Christian Dior j'adore
Designer Christian Dior launched his first collection in 1947, setting Paris ablaze and establishing a leading brand in the culture of couture. Affluent consumers developed an appetite for all things Dior, and eventually furs and designer fragrances were rolled out to feed them. Before his untimely demise in 1957, Christian Dior built a powerful brand of glamour, elegance and prestige, counting world class figures like Marlene Dietrich, Ava Gardner and Eva Peron as his biggest fans.
Aince assuming the role of artistic director in 1999, designer John Galliano has led the brand through a metamorphosis of sorts. As a result, today's Dior is still perceived by consumers as prestigious and glamorous but with Galliano at the helm, the designs themselves (especially for the women's division) have taken a turn for the trendy. The new, eclectic Dior is bright, flashy, colorful and nouveau riche, indulging Galliano's flair for street smarts and whimsy.
Today, the Christian Dior brand extends way beyond the world of ladies' couture. During the past 60 years, quality skincare and fragrance lines have been introduced, maintaining the brand's highbrow reputation, as well as Dior Homme, the menswear and fragrance lines. With an umbrella this wide, it's imperative for a website to maintain a sense of congruity while communicating effectively with each appropriate market segment. We decided to drop by ChristianDior.com to see if it was haute or not.
As expected, ChristianDior.com is the epitome of fashionable fabulousness. Each sub-brand is addressed visually and verbally in accordance to its own distinct brand identity.
A brand with true international presence, the site is viewable in French, English and Chinese. Each area launches an optimized screen for maximum visual impact, while a guitar riff blares and a colorful Dior logo serves as a placeholder during a relatively quick site load.
Dior Femme launches appropriately with splashy, colorful images. Overall, the content areas are well developed and successful in providing aspiring fashionistas with a glimpse into Dior's inner sanctum. Collections allows users to pick a current look they'd like to browse (e.g., Dior Rasta, Dior Logo). Each look page contains editorial photos of models swathed in product. Gliding your mouse over the product launches a mini-window with a detailed product description.
One of the few weak content areas in Dior Women is Top Ten. The idea of featuring best selling items is good for any retail outfit, but having to click on each number to launch pop-up window after pop-up window is a bit arduous.
The Jewelry area is a strong example of Dior embodying its brand mystique, both in visual presentation and in content. The Dior logo appears in diamonds. Users can launch flash vignettes and promotional videos, which all have stop and rewind options. Bios of contributing designers are presented creatively, with interesting use of flash animation and insight into their creative process. Atelier shows the whole jewelry making process, step-by-step.
And that's just Dior Femme! Like its designs, Dior Homme, led by designer Hedi Slimane, is a completely different experience in look and feel. It launches with a brief narrative to set the tone of the collection, which is basically a lament from the perspective of a broken-hearted man. The main page is an animated black square against a stark white background, flashing with images of the latest Dior Homme designs.
Targeting the male consumer, Dior Homme also has a good amount of value-added content designed to cater to the interests of male consumers and shower them with the full Dior Homme experience. Locations gives an elaborate pictorial tour of the Dior Homme stores. Soundtrack provides users with downloadable original compositions from the runway shows. With the Store Design and Graphic Design features, users can pick a store location and get images of the interiors.
The Fragrance, Beauty and Skincare site is an appropriately lush, high quality browsing experience. The content areas are as rich as a brand this well developed should be, with outstanding areas like Make-up Secrets. Designed to replicate a make-up container, users can view narrated, step-by-step cosmetic application videos. Skincare is also an effective consumer site, with great visuals and product descriptions with detailed application and testing information.
As on brand as the site is as a whole, it does have a few minor glitches. Some pages are slow to launch. Each major content area requires the user to close out and go back to the beginning in order to access other areas; understandable given the site architecture, but a bummer nonetheless.
All in all, ChristianDior.com is a strong reflection of its luxe brand image. The site architecture is well thought out, there's no skimping on technology, and each sub-brand identity is properly preserved online while remaining distinctively Dior. Rich with value-added content and lush pictorials, ChristianDior.com fits like a glove.