Hours after the Corpus Christi procession, 700 guests from around the world gathered in Seville for another type of procession, no less liturgical, the debut of Dior’s Cruise 2023 collection. A milestone for Spain, which had never before hosted the global unveiling of exclusive designs from an international fashion giant. As night fell on June 16th, 110 ensembles paraded through the Plaza de España to the rhythm of Alberto Iglesias’ music for Almodóvar films, with pieces chosen by the composer himself and performed for the occasion by the Bética Chamber Orchestra. This spectacle culminated in a stunning choreography conceived by Blanca Li and performed by dancers Belén López and El Yiyo alongside a corps de ballet dressed in red, engaging in a dialogue with the mantle of carnations and red roses that covered the square.

Dressed in red, the dancers who were part of Dior’s spectacle in Seville. In the background, Maria Grazia Chiuri and the musicians, dressed in black. The collection was presented alongside a choreography by Blanca Li and the music of Alberto Iglesias’ compositions for Almodóvar films.

The collection paid tribute to another figure of dance, Carmen Amaya, present not only in spirit but also in direct evocations of her figure conceived by the illustrator María Ángeles Vila Tortosa, decorating evening dresses and ponchos. Hers was not the only collaboration with Spanish talent, as the mantones de Manila were created alongside María José Sánchez Espinar, the hats by the house of Fernández y Roche, and the historic chaqueta bar bore the imprint of embroidery specialist Jesús Rosado. A list that extends to include the workshops of Carbonell fans, the Ramos goldsmithery, or leather artisans Daniel López Obrero and Javier Menacho. Together, they pay tribute to Spanish baroque, equestrian tradition, and dance. A way to engage with the local community that Maria Grazia Chiuri, creative director of Dior since 2016, had already tested in cruise collections inspired by and presented in Marrakech (2019), Lecce (2020), and Athens (2021).

Blending Spanish Tradition with Haute Couture

Before the parade, Pietro Beccari, President and CEO of Dior, shared insights into an event that brought together guests as diverse as models Laetitia Casta and Elle McPherson, actresses Amira Casar and María Pedraza, tennis player Paula Badosa, singer María del Monte, and influencer Chiara Ferragni. Pietro Beccari (Italy, 54 years old) took on the role in February 2018 after a 12-year career at the LVMH group, where he held positions of responsibility at Louis Vuitton and Fendi. Before joining the largest conglomerate in the fashion industry, he worked in consumer goods companies such as Parmalat or Henkel.

P: Why did you choose Seville as inspiration and setting?

R: Maria Grazia [Chiuri] made the final decision, but it was a dialogue between us, as always. I am a big fan of Seville because I have been here many times. The first time was to celebrate the 60th birthday of my friend and boss at Louis Vuitton, Yves Carcelle. Since then [my wife and I] have returned every two years and have fantastic memories. When I spoke with Maria Grazia, we realized that Dior had never paraded in Spain. This country is very important in European culture, and it was one of the sources of inspiration for Dior, John Galliano, and Yves Saint Laurent. It was part of Christian Dior’s artistic vocabulary.

P: What conversations were held and with what authorities?

R: We mainly spoke with the Mayor of Seville [Antonio Muñoz]. By now, it is clear to a city’s authorities that when Dior decides to stage a parade there, it does so with delicacy and respect for local culture and traditions. And also that it generates enormous publicity for the place. Tonight’s show will reach 200 million views, among those who will watch it today and those who will do so later, across all platforms and channels. That represents an incredible value in terms of media impact. I know that Seville competes with Madrid to be the second most visited city in Spain, and this gives it a good boost to occupy that place.

P: What does the city have left after the show ends?

R: Those millions of people will see the city through the beautiful video we shot with a team of more than 160 people who produce with taste and elegance. I don’t know if they would have the means to do it themselves as a tourist advertisement. Although it is not quantified, it is evident that this will be good for the city. Many people who have not yet booked their holidays will discover Seville through our images and decide to come. I bet there will be an explosion of tourism in July, August, and September. We’ll see if I’m wrong.

P: And what does Seville bring to Dior?

R: We already have the design of the shop windows where the collection will be displayed and a pop-up store that we will derive from this show. We know that we are going to have a very strong Christmas, no doubt [the cruise collection arrives in stores for the holiday season]. It will be one of the best collections, if not the best, of Maria Grazia for Dior. I think the Spanish will be very proud of Spain’s interpretation through Dior’s eyes. This collection will be part of the brand and fashion history. This is what will remain of Seville in us.

P: Three Dior shows were held in Spain in the fifties and sixties. Why is this one different?

R: Those shows were not done in the same way as we do them now. It is the first time we have really come to Spain. It is a new collection that will be shown to the world for the first time in this country. This has never been done before. And certainly not in the way it will be seen tonight. It probably won’t be the last. We’ll see.

P: LVMH does not break down its figures by brands. But HSBC bank has estimated that Dior’s sales in 2021, excluding cosmetics and perfumes, reached 6.2 billion euros, and have tripled since 2017. How would you rate the estimate?

R: Conservative.

P: Does that mean that sales have more than tripled in five years?

R: I won’t tell you, but do the math. At Dior, we have had incredible success over the past four years. And we’re not going to stop.

P: A year ago in Athens, you said Dior had “shouted while others

were silent” in reference to maintaining activity during the pandemic. What have you done since then?

R: During that period, we gained market share, and that is like winning the pole position in Formula 1. If you start first, then it is difficult for others to overtake you when everyone else accelerates. We are going to hold four major shows in less than two months. It is difficult to catch us because we have the means, teams, and taste. There are many events, but the level of detail and the experience of ours is unique.

P: In fashion, everything rises and then falls. There comes a point where it is complicated to continue growing…

R: We only have 230 stores while our competitors are over 500, so we still have room to grow. And we also have the advantage of innovation power. Look at what we have done on Avenue Montaigne, where we have more than 4,000 visitors a day. We have opened a new avenue for luxury with a different store concept: a gallery. We are always ahead because we have the ability to anticipate a trend. Therefore, it is very difficult to get ahead of us. But perhaps it is my biased view. Customers will judge whether what I say is true or not.

P: Do you like pressure?

R: I like being where I am. It is more stressful to be behind and try to overtake than to set the pace. When you are in the lead, you can choose your own path and trajectory. It is much better to be there. In Italian, it is said, “Il potere logora chi non ce l’ha”: power destroys those who do not have it. It is better to have it than not to have it.

P: With La Galerie Dior at 30 Avenue Montaigne, you have created your own museum. Does this mean you are not dependent on others to program you?

R: It is a concept that will evolve over time because we continue to enrich our archives with acquisitions: we spend more than 2 million euros a year buying pieces. We search auctions and private clients to enrich our heritage. Every Monday there is a newsletter sent to our creative directors with the new purchases. They always find inspiration because Dior and its successors were very prolific. This enriches our vocabulary and our ability to innovate, which for me is the key to our success, being ahead and staying ahead.

P: What is the relationship with Bernard Arnault, President and CEO of LVMH? And with the rest of the brands in the conglomerate?

R: Mr. Arnault is a great admirer of Dior and is happy with what is happening. With the other brands, there is a nice competition. We are like a constellation where each brand has to shine with its own light.

Conclusion: A Night of Fashion and Legacy in Seville

Dior’s debut of its Cruise 2023 collection in Seville marks not just a fashion event but a celebration of cultural fusion and artistic homage. From the mesmerizing procession of designs to the intricate collaborations with Spanish artisans, the evening was a testament to the brand’s commitment to innovation and tradition. As Dior continues to shine on the global stage, its legacy intertwines with the vibrant spirit of Seville, leaving an indelible mark on both fashion history and the city’s cultural landscape.