• Anne Heaney, Director

Dior Brings Back the Saddle Bag with an Instagram Blitz

Excitement for the return of Dior’s equestrian-inspired Saddle bag line — which dominated the “it bag” era of the early 2000s alongside Balenciaga’s “Lariat” and the Fendi “Baguette” before being discontinued — has been bubbling up since designer Maria Grazia Chiuri put them in her runway show in February.

Trendsetting models Bella Hadid and Elsa Hosk were soon spotted carrying vintage Saddle bags, driving up demand on luxury resale sites like Vestiare Collective.

Then, last week, just as Europe’s other fashion houses were winding down for their summer recess, Dior unleashed the bags in a marketing blitz that was hard to miss: scores of Instagram influencers from around the world posted images modelling the $2,000-plus bags on the same day that Dior released its own campaigns, with models posing against vintage cars on the streets of Paris.

Making a splash with new product launches is becoming more important and more challenging for luxury brands as social networks become more saturated with fashion images than ever. The prestigious airs that top-end labels have spent decades cultivating are increasingly seen as a mere prerequisite.

With retro logos and reissues of archival designs driving the fashion conversation by tapping into customers’ nostalgia — as in Versace’s Tribute collection — it’s no surprise that many designers are feeding the hunger for new products by reviving old standards rather than risking big ad dollars to promote an untested product.

Since the campaign went live last week, web searches for Dior Saddle bags are up nearly 1,000 percent on Lyst. It will be interesting to see if such a big-bang launch campaign will speed up the product’s life cycle — if it’s already everywhere then how long before it’s over?

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