Dior, Vuitton and Gucci were put to the test with regards to their management strategies for their 2018 Cruise Collection shows. Susanna Nicoletti reports on the dos and dont's of luxury brand management.

 

May is usually the month of Cruise Collection shows for some of the most prestigious luxury brands. Cruise shows are projects developed by a small number of brands, and they take place in very unique locations. 

Prada, Chanel, Dior, Louis Vuitton and Gucci invite the fashion press as well as influencers, loyal clients and retailers to enjoy a few days celebrating the brands. 

Usually, the seasonal shows take place during fashion week and are packed within a very tight schedule. Cruise Collections however, provide guests with the opportunity to enjoy fine food, cultural trips and sightseeing with more time and ease. 

But this time, the darker side of fashion struck with surprising effects. 

Dior, Vuitton and Gucci decided to arrange their shows in France, at the end of May. Open air. 

 

Dior or never let your guard down 

Dior invited its guests at the Chantilly Stables, 30km out of Paris, a location renowned for representing French prestige and art de vivre at its best. 

Maria Grazia Chiuri presented an amazing collection inspired by the equestrian world. A beautiful, delicate yet powerful, and feminine collection, rich with embroideries and cool accessories, where the revamp of the infamous Dior Saddle bag was staged. 

Unfortunately, it all happened under a deluge, which certainly upset more than one guest and spoiled the performance's atmosphere. Paris Jackson left before the beginning of the show because, apparently, she disliked the horses' exhibition. 

How is it possible for the impeccable machine of such a prestigious brand not to plan to have a covered location in case of rain? Why didn’t they have a plan B to ensure that the guests would be more comfortable and dry? How can one invite a celebrity, and then to find out later on that she is against the animals on show? 

The strength of a brand is defined by attention to every single detail, and by being aware that developing a stunning collection is not enough in a time when social media coverage and beautiful storytelling is crucial to suitably cover an event. 

In this case, Dior seemed to have two very different and disconnected departments within the company which were not tuned to achieve the most exciting results. 

Even one of the most prestigious luxury brands cannot afford to let its guard down.

 

Vuitton or use all the superpowers you have

Vuitton followed with a show at the Foundation Maeght in St. Paul-de-Vence, with a cheerful Nicolas Guesquière, who had his contract recently renewed, and who collaborated with Grace Coddington on a capsule collection of bags. 

In attendance were 600 guests, amongst which were 300 top clients, with a front row packed with celebrities. This demonstrates the best kind of organisation for such an impressive number of people, as well as the use of a smart location in line with the brand's DNA. Eccentricity at its best. 

It seemed that heavy rain was forecasted for the day of the show. LVMH could not afford another case of bad weather within just a few days. 

And it didn’t rain. Why? Apparently, a shaman was called and the spells worked very well. Superbrands use all their superpowers. Impeccable brand management. 

 

Gucci or nothing is what it seems 

Last but not least, Gucci arranged the Cruise Collection show in Arles; a Roman cemetery turned romantic promenade more than a century ago. And the inspiration was about death and hell. 

A happy place (Arles Champs Elysées, the place where people beloved by Gods could rest in glory in their afterlives) turned evil.  About 115 fashion pieces on parade turned into a suggestive event where products were not relevant, nor visible, and the message embodied the atmosphere. Good turned into evil and paradise turned into hell. 

It’s interesting that the most successful brand over the past three years is focusing so extensively on the darker side of fashion, that the most applauded creative director is obsessed with death, the wicked, the blasphemous. 

There’s something strange about Gucci's obsession for sacred places and monuments to be used as fashion locations. For severed heads to be carried on the catwalk. For the freaks. 

Is the intention about garnering the highest visibility for the brand? To keep the attention high? To share a message? 

Is it sacrilege or desecration? Isn’t it unusual that the brightest star in the fashion firmament is so diabolic? 

 

Cover image credit: Dior


About the author

Susanna Nicoletti

Senior Director and Founder of LuxFashionHotspot

Susanna Nicoletti is a Marketing, Digital and Communication Senior Executive in the fashion and luxury industry with a track record in top global groups and brands.

A Brand Strategist supporting fashion and luxury brands growth thanks to the development of a long lasting strong brand equity.

A Business and Strategy Writer. Explorer of new media frontiers.