As quickly as Dior sought compensation from Valentino it was withdrawn; with Dior keen to keep relationships between the rival maisons amicable. The problem? Valentino blocked access to Dior’s doors with its show – which drew a cast of celebrities to the famous Spanish steps of Rome.


Dior’s special show, “The Beginning” included an all-star guest lineup. Anne Hathaway, Kate Hudson, Naomi Campbell, Anna Wintour, Florence Pugh and Andrew Garfield were all in check.

However, due to the event location, potential Dior shoppers spent their Friday afternoon on the sidelines of Valentino’s Haute Couture; instead of browsing the house of Dior. The furious fashion house almost immediately wrote to Valentino asking for compensation.

An Over-the-Top Display

Anne Hathaway waves for a video call on a mobile phone held by Giancarlo Giammetti at the Valentino show. Photograph: Yara Nardi/Reuters

As per WWD, Dior alleges the event reduced foot business, despite Valentino’s assurance that the extravagant display would bring in more consumers. To prove their case, the manager of the Italia store drafted a letter to the prestigious couture house, stating that their clients were “refused access and blocked at the barriers” and the store “remained empty and could not operate from the early hours of the afternoon,” especially on a typically high-traffic Friday “a day when surely proceeds are [significant].”

Valentino has not responded publicly to Dior’s demand. When approached by the Guardian, they had no comment. Dior also won’t confirm whether the complaint was authorised by the company’s Paris headquarters.

“I do wonder if there is some kind of history of rivalry there,” says the fashion historian Dr Kate Strasdin of Falmouth University. Prior to becoming Dior’s creative director in 2016, Maria Grazia Chiuri was co-artistic director at Valentino with Pierpaolo Piccioli.

“After their first individual collections in 2016, there were suggestions that their designs shared some aesthetic DNA,” said Strasdin. “There isn’t a documented history of conflict between the two brands, so I imagine this must be of more recent origin.”

Dior removed its request within a few days. They cited “cordial relations” and “mutual respect” between the two fashion houses as the reason for the withdrawal. It just proves that even between rival fashion houses it is best to write out your anger, then toss it in the bin, rather than actually send it.

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