Fresh from the debut of its glamourous 3D printed concept store in Dubai, high-fashion brand Dior is showing off its rebranded flagship store on Avenue Montaigne in Paris after a major expansion and renovation. 3D printing played a part in the makeover, but rather than producing couture clothing, the technology was put to work fabricating replicas of Dior accessories and dresses to decorate the grand staircase of La Galerie Dior.
“Discover how 1422 pieces, including iconic bags, shoes, perfumes, and hats, were 3D printed before taking their place alongside 452 miniature dresses in the breathtaking Diorama display lining the central staircase of La Galerie Dior of the newly reopened #Dior30Montaigne,” reads a LinkedIn post from Christian Dior Couture.
The historic building is the birthplace of the Dior brand, and recently reopened after 30 long months of renovation. Since 2014, the ALIGHIERI Agency, which is at the center of the massive undertaking, has been working to modernize the Christian Dior Museum, and collaborated with LA FERME 3D for the 3D printing portion.
First, boutique architect Peter Marino had the difficult task of reinventing the building at the corner of Avenue Montaigne and Rue François I. It’s so much more than a mere clothing store—in addition to a two-story Dior boutique, the nearly 108,000-square-foot complex on Avenue Montaigne includes a patisserie and restaurant, renovated haute couture and jewelry workshops, a salon, and three gardens.
Perhaps most exciting is La Galerie Dior, a large interior museum which explores the nearly 75-year history of the house of Dior through 13 themes. It’s meant to show how the evolution of fashion reflects current social trends, as well as how society itself reflects fashion trends.
“With the gallery, people will be able to understand the history of the House of Dior and how, over the years, a spirit endures…Moreover, the space is permanent and documented by images, archives, which makes it a real tool to understand what the House of Dior really is as a whole,” explained narrative scenographer and Dior expert Nathalie Crinière, who curated the Gallery space.
“The story of the House of Dior is always the same, wherever you tell it. What changes is that certain themes are more developed depending on where you present the exhibition. For the Gallery, one of the most important things is for people to understand that they are where it all started.”
The Rotonde in La Galerie Dior features exposed steel beams and wooden moldings to highlight the contrast between the brand’s history and where it is in present day. Inside, the museum includes many pieces from various Dior collections, and some objects associated with founder Christian Dior, like his office and a room of mannequins for fittings, have been preserved and added to La Galerie Dior as well.
“Luxury is going strange places – with the metaverse and digital avatars. So we wanted to create an experience that is unique; to move the parameters of luxury today – and luxury today is experiential,” said Dior CEO Pietro Beccari. “That’s why you come here to witness the physical incarnation of the DNA of Dior. Where you can see Mr. Dior and his own desk and his world and the original cabine for his models. A mix of tradition and modernity; of art and heart; of lifestyle with a restaurant and a boulangerie; of fashion and also savoir-faire.”
Most eye-catching are the glass-encased walls of the staircase in La Galerie Dior, which are filled with almost 1,500 3D printed miniature Dior replicas in every color of the rainbow, along with 452 mini dresses from the brand’s workshops. Florian Moreno and the team at AGP first digitized the objects in the collection with high-performance 3D scanners. Then, LA FERME 3D developed the diorama, using over 30 VOLUMIC 3D printers to print the pieces over 100,000 hours, using more than one ton of biosourced material. This means that the FFF printers operated 24/7 over a period of six months.
“This is one of the most important challenges that the teams of LA FERME 3D © have had to face since the creation of the company, in order to allow the installation of the objects in time in the windows of one of the most beautiful galleries in the world,” said Florent Carasco, Founder of LA FERME 3D. “Thanks to the precision and robustness of the VOLUMIC 3D printers’ mechanics, we were able to develop extreme settings to overclock the equipment and produce the most complex objects at incredible speeds. This winning duo of hardware and expertise is really the key to the success of this giant production.”
After everything was printed, LA FERME 3D completed more than 10,000 hours of post-processing, including painting and adding original jewelry and accessories to the prints. The result is a truly eye-catching exhibition, and the concept reminds me of the 3D printed exhibition used to display Prince’s vast shoe collection at Paisley Park.
Beccari spoke with Vogue Business about the “digital risks” that Dior has taken to stay afloat during the pandemic. One of these risks was streaming runway shows on platforms like WeChat, TikTok, and YouTube when in-person events were shut down.
“We saw Covid coming and decided to accelerate, not decelerate. We came out of the pandemic stronger than the others because we had slightly more courage to do what other [brands] weren’t able, or didn’t want, to do,” Beccari said.
This willingness to innovate seems par for the course for the fashion house. In 2015, the brand 3D printed virtual reality devices so customers at select boutiques had the chance to see behind-the-scenes in real time at a runway show. But aside from these miniature replicas, Dior hasn’t taken that final plunge of 3D printing its clothing and accessories, and with its classic look, I’d love to see what the brand could come up with if it took that leap.
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