Pietro Beccari on captaining Christian Dior during confinement and taking Dior to Puglia
It’s a tad difficult to imagine a busier executive this summer than Pietro Beccari, the CEO of Christian Dior, whose house has been fully courting the luxury press this July; and whose latest stop is in Puglia, with Wednesday night’s cruise runway show in Lecce, designed by the maison’s couturier Maria Grazia Chiuri.
Despite being barely out of the lockdown, Dior is pulling off five major events in July alone, beginning with the launch of its new sneaker collab’ with Nike; and the unveiling of its latest haute couture, where Dior commissioned an acclaimed, and much commented upon, surrealist film by the award-winning Matteo Garrone on that collection. The Paris brand also presented its spring-summer 2021 menswear collection online, and on Friday, will open the latest stop in the world tour of its acclaimed exhibition Christian Dior: Designer of Dreams - a significantly expanded version that includes high-end jewelry. And in August; the house is also going to launch exclusively in China a special capsule collection called Dior Amour, which is a mix of ready-to-wear and accessories.
So, we caught up with Beccari, the multilingual Italian managing director of Dior, in a call to the garden backstage of Dior’s show in the Piazza dell’Domo of Lecce. A conversation on his experience of marshalling one of the world’s great luxury brands during the pandemic.
Fashion Network: How are you enjoying being in Puglia?
Pietro Beccari: We are very happy to be in Lecce, which is nicely warm. It’s a fantastic white stone city, very special, with olive trees and today’s sun it looks very spectacular. We are only sorry that we cannot invite our friends. It’s the only big regret I have, coming after an incredible cruise show in Marrakech. The only thing missing is you guys.
FNW: What sort of show did you want?
PB: It’s a physical show. Digital my eye. Looking around, we have hundreds people – electricians, carpenters, show production staff, models and everybody. Just now the major of Lecce said, ‘thanks to you guys many were families were able to eat.’ There is also the thrill of a live event and the last minute. The tension is palpable. There is nothing fake about this, so it’s very interesting. Sure, I admire digital presentations. But live has a different emotion.
FNW: You still plan a live show in Paris during the next ready-to-wear season in the September/October?
PB: Yes. Clearly, we are sad about all that happened due to Covid-19. But we want to continue to help our city of Paris and we are ready to do a live show. Though, of course, let’s see what the government and Federation eventually decides. We will respect that.
FNW: Where did you spend the lockdown?
PB: I was in Paris and in my office at 7AM every day. I was working even more than ever. Look how many things we did in July! I consider myself the captain of the boat. An it’s emblematic that the captain has on be on the bridge during storm; and always available. So, I called Asia and China every morning. There is a certain value to that. And you should realize that this cruise collection is a real one with 100 looks. Plus, we are planning lots of pop ups in China. We are the only house doing that. Our goal was to do a lot of things in July and really ring the bell.
On Friday in Shanghai we open Christian Dior: Designer of Dreams; and it will be double the size of the one we staged in the V&A. You know, my team in Paris have been starting work at 3AM every day to call China and show people there how to mount the exhibition in Shanghai. Which is crazy! But I insisted that’s what we had to do to make sure the exhibition is perfect. Plus, we are opening up 21 pop ups all in China for Dior Amour. Everyone else was closing locations in China these past months; but our instructions to our team there was whenever anyone closes a good location, we should take it. We believe it is a huge occasion for shopping in China. Truth is we have been working our tails off.
FNW: Le Mythe Dior by Matteo Garrone was much admired for its surrealist beauty but criticized on social media for the cast’s lack of diversity. What is your view?
PB: I don’t want to enter into that really. But I will say this, no one can reproach Maria Grazia in her career in her sincerity in defending minorities and women in general. The list is so long. Look at her last cruise show, staged in Marrakesh, using many African artists and with its main material traditional waxed cotton from Africa. The film was a choice linked to an artist statement and there was nothing else behind it. She cannot do the same casting for every project.
FNW: What sort of year is Dior having?
PB: Well, Monsieur Arnault (chairman of LVMH which owns Dior) is speaking to analysts about results on the July 27th so I cannot talk about figures.
FN: What else does Dior have in the pipeline?
PB: Don’t forget that we launched our project with Nike, the Air Jordan 1 OG Dior, this month. And the idea for that came before BLM. So the shoe stands out for its authenticity. Plus, Kim Jones did a fantastic collection for men and presented it very successfully online. While this Friday we open our Dior exhibition in Long Museum on the Bund, to which we have added 110 piece of high jewelry, on top of everything we did. But tonight we are in Lecce; and I know how much it means to Maria Grazia to be here. As the French say, she is chargé à bloc, meaning fully loaded. And very positive. But you know that is the basis of Dior. This optimism is typical of the house since Mr Dior founded the company right after WW2.
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