(文末刊有 Peter Cheung 英文原文)
其時John Galliano上任不久，是Alexander McQueen以外另一聲望最高的設計師。他有天馬行空的創意，憑獨特觸覺混合不同文化元素，着實在改變時裝界面貌。尤其作為Dior這間終極高級時裝屋的舵手，他帶來的改變更是無法忽視。之前的Dior極盡優雅，甚至太優雅、太淑女。雖然John紅得發紫，但他為品牌灌注的新風貌還是迎來了不少爭議，設計的Dior女性形象有時也令顧客不知所措。作為新上手的品牌公關，當時要找可以駕馭Galliano筆下Dior的女明星可不是易事。
碰巧加入Dior不久，我的朋友Marianne Wong（梅艷芳生前經理人）就聯絡我。Marianne 是我的朋友，當時負責梅艷芳的造型。Anita一向是時尚先鋒，但Dior之前沒有跟藝人或明星合作的習慣，大家有點遲疑。亞太地區絕對只是個小市場，我不肯定贊助明星這個舉動能否成事。我當時的上司對梅艷芳認識不多，認為她「不很漂亮」，又不算年輕，質疑我提議跟她合作的想法。我聽到時頗為氣餒，但仍然說服了他讓我先試一次，觀察外界反應，再慢慢決定下一步。
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自此，Anita每次出現在公眾場合的服裝都由我們贊助，過程十分順利，因為她模特兒般的身形穿得起任何sample，甚至不須作任何修改。當時的 “Street Chic” 系列很富都市感，非常性感，配備很多內衣元素，由Anita穿來都令人驚艷。一兩季之後，巴黎總部開始留意到Anita，把她穿Dior的照片拿給Galliano看。他從來對贊助亞洲名人的合作沒太大興趣，但他對Anita的演繹十分讚賞，並開始對她產生好奇。
此後，Anita更只穿Dior。2002年她宣布籌辦《極夢幻演唱會》，Marianne告訴我他們準備為Anita的形象作重大轉變，同時跟Kim Robinson、劉培基先生等時尚猛人合作，一往無前的膽識實在令人佩服。能夠參與其中就很興奮，我差不多把所有sample都帶給她揀。後來Anita和Marianne作了一個決定，彷彿把難題推給我︰他們想穿Haute Couture（高級訂製時裝）…
借出天價而且是獨一無二的Dior Haute Couture，是聞所未聞的事，更何況她們不單要一件。從來沒有任何人，甚至荷李活名人都未試過借穿，更別說借來開演唱會。Marianne 不斷催促我，而我必須承認，我實在不肯定巴黎方面會有什麼反應。
結果《極夢幻演唱會》竟然成功借到三套Haute Couture，簡直是破天荒的一次。那是第一次有亞洲（包括日本）藝人穿上每款世上僅此一件的Haute Couture，當我坐在台下觀賞時，感覺十分震撼。Anita穿上的效果出奇地好，某些Couture款式重達70磅，而她還可以輕鬆自如地在台上勁歌熱舞。
我很感激有緣認識Anita，和她合作只有短短兩三年，但我在她身上學會關於時尚的永誌難忘。她也教會我專業精神的意思，什麼叫“the show must go on”，何謂忠誠。從2001年我們首次為她置裝，到她最後的個唱，Anita幾乎只穿Dior，從無動搖過找其他品牌。她信任Marianne，我想她也日漸信任我，她知道我們會不惜一切為求最完美的可能。同樣地，我每次請求她幫忙她也定必支持，例如為雜誌拍攝，出席活動，而期間我們從未訂立合約，無任何金錢交易，但我們總是在談下一次合作。
Peter Cheung 原文：
I joined Dior Couture as a young Regional PR and Communications Manager in 2001. It was certainly a coveted role as I remembered that I interviewed for the job well over 15 times, over almost half a year. And when I finally got the job, I was just over the moon with excitement as I just loved the brand, was truly getting to embark on a “dream-job”/career. I was just so thrilled to get to work and meet John Galliano.
John Galliano just arrived to Dior and during that time, probably along with Alexander McQueen, he was one of the most high profile designers, highly sought after. He was so incredibly creative, with a sense of cultural mixing that was really changing the fashion industry and especially as the Creative Director of Dior… the ultimate Couture house. Although John was so hot, the changes that he was instilling to Dior were sometimes met with controversies, and sometimes customers were a bit alienated by his directions and his visions of the Dior Woman at that time… Dior previously was so elegant, maybe too elegant and was too lady-like and John blew in a completely new direction for the brand. As a young communications manager… I recalled that it was not always easy to find that woman who could “carry-off” the new Dior looks by Galliano.
By coincidence, soon after I joined Dior, I was contacted by my friend Marianne Wong, who was helping Anita Mui with her styling. Anita has been always a pioneer of style, but it was a bit sensitive as Dior usually do not want to work with artists or celebrities. And definitely at that time, Asia Pacific was a small market, and I was unsure what we could or could not do with this celebrity endorsement. My boss at that time, challenged me…, he had not much idea who Anita Mui was and I recalled that he challenged me in suggesting working with Anita because she was “not very pretty” and not young anymore… I was quite put off and frustrated with that and that I had to convince him to allow me to just try once where we can go slowly and step by step and see what the results were.
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The first time we dressed Anita was at the 2001 Ming Pao Weekly annual party. It was very high profile with lots of celebrities and press. At that party, Anita, for the first time wore a Dior Ready-to-Wear ensemble. That was also the first time I met her in person. When I arrived to the party, Marianne introduced her to me… I was a bit nervous and in awe of her… but she smiled a big smile to me and did a small spin and twirl with her dress and said to me… “So, do you like what you see?” I remember her outfit was totally in sheer chiffon and it was a hit… the press loved it, other celebrities commented on it and it was like a match made in heaven as again, the looks from Dior by Galliano was not the easiest of looks to carry.
We started dressing Anita in all of her appearances… it was quite easy as Anita was a perfect fit for any samples and she never needed any alterations. The collection was around that time the “Street Chic” collection, very urban, very sexy and lots of lingerie combinations for day looks and Anita was just stunning in them… After a season or two of dressing her, the Paris Headquarters began to notice and they shared the photos of editorial of Anita wearing Dior with John. He had never paid much attention to Asia for celebrity endorsements, but he gave us very positive praises and was beginning to be really intrigued with Anita.
From then on, Anita was in Dior exclusively and she annoounced her upcoming Anita Mui Fantasy Gig concert series for 2002. Anita and Marianne decided that they were going to completely change Anita’s looks and it was just incredible how confident they were, working with other very creative forces too like Kim Robinson, Eddie Lau and many others. I was just thrilled to be along for the project and was holding almost all of my press sample racks for her selection for the concert. Anita and Marianne then made a selection and then they kind of dropped a bomb on me… they wanted Haute Couture pieces…
Lending a single piece, let alone multiple pieces, of a Dior one of a kind, priceless Haute Couture creation was absolutely unheard of… no one, not even Hollywood celebrities were lent Haute Couture pieces at that time and let alone for a concert. Marianne kept pushing me and I must admit I was totally not sure how Paris would react…
For the Fantasy Gig concert, I was able to secure about 3 pieces of Haute Couture and it was a huge coup… the Dior Haute Couture dressing in 2002 was the very first time where an Asian Artist (including Japan) wore the one of a kind pieces… I was in the audience and it was exhilarating… the results were amazing and Anita wore the pieces… dancing non-stop on the stage (some Haute Couture pieces weighed over 70 lbs) so effortlessly.
Paris loved the results and especially John Galliano … we kept working with Anita and Marianne, they supported me with many events and store openings appearances and even took a trip to Paris just to see a show and to meet John in 2003… we were also introducing them to also start planning for Anita Classic Moment in November of that year.
After meeting John, and with his full blessing, for the Anita Classic Moment Live, we had numerous pieces of Haute Couture, selected by Anita and approved by John… I remembered the pieces arrived in our Hong Kong office and they were HUGE… the boxes almost took over the entire Dior Office and Showroom.
The night before the dress rehearsal, at around 2 am in the morning, I got a call from Marianne. Anita had not been able to try the dresses on before and with her treatment and medication, she had fitting difficulties with the Haute Couture pieces and nothing was fitting well. This never ever happened before and this was also the first time Marianne and I spoke about Anita being sick. I told Marianne I would try and do whatever it took and I hung up with her and called the Paris Press Office immediately.
For the first time, I shared with my headquarters about Anita’s health situation as I never really officially told them before. I panicked a little, wondering if I would be in big trouble for not saying anything before. However, I just thought Anita would continue with the show as she always did, but I had not anticipated this fitting problem. I was told by my Paris bosses that they would have to consult John and that they would call me back asap…
I got a call back a few hours later… it must have been early morning in Hong Kong time, and I was told that 7 or 8 additional Haute Couture pieces and whatever they could gather as soon as they can in Paris, would be shipped immediately to Hong Kong. I was elated and was so happy and I even asked them to ship them directly to the Hong Kong Coliseumand not wasting any time to send those pieces to my office…
On the opening night of Anita Classic Moment Live concert, I was in the audience and I did not go back stage before the show as I didn’t want to disturb Anita. I wanted to be surprised like everyone else to see what she wore and she Anita looked on stage with the Haute Couture looks… I was so so thrilled that I can’t really put those emotions and feelings into words… then in the middle of her show, she asked the crowd while wearing a Dior Haute Couture piece… “How do I look tonight?” (the crowd went wild!!!!) “I tell you… I have million and million dollars worth of clothes back stage, and I have to thank my friend from Dior.” And the crowd went crazy… Although she did not say my name, she looked right at me when she said that and I was just so out of my body that she credited the Brand as we never talked about it…
I had the pleasure of knowing Anita Mui and working with her for just a few years, but what she taught me about style will be forever… She also taught me about work ethics, “the show must go on” and also loyalty. Since first dressing her in 2001 to her last concert, Anita was almost always in Dior and never wavered to try other brands. She trusted Marianne and I think she learned to trust me, that we would always go for it together the best of the best. In return, she supported me every time I asked… like doing photo shootings for magazines, or making appearances for store openings and other events… and in all those years, we never had a contract, not one dollar exchanged and it was always about the next time or the next project that we would do next…
I was in the audience on the finale night of Anita Classic Moment Live… I went with some friends and I had to also bring my Mom. The night was so emotional that I really cannot put into words… When the show finished, despite Marianne calling me to tell me to go back stage, I declined… I had lot of friends with me, including my Mom, and I knew back stage would have been chaos. I also truly thought I would see Anita again soon… that she would be fine and we would have another chance to do another amazing project.
On my way home that night, Marianne called me and told me to hold the line… the background noise was load and then Anita got on the phone… “Where are you? We are celebrating backstage…” . I politely told her that I had to take my Mom home after the show and that we can see each other next time. I, of course told her what an amazing show it was… and she then just said to me… “ok… take care of your Mom… I will see you and let’s have dinner when I come back from my job in Japan…”
I used to regret that I didn’t go see Anita at the back stage during that last night… but now I have come to terms with that, perhaps, that the last time I saw her was the way I always wanted to remember her… On stage with all her fans screaming for her…