If you’ve driven past the Shops Buckhead Atlanta lately, you may have noticed Dior’s custom glass and LED facade, the installation of which required a special team from Europe. In 2014, when the Shops announced that the famed French label would be opening a women’s boutique there, it was a sign of Atlanta’s emergence as a fashion capital in its own right. (According to consultancy firm JLL, the city is the eighth-most-attractive market for luxury retailers in the U.S. in 2016.) Now that Dior has opened its first standalone shop between D.C. and Miami, with more than 5,000 square feet stretching from Peachtree Street to Bolling Way, shoppers can finally snatch up its shoes, handbags, and fresh-from-the-runway looks.
“You can’t overstate the significance of having Dior open a boutique here,” says Kevin Knaus, a professor of fashion marketing and management at SCAD Atlanta. “For a luxury retailer to dedicate [that much] space to the store speaks a lot about Atlanta’s clout and growing fashion scene.”
Renaud de Lesquen, President Christian Dior Couture and Parfums Christian Dior for North America, agrees. “Buckhead is one of the most affluent communities in the Southern region of the United States. And with the opening of The Shops Buckhead Atlanta, a new level of sophistication and global luxury has been introduced to the city of Atlanta, making this the perfect time and location for Dior to open a women’s boutique.”
Since 1947, when the late Christian Dior debuted his first collection in a Paris salon, the name has telegraphed luxury. (It’s now a part of Bernard Arnault’s conglomerate LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton.) Bringing back opulence and drama after years of drab wartime clothing, Dior introduced waist-cinching dresses and full skirts that bloomed with generous swaths of fabric. The collection was so revolutionary and influential it was dubbed “the New Look” and helped restore postwar Paris as the epicenter of fashion. Today Dior is one of the rare fashion houses that still creates haute couture—custom clothing handmade in a Paris atelier according to strict guidelines, with prices that can exceed a down payment for a house. (Would-be First Lady Melania Trump once modeled her couture Dior wedding gown, which reportedly cost more than $100,000, on the cover of Vogue.)
The new boutique features three salons: one for handbags and leather goods, one for shoes, and one for ready-to-wear. This fall find classic black suiting, floral pencil skirts, and cocktail dresses in bold paisley prints. But expect an aesthetic shift come spring. The company recently tapped Maria Grazia Chiuri of Valentino—where she was known for her romantic, ethereal dresses—as creative head. She fills a role that had been empty since famed Belgian minimalist Raf Simons announced his departure last October. It’s a pivotal moment for Dior; Chiuri is the first woman at the helm, and she’s just the seventh director in the brand’s 70-year history.
“Dior has such a legacy. Everyone knows the brand, and it has come to be synonymous with classic beauty,” Knaus says. “When you buy something from Dior, you know it’s going to be timeless. Twenty years later, it’ll still look just as good.”
A brief history of Dior in Atlanta
The store may be new, but the city has had a long love affair with the brand
Dior creates the “Atlanta” dress, named for our growing city. It’s a black taffeta number in the “New Look” style, with a nipped waist and full skirt.
The Ebony Fashion Fair arrives in Atlanta for the first time, showcasing high fashion—from Christian Dior to Christian Lacroix—for an African American customer.
Real Housewife of Atlanta Kim Zolciak declares, “I’m going to die wearing Dior.”
Beyoncé is spotted at Atlanta’s Reign nightclub, where she and husband Jay-Z are said to have dropped $100,000, in thigh-high alligator Dior Guetre boots.
Infamous octogenarian jewelry thief Doris Payne is busted for allegedly shoplifting Dior earrings from Saks Fifth Avenue at Phipps Plaza.
Dior opens a store at the Shops Buckhead Atlanta.