By Megha Merani
Sondos Alqattan refused to apologise for comments criticising Kuwait's new laws that granted Filipino domestic workers in the Gulf state one day off per week
Multi-billion dollar French fashion empire Christian Dior invited controversial Kuwaiti blogger and social media influencer Sondos Alqattan to view their latest Spring-Summer 2019 Ready-to-Wear line, extending her an invite to their fashion show in Paris in September.
On July 10, 2018, Alqattan posted a video to her some 2.3 million followers on Instagram in which she criticised Kuwait’s new laws that granted Filipino domestic workers in the Gulf state one day off per week and prevented employers from keeping their passports.
Following the outrage sparked by her comments, brands like MAC, Shiseido, Max Factor and French perfume brand M.Micalle stepped forward to renounce her views and cut ties with her.
An unapologetic Alqattan retaliated by saying that she will reveal all the brands that have severed collaborations with her, so that her 2.3 million followers can, in turn, boycott them.
Alqattan posted a personal invite from Dior along with a collection of Instagram photos and more than 30 Instagram stories from her trip to Paris.
The invite, addressed in handwriting to “Madame Sondos Alqattan”, and signed-off with “Sincerely yours” from Pietro Beccari, President & CEO, Christian Dior Coutre, read: “It is a great pleasure for me to welcome you in Paris on the occasion of our Spring-Summer 2019 Ready-to-Wear show, on September 24. I hope this experience will be the opportunity for you to discover further the unique world of Dior. I wish you a very pleasant stay.”
It is understood by Arabian Business, however, that Alqattan attended in a private capacity and was not paid to be present.
Alqattan’s Instagram feed shows a photo of her invite accompanied by an opened Dior box containing the brand’s new monogram oblique canvas zip clutch, which amassed 34,173 likes.
Another blogger, @therealfashionblogger, posted the same clutch on her Instagram feed on October 1, with a caption that read: “Thank you so much Dior for this amazing gift from the SS19 Fashion Show in Paris last week.”
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Yesterday’s Details... New Dior Clutch Thank you so much Dior for this amazing gift from the SS19 Fashion Show in Paris last week . . #dior #diorclutch #diorclutchbag #diorbag #diorlover #newseason #diornewseason #dioroblique #diorpouch #diorpouchette #diorobliqueclutch #diorcanvasclutch #chanel #chaneljacket #chanelbelt #chanellover #cococuba #cruise #khaki #khakilook #sunday #details #fashion #fashionista #fashionblogger #therealfashionblogger
Alqattan’s feed has been consistently flooded with photos of Dior merchandise over the past months.
On September 25, Alqattan posed at with the caption: “Today I viewed all the pieces which were featured in the Dior fashion show yesterday, and we can choose and custom order the pieces we want, which will be delivered in February 2019, if God is willing.”
The previous month, Alqattan, decked with Dior’s new saddle bag in canvas embroidered with threads and beads from its Winter 2018 collection, posted: “Don’t care for those who ignore you. Care for those who ignore people for you #dior #diorbag #saddlebag
Alqattan’s Instagram stories are also littered with footage of the famous luxury house’s fashion show on September 24 at the famed Paris racecourse Hippodrome de Longchamp, and also feature various elements of Dior hospitality such as cookies in the shape of the Eiffel Tower individually wrapped in Dior ribbons.
Dior was given the opening slot at Paris Fashion Week and received rave reviews for head designer Maria Grazia Chiuri’s newest collection and its dance-inspired debut choreographed by Sharon Eyal.
Alqattan, known for her online make-up tutorials, told AFP in July that the backlash was “unjustified” and did not require an apology.
The beauty blogger insisted that her comments were not an “insult to the employee, and do not concern humanity or human rights because I did not deprive the employee of her salary or beat her”.
She has since deleted the clip and disabled comments on her Instagram.
Dior did not respond to repeated requests for comment asking whether the brand was aware of the Kuwait influencer’s recent comments or whether it was aligned with her statements and values, and whether it considered a worthy ambassador for its products.
Dior also did not respond to questions about whether the retailer was concerned Alqattan would follow through on her threat telling her followers to boycott brands who severe collaborations with her or whether the invite was an oversight.
Christian Dior is the planet's largest retailer focused on clothing, shoes and accessories, the 150th largest company in the world, according to Forbes' Global 2000 list of the biggest and most powerful public companies, as measured by a composite score of revenues, profits, assets and market value.
The high-end fashion house saw sales rise by double digits in 2017 to a record-breaking $49 billion.
Christian Dior SA owns 41 percent of LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton, while LVMH is the parent company to Dior Couture, as well as Louis Vuitton, Givenchy, Celine, among nearly 70 other fashion and non-fashion brands.