SINGAPORE. Parfums Christian Dior has joined forces with Changi Airport Group and The Shilla Duty Free to open the first Maison Christian Dior pop-up boutique in an Asia Pacific airport.
Located at the Terminal 3 Departure transit hall, the 45sq m space was officially opened on 6 April, in the presence of representatives from Parfums Christian Dior, Changi Airport Group and The Shilla Duty Free. Invited guests included Singaporean singer, actress and host Joanna Dong, actor Pierre Png, key social media influencers as well as The Moodie Davitt Report as the only travel retail media.
The Maison Christian Dior pop-up boutique will run exclusively at Singapore Changi Airport until 14 April, but remains open until 30 September. On 16 April, the pop-up boutique will launch at Shanghai Pudong Airport, followed by Sydney Airport on 1 May. Further travel retail locations to come include Macau (downtown), Paris, Sao Paulo and Bangkok.
Maison Christian Dior was conceived as “a new Dior universe entirely dedicated to the love of perfume, an olfactive lifestyle and the art of gifting”, according to the brand.
Speaking at the ceremony, Parfums Christian Dior Senior Vice President of Travel Retail Worldwide Olivier Dubos noted that a passionate love of perfume has long been a part of the history of the House of Dior. “Maison Christian Dior was created so that we can share our love of fragrances,” he said.
“We wanted it to be appealing to, and welcoming of, everyone – a touch of Parisian excellence and elegance to add to your home. Maison Christian Dior is our declaration of love to perfume – and yours, too.”
The pop-up boutique, inspired by the French art de vivre (art of living), was designed to reflect the elegance of a Parisian apartment. It features white marble and polished concrete juxtaposed with Versailles wood flooring. A digital wall provides a “window” onto the Château de La Colle Noire in Grasse, where Christian Dior himself created some of the house’s most iconic fragrances.
“Maison Christian Dior is our declaration of love to perfume – and yours, too” – Olivier Dubos
Within the space, travellers can discover a selection of fragrances, candles and soaps, crafted by Dior perfumer-creator François Demachy. At the heart of the offer is the Maison Christian Dior collection of 22 fragrances – a blend of new creations and pre-existing classics from Dior’s La Collection Privée.
In another first for travel retail, the pop-up boutique is offering an original range of silk scarves called ‘mitzah’, inspired by Christian Dior’s muse Mitzah Bricard. The couture accessory can be used for perfuming and tied around the neck or wrist for an alternative way of wearing a scent, the brand said.
The candles, crafted by French wax manufacturers Perron Rigot, are housed in Limoges porcelain with a Dior grey artisanal enamel interior. The soaps are made in France at the Savonnerie de Haute-Provence.
In addition to gift-wrapping, an exclusive fragrance bottle engraving service is also provided to customers.
Parfums Christian Dior Area Manager of Travel Retail South East Asia Grégoire Walter commented: “With The Shilla Duty Free and Changi Airport Group, we share the conviction that in a fast-changing retail landscape, it is crucial to offer more exclusivity and innovation to our customers.
“The Asia-first launch of Maison Christian Dior in an airport, that offers a world-class experience with tailor-made services, would not have been possible without the active collaboration of each party. This special relationship, made of mutual understanding of each other’s needs and constraints, is a great example of how working with a ‘Trinity’ spirit can bring to travel retail never-before-seen projects.”
Changi Airport Group Senior Vice President of Airside Concession Teo Chew Hoon said: “We are excited to be the first airport in the Asia Pacific to unveil Maison Christian Dior. The luxurious concept, sensorial elements and tasteful spaces immerse travellers in the unique Parisian lifestyle. We certainly look forward to delighting travellers with the most captivating retail experience as they travel through Changi Airport this season.”
“This special relationship is a great example of how working with a ‘Trinity’ spirit can bring to travel retail never-before-seen projects” – Grégoire Walter
The Shilla Duty Free Vice President of Global Merchandising Division Raelene Johnson said: “Ever dedicated to presenting unique retail experiences to elevate the overall travel experience, The Shilla Duty Free is proud to be working closely with Changi Airport Group and Parfums Christian Dior to present a multisensory, immersive and personalised experience for our global shoppers with the exciting new launch of Maison Christian Dior.”
Experiencing Maison Christian Dior: An interview with François Demachy
The Moodie Davitt Report spoke to François Demachy, Dior’s perfumer-creator since 2006 and the key figure behind the house’s olfactory expertise, at the event.
Describing the Maison Christian Dior fragrance collection as “a natural extension of La Collection Privée”, Demachy said the newly expanded range was inspired not only by the heritage of Christian Dior but also his personal experiences, memories and travels.
“My creative process is all about imaginative ideas,” he said. “My objective is to retain and translate the essence of the house. Mr Dior used to say that you have to pay attention to every single detail even though you can’t see it, and this philosophy is reflected in my work. I have absolutely no constraints imposed on me – not even time – when I’m working on Maison Christian Dior. Compared to creating the more contemporary lines, I can be a bit more daring in what I try. With this freedom, ideas come and go, and I get many inspirations from the house itself.”
Lucky, for example, was inspired by Christian Dior, who was very superstitious and would stitch a stem of lily of the valley into the seam of his haute couture dresses for good luck. “For me, this was the link between the fragrance and Mr Dior,” Demachy explained. To bring this link to life, he used lily of the valley and a profusion of white flowers. “When you smell Lucky, you don’t smell lily of the valley right away; it slowly reveals itself, emerging from the initial floral note of the white flowers. It’s the same idea as when you are wearing that dress, you wouldn’t know there was lily of the valley inside the hem; you only find out at a later stage. It’s like a discovery,” he said.
Another fragrance in the collection, Jasmin des Anges, is a tribute to the fields of jasmine in Grasse – where Demachy was raised – during the transition from late summer to early autumn. “The jasmine harvest starts from early July all the way until end October. Depending on which month you walk through the fields, the scent of jasmine will be different. In July, it will smell very green and fresh; and from September to the end of October, the scent is stronger – sweet, like a sugary jam. This evolution of the scent throughout the months is something that I try to recreate within the fragrance.”
The perfume capital of the world has also inspired other fragrances in the collection, such as La Colle Noire and Rose Gipsy, while Sakura and Balade Sauvage were borne out of Demachy’s trips to Japan and Panarea. A majority of the fragrance names were conceived by Demachy himself.
From Florals, Light Florals, Fruity Fresh to Sensuals and Orientals, the Maison Christian Dior fragrance collection caters to different audiences. While he did not set out to create the fragrances for specific markets, floral scents such as Lucky and Sakura have been selling well with Chinese consumers, while muskier scents such as Purple Oud have found favour with Middle Eastern shoppers.
Demachy noted that the number of new fragrances on the market today has grown ten-fold since he entered the perfumery world more than 40 years ago – but there is no real newness. “Based on the sheer number of new fragrances, you’d think you would have a lot more choice, but that’s not the case because many of them are very similar to one another,” he observed.
Unlike the majority of other fragrance brands, all Dior fragrances are 100% made in-house, Demachy underlined. His concise formulas are based on rigorously selected raw ingredients and flowers, some of which are grown exclusively for the House of Dior.
Translating the scents into candles and soaps, however, requires a reworking of the formulas and some thinking outside the box. In some cases where notes or raw materials cannot be substituted – and thus a faithful transposition of fragrance notes to candle wax or soap paste not possible – a completely new perfumed product is born.
The result is a diverse collection offering a variety of ways to wear fragrance, with something for everyone. The collection will soon be expanded, and new categories such as body creams and foaming gels for hand and body will also be added to the line-up.
“The idea behind the Maison Christian Dior concept is about making fragrance more accessible, more visible, and with more nuances,” he said. These Maisons are more than just boutiques, he added; they are spaces for sharing emotions and experiencing the pleasure of perfume.
Dior’s specially trained beauty advisors play an instrumental role here. Knowledgeable about the history, composition and raw materials of each fragrance, they offer personalised fragrance consultations by understanding the emotions that consumers wish to evoke when wearing a fragrance. This experiential lifestyle-led approach is fitting as the younger generation of consumers become more discerning and willing to learn about fragrances, he noted.
Besides service excellence, the Maison Christian Dior experience is closely tied to the art of gifting. All products are packaged at the point-of-sale in a customised gift box decorated with a cord – in a choice of six colours – and finished with the Maison Christian Dior initialled wax seal. A selection of 10ml miniatures is also available as gifts-with-purchase.
Commenting on the airport debut of Maison Christian Dior, Demachy pointed out the dwell time and captive international audience from all walks of life as his “main pros” for fragrance shopping in travel retail. “I feel extremely fortunate to have Maison Christian Dior in travel retail because it means that you don’t have to go to the store, the store comes to you.”