Dior launched its own online magazine, Dior Mag, Wednesday, the latest move amid a trend of fashion houses attempting to advance their brands through interactive and social mediums.
The online publication, which looks more like a marketing venture than a magazine in colloquial terms, may be an act by the couture house to resurrect nostalgia for the historically impeccable brand. Former director John Galliano’s anti-Semitic rant left residual wounds on the label, which floundered for a year to bury the negative associations and find a new, positive direction.
The house also announced it will be live streaming and tweeting (via style blogger Susie Bubble) its Fall 2012 ready-to-wear collection, on Friday during Paris Fashion Week.
In an opening letter from a still-nameless editor, the magazine is described as a destination for all-things Dior, including new products and stories from the house’s archives:
The past is here, too, because the history of the house is brimming with fabulous stories just waiting to be told. The future also lives here, for who knows better than Dior what Dior will be tomorrow?”
The inaugural issue featured six articles with photos and behind the scenes looks at the Charlize Theron J’Adore commercial, the couturier’s first perfume and a recap of the spring/summer 2012 haute couture show.
The launch comes amid speculation as to who will take over as creative director for Dior following Galliano’s departure last year. Rumors have been floating for months as to who the design house will tap, although most outlets seem fairly confident that Raf Simons will be leaving Jil Sander to take the reigns. Sander herself is said to be returning to lead her flagship brand.
An indicator that the world is ready to forgive and move forward (in addition to Kate Moss’s loyalty to Galliano, who made her wedding gown last spring) was Natalie Portman’s choice of Dior Couture for the Oscars on Sunday. Portman had boycotted the label in 2011 following the scandal.
Even so, the scars still run deep, and many in the industry have come to refer to periods of time as pre and post-Galliano. Fellow designers have come forward throughout the year, confessing their own stresses and frustrations at an industry that continues to pile on pressure and often unrealistic expectations.
Stefano Pilati, creative director of Yves Saint Laurent, summed up the situation and the lessons he has drawn from it for Vogue
"I work 24 hours a day, essentially. I have to make a collection every two months. You have to be in shape; you have to be more athlete than rock star. When you go outside that world and meet the 90 per cent of society who have no clue what you're doing, you end up choosing to go back home with your friends. Or maybe you run away for ten days and party like an animal, and then it takes you ten days to recover and you hope nobody noticed. Today, excess has to be kept within the private sphere... Today that kind of stuff is just impossible. Without getting right into the dirt of it, John [Galliano] really kind of put an end to that sort of option."
And as the industry and onlookers await the appointment of Dior’s new creative director, we can only hope the house learned the hard lessons of an increasingly digital world before they embraced it.
The widely circulated video of Galliano spouting insults was the true downfall of the designer and the reputation of the brand, and it became glaringly obvious that behavior of this nature can no longer be shoved behind a proverbial curtain in a decade that is dominated by iPhone cameras and microblogs.
Which makes it all the more intriguing that Dior is working to harness the mediums which help publicize its famed designer’s offenses. We will have to wait and see whether behind-the-scenes clips of commercials and archival photos can help the brand recover its glossy, elegant image.