly lead to unforgettable, word-of-mouth-worthy memories.

This is not just a store to acquire style via Dior clothing. It’s a chance to live in a style that represents the penultimate interpretation of the Christian Dior vision. Many years ago I heard a common refrain that retail wasn’t dying, it was just transforming. I think most of them were referring to a shift towards digital channels and e-commerce. They might want to pay a visit to 30 Avenue Montaigne instead.

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