Advertisement

EXCLUSIVE: Dior’s Maria Grazia Chiuri to Receive Neiman’s Distinguished Service Award

Maria Grazia Chiuri, creative director of women’s haute couture, ready-to-wear and accessories for Dior, will receive the 2024 Neiman Marcus Award for Distinguished Service in the Field of Fashion, WWD has learned.

This is the same honor given to Christian Dior in 1947, and to Brunello Cucinelli last year when Neiman’s revived the award after a six-year hiatus. It recognizes someone who is iconic, has established a distinguished career and has impacted the fashion world, and is part of Neiman’s annual award program that also presents the Neiman Marcus Creative Impact and Innovation Awards. Last year, Loewe’s Jonathan Anderson and accessory designer Amina Muaddi won those awards, for creativity and innovation, respectively.

More from WWD

“Maria Grazia Chiuri has had a transformative creative vision, and she’s applied that in different maisons, from Fendi and Valentino to Dior. She’s had a real impact on the industry,” Geoffroy van Raemdonck, chief executive officer of the Neiman Marcus Group, told WWD. “Specifically, if we look at the maison of Dior, she’s ushered in a new era of cultural impact for Dior through her product creativity, and through the energy and relevance she brings to the brand.”

The award also serves as platform for strengthening Neiman’s partnerships with luxury designers and brands, potentially generating greater business with them, and gaining an edge on competitors such as Saks Fifth Avenue, Bloomingdale’s and Nordstrom, which is particularly important in the current climate of softening luxury sales. It can increase a designer’s distribution across NMG’s three selling channels — stores, e-commerce and remote selling — and furthers NMG’s strategy of “retail-tainment,” which centers on developing innovative special events and activations in stores. Exclusives can be part of the program.

“Bringing excitement to our customers is really what we set out to do, and this award is an incredible way to do that,” van Raemdonck said.

Dior is a top-volume generator for the Neiman Marcus Group, which has sold the luxury brand for 78 years and currently sells at its 33 stores. Last year, Neiman’s created “a world of Dior” experience at its Beverly Hills store offering all Dior categories. There’s a Dior women’s boutique for ready-to-wear, accessories and shoes and a separate Dior men’s boutique.

“This was just the beginning of our multiyear growth plan with Dior,” said Lana Todorovich, NMG’s chief merchandising officer. “In multiple locations we are expanding our Dior distribution, expanding the Dior footprint and creating the world of Dior. All categories will be represented. Her creations will be brought to life through our ‘retail-tainment’ strategy, which connects our customers to exclusive experiences from our premiere brand partners.”

Currently, Dior products can be found at all NMG stores, but not all of the Dior merchandise categories are sold in all of those stores. Dior does sell online, at dior.com, but is not available on the websites of retailers.

“Maria has such an elegant and modern vision while certainly paying homage to the house’s heritage and its revolutionary codes originally created by Dior,” Todorovich said. “Her designs are very respectful of those codes, but she has this poetic approach to make it iconic, to make it timeless and, of course, with continuous impeccable quality and craftsmanship.”

Chiuri, Dior’s first female creative director who took on the job in July 2016, will receive the award on March 3 during Paris Fashion Week at a dinner at the Ritz Hotel. Neiman’s Award for Creative Impact in the Field of Fashion and Award for Innovation in the Field of Fashion will also been given. Those two recipients will be revealed later.

“This year, the format is an intimate dinner at the Ritz with the award recipients, their closest friends and brand leaders,” van Raemdonck said. “It’s a moment to celebrate creativity, celebrate the industry and celebrate the specific recipients.”

“Receiving this award given to Christian Dior in 1947, in recognition of the extraordinary impact his first collection had on the world of fashion, fills me with pride,” Chiuri said in a statement. “Since my arrival at Dior, I have striven every day to respect this heritage that is part of the history of fashion, while also using my own poetic approach to shape the future of the brand in our complex world that is constantly bringing new challenges,” Chiuri said. “This award pushes me to keep giving my all, doing the best I can for women, helping them to find the awareness they need to never give up on themselves and to overcome all hurdles. It is to them, to all the women who have made me a better woman, that I dedicate this award. I also dedicate it to Michela Murgia, an author, activist, friend and endless source of inspiration.”

The NMG executives pointed out that in less than a decade at the helm, Chiuri has led Dior to new heights as one of the most desirable luxury brands globally. “Through her platform, she has showcased a multitude of female creatives on an unprecedented level and beyond her designs, and she values community and culture,” Todorovich said. “As a women-cofounded and majority women-led organization, Neiman Marcus Group shares her value of women’s empowerment within the company and industry.”

Christian Dior (left) accepting the Neiman Marcus Award from Stanley Marcus in 1947.
Christian Dior (left) accepting the Neiman Marcus Award from Stanley Marcus in 1947.

The late legendary retail impresario Stanley Marcus presented the same honor to Christian Dior in Dallas in 1947. Marcus and Carrie Neiman Marcus founded the Distinguished Service Award in the Field of Fashion 86 years ago. The award has been given to over 150 luxury fashion luminaries and others including Coco Chanel, Yves Saint Laurent, Giorgio Armani, Grace Kelly, Karl Lagerfeld, Elsa Schiaparelli, Miuccia Prada, Oscar de la Renta, Ralph Lauren, Salvatore Ferragamo, Carolina Herrera, Estée Lauder and Baccarat, as well as Dior.

In his autobiography, Dior wrote that the experience of receiving the award was the moment his young brand was able to first connect with the American customer. “What was being recognized was the awakening of French fashion. It was my duty to represent my country on such an honorable occasion, confirming the preeminent place of Paris in this domain.”

This is the latest honor that Chiuri has received for her career. Last October, at the WWD Honors gala, she received the John B. Fairchild Honor for lifetime achievement, named after WWD’s legendary publisher John B. Fairchild.

Best of WWD