A full-blown Lady Dior bag emerged on the waterfront in Hong Kong at Pier 4, Central, early last month. Christian Dior's iconic creation was transformed into a outdoor venue for the fashion house's globetrotting exhibition 'Lady Dior As Seen By', complete with its trademark cannage pattern and super-sized D.I.O.R. charms, writes Cheong Phin
First launched in Shanghai two years ago, Christian Dior's round-the-world "Lady Dior As Seen By" exhibition returned to Greater China in early September, anchoring in Hong Kong for a two-week stay at Pier 4 in Central. The exhibition has previously been to major cities like Beijing, Milan, Tokyo and Sao Paolo, and as the title suggests, features 80 works of art based on interpretations of the fashion house's iconic Lady Dior bag.
Ranging from a pure white porcelain version by Hong Kong's eminent ceramic artist Annie Wan to steel-caged Lady Bomb in neon metal paint by sculptor Erdal Duman to fashion photography by Inez & Vinoodh and a Lady Bird bamboo sculpture by Kum Chi Keung, the diverse range of artworks offered a stimulating, unplugged vision of a truly elegant "Lady".
The art and fashion exhibition also made a timely arrival in Hong Kong to commemorate the re-opening of two newly renovated flagship stores in Pacific Place and The Landmark by world-renowned architect Peter Marino. The flamboyant leather-clad designer flew into the island with LVMH chairman and chief executive officer Bernard Arnault to inaugurate the launch.
An exclusive dinner in their honour was hosted in a magnificent tent on Pier 4, overlooking the Kowloon skyline at night and attended by celebrities, such as actress Maggie Cheung, singer Coco Lee and star couple Simon Yam and Qi Qi, all clad in Dior, of course.
The Lady Dior bag is named in tribute to the late Lady Diana, princess of Wales, who popularised the fashion house's creation after receiving the bag in 1995 as a gift from Bernadette Chirac, the former first lady of France, on the occasion of her official visit to Paris to open the Cézzane Exhibition. The world's most photographed royal was spotted with her new favourite bag wherever she was and reportedly ordered every available version, including one in black crocodile skin.
Eighteen years on, the structured, rectangular bag remains a legendary icon of the couture house, complete with its symbolic topstitched cannage pattern (inspired by the straw seats of Napoleon III's gilt chairs, which Dior chose for the setting of his first haute couture fashion show in 1947), golden rings connecting the body to the two rounded handles and polished metal bag charms with the letters D.I.O.R.
The elegant simplicity and femininity of the design has since attracted a bevy of celebrities across the world that includes Hollywood stars Sarah Jessica Parker, Anne Hathaway and Marion Cotillard.
The lucrative fashion climate naturally resulted in many variations of the Lady Dior we see today and to commemorate the opening of the two newly renovated stores, three limited-edition versions of the bag have been created exclusively for the occasion, including a beautiful pale pink calfskin edition with embroidered flowers in leather that has been limited to five pieces worldwide.