I found heaven in Seoul: all five floors of it at Dior in Apgujeong, Gangnam.
Café Dior by Pierre Hermé in the world's biggest Dior flagship store: Apgujeong, Seoul
Shopping, art, delicious confectionary by Pierre Hermé, all of it achingly beautiful: the shiny new House of Dior flagship in Seoul is every luxury-loving Instagram enthusiast's dream come true. Naturally, that made it an unmissable destination for my party, if at least to visit the world's only Dior café on the top floor of this sprawling new boutique. Blooming from the garden of wealth that is Gangnam, Dior’s 6-floor flagship boutique in Seoul is instantly recognisable with a unique shape reminiscent of a tulip - or a tooth, if you ask me. The Pursuitist eloquently describe the curves of the facade as resembling "immense lengths of fabric, finely stitched together, erupting from a metal cane framework, like a Dior gift begging to be opened". In fact, the building's architect Christian de Portzamparc was actually inspired by the house’s haute couture. Monsieur Portzamparc explained,
“I thought about the movement of the fabrics, the weaving effects, and I created a facade that would explore these elements. This white softness is like the couturier’s toile when he’s at work. It has a sense of movement that plays with light. This sculptural suppleness was my starting point.”
Inside, Peter Marino has chosen to welcome visitors with a suspended sculpture by Korean artist Lee Bul, and with a staircase conceived as an unfurling ribbon that guides shoppers to the women’s ready-to-wear collections, accessories, perfumes, and the Dior Homme space. It's all painfully photogenic, as you'll see...
The Seoul Sisters (our party's name) and their spouses arrived in Gangnam not in a Seoul Train but in two cars. From the moment the wheels pulled up on the Dior-designated pavement just outside the boutique we were in the exemplary, attentive-yet-discreet hands of the staff. I wonder if the very limited edition Dior Lady handbag I was carrying had anything to do with it? I certainly noticed some of the staff subtly gesturing at my arm candy and whispering admiration for it. Either way, I've always enjoyed flawless service and hospitality from Dior - this great fashion house is a class act, through and through.
La Collection Privée Christian Dior. I have an olfactory obsession for Leather Oud: the heady cocktail of musk, Indonesian Oud, and leather is perfectly offset by subtle notes of mint that appear after the fragrance settles on the skin. I'd describe it as a more refreshing version of my signature scent, CHANEL Cuir de Russie. One for my Christmas stocking.
The Seoul Sisters took the lift up to the sixth floor, where we were greeted by Café Dior:
an airy space filled with light streaming in from the wrap around balcony.
A cozy waiting area in shades of grey (my favourite) with Pierre Hermé coffee table books to peruse while waiting for a table - although we didn't have to stand around, we were immediately taken care of as seating was adequate. Perhaps this has something to do with the surroundings - Gangnam is essentially the playground for Seoul's elite - being perceived as exclusive which might intimidate some. Personally, I always feel right at home whether it's at Dior or at Louis Vuitton. Certainly some of the guests felt the same way - two young ladies came accessorised with Dior Lady handbags like I did, which we all giggled over!
Pastel blues and purples add an accent of colour to the grey and silver interior of the café.
A private room for the shy, with sumptuous walls covered in pony hair.
I couldn't stop running my hands across the textured print...stroking the furry wall, indeed.
My party opted for a table on the balcony: all the more toddle-space for Baby M...
...who despite being very fascinated by it all, was extremely well-behaved!
Baby M and Mummy M.
Arm candy du jour: my limited edition Dior Lady. Fine, it's actually mummy's.
The menu is a smorgasbord offering “morsels of gourmet deliciousness” curated by world famous French pastry chef Pierre Hermé. You may know Monsieur Hermé as the go-to for macarons after a certain patisserie has been 'played out' by bloggers and basics alike (I won't say which because it's not fair to the patisserie: they do gorgeous macarons and its not their fault that Instagrammers with no imagination have oversaturated social media with their macarons to the point of fatigue).
Our sweet treats - flourless chocolate cake, macarons, parfaits and sorbets were delicious enough but let's be perfectly honest: you're not there for the food, you're there for the ambience, photo-op, and for the convenient pit-stop while burning plastic. Of course we enjoyed our little tea break at Café Dior, and it was made all the more special by our stunning surroundings, the service, and of course the shopping. Speaking of shopping, I accidentally bought something at Dior...I'll show you in a bit!
Seoul Sisters and a Seoul Baby.
Baby with expensive taste: Mika rummaging through my purchase.
Of all the wisdom I could impart on my best friend's son, it had to be a love for luxury.
Sorry, Michiekins! But at least my angpaos will be in £.
Why so shy, Mika? Baby M loved all the attention he got from pretty Korean ladies - the staff were cooing over him.
Lucky boy, having Korean beauties fawn over him...enjoy it, Mika: you're the envy of every Korean man haha.
Gentlemen, here's a tip: if you want to attract women don't buy a sports car - bring a baby with you.
Another unmissable sight to see at Seoul's Dior flagship boutique is the gallery on the fourth floor. The 'Lady Dior: As Seen By' exhibition is currently running, with works of art inspired by the iconic Dior Lady handbag. It must be said, its quite impressive to see men interested in handbags: the boys of our party were fascinated by the artworks and had great fun guessing how they were created, and thoroughly impressed when learning about the methods behind the madness!
Achievement unlocked: Straight men having fun with handbags.
This piece is my favourite! I thought that those were black feathers, but in fact it is metal dispersed by magnets which creates those shapes. Lina, former forensic scientist, guessed it right away as she's seen that method used at work: using magnets and powder to dust and lift fingerprints. *nods sagely*
Attempting a group photo by pointing my camera at the mirrored ceiling but everyone was too distracted by the wealth of treasure on display.
Speaking of an abundance of treasure, can you guess what I bought for myself?
Only the best pair of sunglasses that framed my face and perfectly matched my style.
I can't seem to it online, so if you fancy one pop into a Dior boutique.
Finally, here's my 'Gangnam Style':
vintage Escada by Margaretha Ley silk blouse, limited edition Lady Dior handbag, Dior eyewear,
and Zara velvet trousers and suede boots.
We had a lovely time at the Dior flagship boutique in Seoul - the largest of its kind - everything was perfect from the service, the ambience, the pretty parfaits and Pierre Hermé pastries, the perusing, and of course the gallery. Stylish foodies, luxury lovers, and art enthusiasts, you simply can't pass up the House of Dior's latest outpost in Gangnam when you're next in Seoul! x
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