This interview was conducted before the outbreak of the war in Ukraine. On March 4, the LVMH group announced the temporary closure of its 124 stores in Russia. And that, from March 6th.
You are opening a new flagship at 30 boulevard Montaigne in Paris, a 10,000 square meter hybrid space that houses a boutique, workshops, a restaurant, a museum… How does this project fit into Dior’s commercial strategy?
Pietro Beccari: Calling it a flagship is reductive. It is a living symbol of our DNA, a discovery of the Dior universe that celebrates the art of living, our know-how, our products, culture, creativity and passion for art in all its forms. 30 Montaigne has always been at the center of Dior’s life, and has been since February 12, 1947. When I arrived in 2018, I thought to myself that we could make these six buildings something that other houses could never have or emulate. Because it was here that the House was born and developed. We wanted to go beyond what has never been done in the world of luxury. My job is to find the right balance between tradition and modernity, without losing the Dior soul. This perception is a good representation of that.
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You open a hotel suite there. What is his calling?
The Dior Suite at 30 Montaigne is not a suite like the others, it is a unique place in the world that offers unique experiences that you cannot experience anywhere else. We like to say that when you rent the Dior Suite, we literally give you the keys to 30 Montaigne, because everything becomes possible: shopping at night in the boutique, pampering yourself with a private tour of La Galerie Dior to discover in an exclusive way. the Maison’s priceless archives, but also dine in one of the three gardens or one of the lounges of this legendary birthplace of French haute couture that gave birth to the New Look.
How do you manage to win over new customers without straying from what is at the heart of Christian Dior?
Whether Dior or other big luxury houses, people want to share the House’s values, heritage and hear beautiful stories that make sense, that make people dream, not just buy a product. Every year we have a 50% existing customer base – who buy within an 18 month window – and 50% new customers, who are everywhere. We have a big loyalty problem. The other challenge is to make those who visit La Galerie Dior say to themselves: “Wow, one day I want to offer myself a part of this dream, this unique legend”.
really wanting to work street clothes and to evolve their image, some brands got lost and paid for it in terms. However, you chose Kylian Mbappé as your ambassador, whose image is very popular…
It’s not so iconoclastic. Many of our clients – among France’s most important businessmen and politicians – go to watch football matches. To relaunch the costumes, I made the decision to be the official supplier for PSG. The association with Kylian Mbappé is another incarnation.
From a financial point of view, you posted exceptional results in 2021. How do you explain this performance?
From the months of February to March 2020, when everyone slowed down their investments, we decided to accelerate. This is also what defines Dior’s strategy: our House has a force of desire that allows us to take such risks. With a record month of July, the year 2020 allowed us to gain a lot of market share in relation to our competitors who recorded negative results. That momentum continued into 2021, where we achieved scores unimaginable 4 years ago. All product categories and markets performed well: not only are European and American customers growing steadily, but Chinese and Korean customers are also recording unimaginable scores. When you have a jet, you want all four engines to work: well, all four engines work fine.
Are foreign customers back?
Not yet and they certainly won’t be in the near future. But our French customers are more than ever eager to discover the excellent know-how and abundant creativity of our house.
In this very complicated period, have you seen the emergence of new ways of consuming?
We are witnessing a resurgence of very comfortable ways of dressing during 2020 and part of 2021. We are now witnessing the resurgence of the desire to celebrate again and to dress elegantly, with the return of heels, evening dresses.. Consumption linked to e-commerce also increased. People unaccustomed to this tool continued to use it when stores reopened. And this, without losing their importance; we have many store projects around the world – mainly renovations and expansions – mainly in the US, China and Europe. The web makes it possible to better prepare purchases and schedule appointments. In stores, it is easier to order products that are not available: all our salespeople are equipped with smartphones.
What part of your revenue does e-commerce represent today?
I can only say that it is lower than the average of the most important houses, which is easy to understand because e-commerce penetration is also linked to price; our products are obviously not accessible to everyone.
The rise of live shopping, scheduling with salespeople via video… Will you develop these new practices?
We did this a lot during the pandemic. This continues with haute couture: Asian customers experiment with tailors from a distance, for example. In fact, it’s new, we’ve adapted to it. The purchases that used to be made at large meetings in Paris, where we played in the collections, are now made through videos. We would never have imagined this possible, but we can see that it works.
What are your ambitions for the metaverse?
Personally, I think this will be the e-commerce of the future. Today, we choose products on the Internet, from photos; tomorrow, we can do that by walking our avatar into a store, trying on products in front of virtual mirrors… That’s what I imagine. But all this is still embryonic. We are in the process of recruiting resources who know this new universe and who can bring us innovative know-how. In this area, very specialized specific knowledge linked to years of experience will be required. Dior has always been at the forefront of innovation in the fashion world, with the ability to create things that didn’t exist… If we do, we want to be the first, in our own way.
Can it go as far as recruiting metaverse talent?
It’s more of a fantasy, in my opinion. If I think about our haute couture workshops, I cannot imagine anyone capable of creating the same emotion in the virtual world, that is, touching the product, the embroidery, talking with the little hands of the workshops, realizing how many hours it took to make this creation, etc. Maybe I’m too “traditional”, but I don’t see it that way. We also feel a new breath, an authentic enthusiasm on the part of the younger generations, these talents of tomorrow, who want to learn, share, and in turn transmit this precious knowledge. And it is Dior’s mission to perpetuate the secrets of this exceptional craftsmanship.
The LVMH Group has its Luxury Laboratory. How this translates at Dior. And how do you work with startups?
In general, we often consider acquiring and integrating the start-ups we work with. We have acquisitions on our radar in the metaverse universe, as well as in leather goods and ready-to-wear. I want to talk about new technologies that aim to improve our textiles, our leathers. We would like to invent a technology that would change lives, as was the case with the iPhone… It’s not easy in our area, but we are ambitious there too.
The fashion industry is regularly singled out in terms of its carbon footprint. How do you respond to environmental issues?
In addition to spectacular ads, responding to these challenges requires mindset shifts. After the “Dream in Dior” program in 2018, we have just launched “Dream in Green”, a program through which we ask our more than 8,000 employees to propose actions to improve things in terms of the environment and diversity. Thousands of ideas came up: we chose 40 projects (shop lighting, use of glass instead of plastic, etc.) that we are following up on. We want to commit ourselves more and more concretely. In addition, we have signed with a French company that will recover the products, then disassemble them to reuse the spare parts and materials or deliver them to other industries to do something else.
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Second hand is booming, especially in luxury. What are your ambitions in this market?
We’re not against it, but I don’t see Dior converting to that. We are in fashion, in launching trends, in creativity: investing second-hand is not Dior’s vocation. On the other hand, we follow with interest the prices practiced on the exchange and resale platforms as it is an indicator of the attractiveness of our products.
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