This article is about the company. For the designer, see Christian Dior. For other uses, see Dior (disambiguation).
Christian Dior SE (French pronunciation: [kʁis.tjɑ̃ djɔːʁ]), commonly known as Dior, is a European luxury goods company controlled and chaired by French businessman Bernard Arnault, who also heads LVMH – the world's largest luxury group. Dior itself holds 42.36% shares of and 59.01% voting rights within LVMH.
Founded in 1948 by the eponyms designer Christian Dior, today the company designs and retails ready-to-wear, leather goods, fashion accessories, footwear, jewelry, timepieces, fragrance, makeup, and skincare products while also maintaining its tradition as a creator of recognized haute-couture (under the Christian Dior Couture division). While the Christian Dior label remains largely for women's offerings, the company also operates the Dior Homme division for men and the baby Dior label for children's wear. Products are sold throughout its portfolio of retail stores worldwide, as well as through its online store.
The House of Dior was established on 16 December 1946 in "a private house" at 30 Avenue Montaigne Paris B. However, the current Dior corporation celebrates "1947" as the opening year. Dior was financially backed by wealthy businessman Marcel Boussac. Boussac had originally invited Dior to design for Philippe et Gaston, but Dior refused, wishing to make a fresh start under his own name rather than reviving an old brand. The new couture house became a part of "a vertically integrated textile business" already operated by Boussac. Its capital was at FFr 6 million and workforce at 80 employees. The company was really a vanity project for Boussac and was a "majorly owned affiliate of Boussac Saint-Freres S.A. Nevertheless, Dior was allowed a then-unusual great part in his namesake label (legal leadership, a non-controlling stake in the firm, and one-third of pretax profits) despite Boussac's reputation as a "control freak". Dior's creativity also negotiated him a good salary.
On 12 February 1947, Dior launched his first fashion collection for Spring–Summer 1947. The show of "90 models of his first collection on six mannequins" was presented in the salons of the company's headquarters at 30 Avenue Montaigne. Originally, the two lines were named "Corolle" and "Huit". However, the new collection went down in fashion history as the "New Look" after the editor-in-chief of Harper's Bazaar Carmel Snow exclaimed, "It's such a new look!" The New Look was a revolutionary era for women back in the forties. When the collection was presented, the editor in chief also showed appreciation by saying; "It’s quite a revolution, dear Christian!"  The debut collection of Christian Dior is credited with having revived the fashion industry of France. Along with that, the New Look brought back the spirit of haute couture in France as it was considered glamorous and young-looking."We were witness to a revolution in fashion and to a revolution in showing fashion as well."  The silhouette was characterised by a small, nipped-in waist and a full skirt falling below mid-calf length, which emphasised the bust and hips, as epitomized by the 'Bar' suit from the first collection. The collection overall showcased more stereotypically feminine designs in contrast to the popular fashions of wartime, with full skirts, tight waists, and soft shoulders. Dior retained some of the masculine aspects as they continued to hold popularity through the early 1940s, but he also wanted to include more feminine style.
The New Look became extremely popular, its full-skirted silhouette influencing other fashion designers well into the 1950s, and Dior gained a number of prominent clients from Hollywood, the United States, and the European aristocracy. As a result, Paris, which had fallen from its position as the capital of the fashion world after WWII, regained its preeminence. The New Look was welcomed in western Europe as a refreshing antidote to the austerity of wartime and de-feminizing uniforms, and was embraced by stylish women such as Princess Margaret in the UK. According to Harold Koda, Dior credited Charles James with inspiring The New Look. Dior's designs from the "New Look" did not only affect the designers in the 1950s, but still some of the newer designers we know from now in the 2000s, including Thom Browne, Miuccia Prada, and Vivienne Westwood. Dior's evening dresses from that time are still referred to by many designers, and they have been seen in different wedding themed catwalks with multiple layers of fabric building up below the small waist (Jojo, 2011). Examples include Vivienne Westwood’s Ready-to-Wear Fall/Winter 2011 and Alexander McQueen's Ready to Wear Fall/Winter 2011 (Jojo, 2011).
Not everyone was pleased with the New Look, however. Some considered the amount of material to be wasteful, especially after years of cloth rationing. Feminists in particular were outraged, feeling that these corseted designs were restrictive and regressive, and that they took away a woman's independence. Fellow designer Coco Chanel remarked, "Only a man who never was intimate with a woman could design something that uncomfortable." Despite such protests, the New Look was highly influential, continuing to inform the work of other designers and fashion well into the 21st century. For the 60th anniversary of the New Look in 2007, John Galliano revisited it for his Spring-Summer collection for Dior. Galliano used the wasp waist and rounded shoulders, modernised and updated with references to origami and other Japanese influences. In 2012 Raf Simons revisited the New Look for his debut haute couture collection for Dior, wishing to update its ideas for the 21st century in a minimalist but also sensual and sexy manner. Simons's work for Dior retained the luxurious fabrics and silhouette, but encouraged self-respect for the woman's body and liberation of expression. The design process for this collection, which was produced in only eight weeks, is documented in Dior and I, presenting Simons's use of technology and modernist re-interpretations.
The "New Look" of Christian Dior was an international success in the late 1940s. His designs were an up to date elegant look, which no one had seen before. He wanted to make women as graceful and ladylike as possible showing women's figures. He brought femininity to an extreme, which completely overthrew the fashion from the 1920s and 1930s. After the launch of his collection, Christian Dior became one of the most famous people in the world of fashion. The most important part was that they could be worn successfully by women with all body shapes.
Dior has never lost the elegant look, even after Christian Dior died, the brand kept on the idea of the elegance and high end looks. It always brought out women's beauty and showed it to the whole world with wearing the designs. One of the most important part of his designs is that it is fully showing women's body curves to make it as feminine as possible, and no matter what kind of body shape it is, it can always fit into his designed curves perfectly.
Available references contradict themselves whether Christian Dior Parfums was established in 1947 or 1948. The Dior corporation itself lists the founding of Christian Dior Parfums as 1947, with the launch of its first perfume, Miss Dior. Dior revolutionized the perfumery industry with the launch of the highly popular Miss Dior parfum, which was named after Catherine Dior (Christian Dior's sister). Christian Dior Ltd owned 25%, manager of Coty perfumes held 35%, and Boussac owned 40% of the perfume business, headed by Serge Heftler Louiche.Pierre Cardin was made head of the Dior workshop from 1947 until 1950. In 1948, a New York City Christian Dior Parfums branch was established—this could be the cause of establishment-date issue. The modern Dior corporation also notes that "a luxury ready-to-wear house is established in New York at the corner of 5th Avenue and 57th Street, the first of its kind," in 1948. In 1949, the "Diorama" perfume is released and by 1949, the New Look line alone made a profit FFr 12.7 million.
Expansion and death of Dior
Expansion from France began by the end of 1949 with the opening of a Christian Dior boutique in New York City. By the end of the year, Dior fashions made up 75% of Paris's fashion exports and 5% of France's total export revenue.
In 1949, Douglas Cox from Melbourne, Australia, travelled to Paris to meet with Christian Dior to discuss the possibility of having Dior pieces made for the Australian market. Christian Dior and Douglas Cox signed a contract for Dior to produce original designs and for Douglas Cox to create them in his Flinders Lane workshop. A young Jill Walker, still in her mid teens, was one of the many workers for Douglas Cox, a couture label now in the headlines in Australian newspapers almost daily. Jill would go onto forming a couture legacy in Melbourne with popular labels such as Jinoel and Marti with husband Noel Kemelfield. The agreement between Dior and Douglas Cox really put Australian dressmaking on the global stage, yet ultimately the 60 Dior models proved to be too avant-garde for the conservative Australian taste. Douglas Cox was unable to continue the contract beyond the single 1949 season making these Dior-Cox couture pieces some of the most rare collectors items in Australian couture.
In 1950, Jacques Rouët, the general manager of Dior Ltd, devised a licensing program to place the now-renowned name of "Christian Dior" visibly on a variety of luxury goods. It was placed first on neckties and soon was applied to hosiery, furs, hats, gloves, handbags, jewelry, lingerie, and scarves. Members of the French Chamber of Couture denounced it as a degrading action for the haute-couture image. Nevertheless, licensing became a profitable move and began a trend to continue "for decades to come", which all couture houses followed.
Also in 1950, Christian Dior was the exclusive designer of Marlene Dietrich's dresses in the Alfred Hitchcock film Stage Fright. In 1951, Dior released his first book, Je Suis Couturier (I am a Couturier) through publishers Editions du Conquistador. Despite the company's strong European following, more than half of its revenue was generated in the United States by this time. Christian Dior Models Limited was created in London in 1952. An agreement was made between the Sydney label House of Youth for Christian Dior New York models.Los Gobelinos in Santiago, Chile, made an agreement with Dior for Christian Dior Paris Haute Couture. The first Dior shoe line was launched in 1953 with the aid of Roger Vivier. The company operated firmly established locations dior fashion house in Mexico, Cuba, Canada, and Italy by the end of 1953. As popularity of Dior goods grew, so did counterfeiting. This illegal business was supported by women who could not afford the luxury goods.
By the mid-1950s, the House of Dior operated a well-respected fashion empire. The first Dior boutique was established in 1954 at 9 Counduit Street. In honour of Princess Margaret and the Duchess of Marlborough, a Dior fashion show was held at the Blemhein Palace in 1954 as well. Christian Dior launched more highly successful fashion lines between the years of 1954 and 1957. However, none came as close to the profound effect of the New Look. Dior opened the Grande Boutique on the corner between Avenue Montaigne and Rue François Ier in 1955. The first Dior lipstick was also released in 1955. 100,000 garments had been sold by the time of the company's 10th anniversary in 1956. Actress Ava Gardner had 14 dresses created for her in 1956 by Christian Dior for the Mark Robson film The Little Hut.
Christian Dior appeared on the cover of TIME dated 4 March 1957. The designer soon afterwards died from a third heart attack in 1957. The captivating impact of Dior's creative fashion genius earned him recognition as one of history's greatest fashion figures. Kevin Almond for Contemporary Fashion wrote that "by the time Dior died his name had become synonymous with taste and luxury."
Dior without Christian Dior: 1957 through the 1970s
The death of the head designer left the House of Dior in chaos, and general manager Jacques Rouët considered shutting down operation worldwide. This possibility was not received graciously by Dior licensees and the French fashion industry; the Maison Dior was too important to the financial stability of the industry to allow such an action. To bring the label back on its feet, Rouët promoted the 21-year-old Yves Saint-Laurent to Artistic Director the same year. Laurent had joined the House's family in 1955 after being picked out by the original designer himself for the position of the first ever and only Head Assistant. Laurent initially proved to have been the most appropriate choice after the debut of his first collection for Dior (the mention of Dior from this moment on refers to the company) in 1958. The clothes were as meticulously made and perfectly proportioned as Dior's in the same exquisite fabrics, but their young designer made them softer, lighter and easier to wear. Saint Laurent was hailed as a national hero. Emboldened by his success, his designs became more daring, culminating in the 1960 Beat Look inspired by the existentialists in the Saint-Germain des Près cafés and jazz clubs. His 1960 bohemian look was harshly criticized, and even more in Women's Wear Daily. Marcel Boussac was furious, and in the spring, when Saint Laurent was called up to join the French army—which forced him to leave the House of Dior—the Dior management raised no objection. Saint-Laurent left after the completion of six Dior collections.
Adnan Ege Kutay Collection
Laurent was replaced at Dior by designer Marc Bohan in late 1960. Bohan instilled his conservative style on the collections. He was credited by Rebecca Arnold as the man who kept the Dior label "at the forefront of fashion while still producing wearable, elegant clothes," and Women's Wear Daily, not surprisingly, claimed that he "rescued the firm." Bohan's designs were very well esteemed by prominent social figures. Actress Elizabeth Taylor ordered twelve Dior dresses from Bohan's Spring-Summer 1961 collection featuring the "Slim Look". The Dior perfume "Diorling" was released in 1963 and the men's fragrance "Eau Sauvage" was released in 1966. Bohan's assistant Philippe Guibourgé launches the first French ready-to-wear collection "Miss Dior" in 1967. This is not to be confused with the already existing New York Ready-to-Wear store established in 1948. Designed by Bohan, "Baby Dior" opens its first boutique in 1967 at 28 Avenue Montaigne. The Christian Dior Coordinated Knit line is released in 1968 and management of the Fashion Furs Department of Christian Dior is taken by Frédéric Castet. This year as well, Dior Parfums was sold to Moët-Hennessy (which would itself become LVMH) due to Boussac's ailing textile company (the still-owner of Dior). This, however, had no effect on the House of Dior operations, and so the Christian Dior Cosmetics business was born in 1969 with the creation of an exclusive line.
Following this, Bohan launched the first Christian Dior Homme clothing line in 1970. A new Dior boutique at Parly II was decorated by Gae Aulenti and the "Diorella" perfume was released in 1972. Christian Dior Ready-to-Wear Fur Collection was created in France in 1973, and then manufactured under license in the United States, Canada, and Japan. The first Dior watch "Black Moon" was released in 1975 in collaboration with licensee Benedom. Dior haute-couture graced the bodies of Princess Grace of Monaco, Nicaraguan First Lady Hope Portocarrero, Princess Alexandria of Yugoslavia, and Lady Pamela Hicks (Lord Mountbatten of Burma's younger daughter) for the wedding of HRH The Prince of Wales and Lady Diana Spencer. In 1978, the Boussac Group filed for bankruptcy and so its assets (including those of Christian Dior) were purchased by the Willot Group under the permission of the Paris Trade Court. The perfume "Dioressence" was released in 1979.
Arrival of businessman Arnault
In 1980, Dior released the men's fragrance "Jules". After the Willot Group went into bankruptcy in 1981, Bernard Arnault and his investment group purchased it for "one symbolic franc" in December 1984. The Dior perfume "Poison" was launched in 1985. That same year, Arnault became chairman, chief executive officer, and managing director of the company. On assuming leadership, Arnault did away with the company's mediocre textile operations, to focus on the Bon Marché department store and Christian Dior Couture. Operations for Christian Dior drastically changed for the better under Arnault. He repositioned it as the holding company Christian Dior S.A. of the Dior Couture fashion business. On the 40th anniversary of Dior's first collection, the Paris Fashion Museum dedicated an exhibition to Christian Dior. In 1988, Arnault's Christian Dior S.A.'s took a 32% equity stake into the share capital of Moët-Hennessy • Louis Vuitton through its subsidiary Jacques Rober, creating what would become one of the leading and most influential luxury goods companies in the world. Under this milestone merger, the operations of Christian Dior Couture and Christian Dior Parfums were once again united. Italian-born Gianfranco Ferré replaced Bohan as head designer in 1989. The first such non-Frenchman, Ferré left behind traditional Dior associations of flirtation and romance, and introduced concepts and a style described as "refined, sober and strict." Ferré headed design for Haute Couture, Haute Fourrure, Women's Ready-to-Wear, Ready-to-Wear Furs and Women's Accessories collections. His first collection was awarded the Dé d'Or in 1989. That year, a boutique was opened in Hawaii and the LVMH stake by Jacques Rober rose to 44%.
Further Dior boutiques were opened in 1990 in upscale New York City, Los Angeles, and Tokyo shopping districts. The stake in LVMH rose again, to 46%. Another collection of watches named "Bagheera" – inspired by the round design of the "Black Moon" watches – was also released in 1990. Having fired the company's managing executive Beatrice Bongbault in December 1990, Arnault took up that position until September 1991, when he placed former Bon Marché president Phillipe Vindry at the post. In 1991, Christian Dior was listed on the spot market and then on the Paris Stock Exchange's monthly settlement market, and the perfume "Dune" was launched. Vindry dropped ready-to-wear prices by 10%. Still, a wool suit from Dior would come with a price label of USD 1,500. 1990 revenue for Dior was USD 129.3 million, with a net income of million. Dior was now reorganized into three categories: 1) women's ready-to-wear, lingerie, and children's wear 2) accessories and jewelry 3) menswear. Licensees and franchised boutiques were starting to be reduced, to increase the company's control over brand product. Licensing was in fact reduced by nearly half because Arnault and Vindry opted "for quality and exclusivity over quantity and accessibility." Wholly company-owned boutiques now opened in Hong Kong, Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Cannes, and Waikiki, adding to its core stores located in New York City, Hawaii, Paris and Geneva. This held a potential to increase direct sales and profit margins while maintaining high-profile locations." In 1992, Dior Homme was placed under the artistic direction of Patrick Lavoix, and the "Miss Dior" perfume was relaunched. Francois Baufume succeeded Vindry in 1993 and continued to reduce licenses of the Dior name.
The production of Dior Haute Couture was spun off into a subsidiary named Christian Dior Couture in 1995. Also, the "La Parisienne" watch model was released – embodied in the watch "Parisian Chic". By that year, revenue for the label rose to USD 177 million, with a net income of USD 26.9 million. Under the influence of Anna Wintour, editor and chief of Vogue, CEO Arnault appointed British designer John Galliano to replace Gianfranco Ferré in 1997 (Galliano on CBS News: "without Anna Wintour I would certainly not be at the house of Dior"). This choice of a British designer, once again instead of a French one, is said to have "ruffled some French feathers". Arnault himself stated that he "would have preferred a Frenchman", but that "talent has no nationality". He even compared Galliano to Christian Dior himself, noting that "Galliano has a creative talent very close to that of Christian Dior. He has the same extraordinary mixture of romanticism, feminism, and modernity that symbolised Monsieur Dior. In all of his creations – his suits, his dresses – one finds similarities to the Dior style." Galliano sparked further interest in Dior with somewhat controversial fashion shows, such as "Homeless Show" (models dressed in newspapers and paper bags) or "S&M Show". Meanwhile, Dior licenses were being reduced further by new president and CEO Sidney Toledano. On 15 October 1997, the Dior headquarters store on Avenue Montaigne was reopened –it had been closed and remodeled by Peter Marino – in a celebrity-studded event including Nicole Kidman, Demi Moore and Jacques Chirac. That year, Christian Dior Couture also took over all thirteen boutique franchises from Japan's Kanebo.
In May 1998, another Dior boutique was opened in Paris. This time the store opened its doors on the Left Bank, Place Saint-Germain-des-Prés. Also this year, Victoire de Castellane became lead designer of Dior Fine Jewellery and the first Dior Fine Jewellery boutique opened in New York City. Paris itself would witness the opening of the first Parisian Dior Fine Jewellery boutique the following year, at 28 Avenue Montaigne. The perfume "J'adore" was released in 1999, and on 5 October 1999, Galliano released the Dior Spring-Summer 2000 ready-to-wear fashion show, debuting the new Saddle bag. In the same year, Dior's long watch partner Benedom joined the LVMH group. In 2000, Galliano's leadership was extended to Ready to wear, accessories, advertising and communications. The first campaign under his leadership was photographed by Nick Knight and featured two girls simulating intercourse.
While other brands in the late 1990s, notably Gucci, had resorted to porn chic as a mean to draw attention, Dior ads had such an impact that porn chic became a trend in most fashion ads. Galliano ignited the escalation of porno chic advertisements, which culminated with Ungaro's zoophilic ads, shot by Mario Sorrenti, and Gucci's ads, which featured a model with pubic hair shaped like the signature Gucci logo. As a matter of fact, it is considered that Galliano had revolutionized Dior more through his advertising campaigns than through his designs.
On 17 July 2000, Dior Homme lead designer Patrick Lavoix was replaced by Hedi Slimane. Notable Dior releases that year were watches such as the distinctive "Malice", which features bracelets made of "CD" links, as well as the "Riva". Hedi left Dior Homme in 2007 and replaced by Kris Van Assche.
In 2001, the Dior Homme boutique on 30 Avenue Montaigne reopened with a new "contemporary masculine concept" instilled by its designer Hedi Slimane. Slimane used this concept in the creation of his first Dior Homme collection. Soon, Dior Homme gained prominent male clientele including Brad Pitt and Mick Jagger.
John Galliano then began to release his own Dior watches in 2001, beginning with the "Chris 47 Aluminum" line, marking a new era in Dior watch design. Next, the "Malice" and "Riva" watches were redesigned with precious stones to create the "Malice Sparkling" and "Riva Sparkling" spin-off collections. Inspired by the Spring-Summer 2002 Ready-to-Wear collection, Dior released the "Dior 66" watch, breaking many feminine traditional expectations in design.
The men's fragrance "Higher" was released in 2001, followed by the perfume "Addict" in 2002. The company then opened Milan's first Dior Homme boutique on 20 February 2002. By 2002, 130 locations were in full operation. On 3 June 2002, Slimane was presented with the "International Designer of the Year" award by the CFDA. Until 2002, Kanebo was the Christian Dior ready-to-wear license holder in Japan and, when the license expired, Christian Dior was able to profitable directly sell its ready-to-wear and accessories in its own boutiques. The "Chris 47 Steel" watch was released in 2003 as a cousin of the original "Chris 47 Aluminum". Bernard Arnault, his wife, Chloë Sevigny, and Sidney Toledano witnessed the opening of the Dior flagship boutique in the Omotesandō district of Tokyo on 7 December 2003. The second Dior flagship store was opened in the upscale Ginza shopping district of Tokyo in 2004. An exclusive Dior Homme boutique was opened also that year in Paris on Rue Royale, and it presented the entire Dior Homme collection. A second Dior Fine Jewelry boutique in Paris was opened at 8 Place Vendôme. A Christian Dior boutique was opened in Moscow after the company took control of licensed operations of its Moscow agent.
The designer of Dior Fine Jewelry Victoire de Castellane launched her own watch named "Le D de Dior" (French: "The D of Dior"). signifying the entrance of Dior watches into its collection of fine Jewelry. This watch was designed for women but made use of many design features which are typically thought of as masculine. Slimane next released a watch for the Dior Homme collection called "Chiffre Rouge." This special watch included the signature look of Dior Homme: "Watch design and technology match each other inseparably, to create the perfect expression of Dior Homme’s artistic excellence and to increase the watchmaking legitimacy of Dior timepieces." De Castellane then launched her second line of watches called "La Baby de Dior". The design for this line was meant to be more feminine with more of a "jewelry look."
The "Miss Dior Chérie" perfume and the "Dior Homme" fragrance were released in 2005. Galliano released his "Dior Christal" watches in which he combined steel and blue sapphires to create a "creative and innovative collection." Christian Dior S.A. then celebrated the 13th anniversary of Dior Watches in 2005, and, in April of that year, its "Chiffre Rouge" collection was recognized by the World Watches and Jewelry Show in Basel, Switzerland. Also in the year, the fashion house also celebrated the 100th anniversary of the birthday of designer Christian Dior. An exhibition, "Christian Dior: Man of the Century," was held in the Dior Museum in Granville, Normandy.
In 2006, the Dior watch booth was dedicated to the Dior Canework. This pattern was made by designer Christian Dior and based on the Napoleon III chairs used in his fashion shows.
In 2007, Kris Van Assche was appointed as the new artistic director of Dior Homme. Van Assche presented his first collection later that year. The 60th Anniversary of the founding of the Maison Dior was officially celebrated in 2007 as well.
By February 2011, the House of Dior was in scandal after accusations of John Galliano making anti-Semitic remarks made international headlines: the company found itself in a "public relations nightmare." Galliano was fired in March and the scheduled presentation of his Fall-Winter 2011/2012 ready-to-wear collection went ahead without him, amid the controversy, on 4 March. Before the start of the show, chief executive Sydney Toledano gave a sentimental speech on the values of Christian Dior and alluded to the family's ties to the Holocaust. The show closed with the staff of the atelier coming out to accept applause in the absence of their artistic director. (The previous January 2011 presentation of Spring-Summer 2011 haute-couture was the last appearance of Galliano on the Dior runway.) The company went on ahead and appointed Bill Gaytten as head designer interim in absence of artistic director. Gaytten had worked under Galliano for Dior and for the John Galliano label. The first haute-couture collection (for the Fall-Winter 2011 season) under Gaytten's management was presented in July and was received with mainly negative reviews. Meanwhile, speculation remained for months as it was unknown who would be selected to replace Galliano. During its 13-month period of having no artistic director, Dior began undergoing subtle changes in its designs as the influence of the theatrical and flamboyant Galliano faded. The all-new resigned dior.com was launched in late 2011.
There is a subtext to this New New Look that goes beyond respect for the house's esteemed founder. In one fell swoop, John Galliano has been all but removed from the Dior history books. By making a visual connection between his era and that of Christian Dior himself, Raf Simons has redrawn the line of succession. The unimpeachable codes of Dior are illustrated for a new generation; the bias-cut dresses and Kabuki styling of Galliano downgraded to a footnote.
—Critic surmising the meaning of Simons' premier collection for Dior
On 23 January 2012, Gaytten presented his second haute-couture collection (for the Spring-Summer 2012 season) for Dior and it was much better received than his first collection.
Belgian designer Raf Simons was announced, on 11 April 2012, as the new artistic director of Christian Dior. Simons was known for his minimalist designs, and this contrasted against the dramatic previous designs of Dior under Galliano. Furthermore, Simons was seen to have emerged as a "dark horse" amid the names of other designers who were considered high contenders. To emphasize the appropriate choice of Simons as the right designer, the company ostentatiously made comparisons between Simons and the original designer Christian Dior. Reportedly, Bernard Arnault and fellow executives at Dior and LVMH were keen to move Dior from the Galliano years. Simons spent much time in the Dior archives and familiarizing himself with haute-couture (as he had no previous background in that niche of fashion). Simons was then scheduled to debut his designs in July. Meanwhile, Gaytten's Spring-Summer 2012 haute-couture collection was presented as the first Dior haute-couture show ever to be held in China on 14 April in Shanghai; and it was a mark of the company's devotion to its presence in the Chinese market.
The show was the last presentation by Gaytten for Dior, and he remained as head designer for the John Galliano label.
On 3 May, the Dior: Secret Garden – Versailles promotional film was launched. It was highly buzzed about throughout various industry and social media sources as it was a display of Dior through its transition. Simons presented his first ever collection for the company – the Fall-Winter 2012 haute-couture collection – on 2 July. A major highlight of the fall-winter 2012 haute-couture shows, the collection was called by the company as "the new couture" and made reference to the start of a new Dior through the work of Simons "wiping the [haute couture] slate clean and starting again from scratch." The designer's collection "made more references to Mr Dior than to the house of Dior" with pieces harkening back to themes Dior's post-WWII designs introduced to fashion. Simons, who rarely makes himself available for interviews, gave an interview published by the company through its Dior Mag online feature. While previous runway presentations under Galliano were held at the Musée Rodin, Simons' show was held at a private residence, near the Arc de Triomphe, with the address only disclosed to select top-clients, celebrities, journalists, and other personnel exclusively invited in a discreet affair. High-profile figures in attendance included designers Azzedine Alaïa,Pierre Cardin,Alber Elbaz (Lanvin designer),Diane von Fürstenberg,Marc Jacobs,Christopher Kane,Olivier Theyskens,Riccardo Tisci,Donatella Versace; and Princess Charlene of Monaco, actresses Marion Cotillard,Mélanie Laurent,Jennifer Lawrence,Sharon Stone; film producer Harvey Weinstein; and Dior chairman Arnault with his daughter. Live satellite feed of the show was provided on DiorMag online and Twitter was also implemented for real time communication. By then, it was also known that the company had purchased the Parisian embroidery firm Maison Vermont sometime earlier in 2012.
In March 2015 it was announced that Rihanna was chosen as the official spokeswoman for Dior; this makes her the first black woman to take the spokeswoman position at Dior. In 2015, Israeli model Sofia Mechetner was chosen to be the new face of Dior.
In April 2016 a new Dior flagship boutique opened in San Francisco, with a party hosted by Jaime King.
In 2017, Dior renovated and expanded its Madrid store. The brand celebrated the opening of the new boutique in a masked ball attended by a number of Spanish celebrities like Alejandro Gómez Palomo.
Dior has created strong partnerships with Hollywood celebrities and social media influencers, working closely with these individuals to reach more demographics and re-establish its identity as a new, modern brand, despite the fact that it has been around for a while. This has allowed the brand to portray a more populist image and attract a wider audience. The brand has worked with and dressed contemporary style icons like Jennifer Lawrence and Lupita Nyong'o, who may resonate with millennials. Dior has effectively implemented social media into their marketing communication strategy, in which images and videos from campaigns are shared on both the official Dior profile, and on the celebrity ambassadors' social media pages.
An example of this success is seen in the Secret Garden campaign featuring Rihanna. In this campaign, Rihanna is seen dancing to a song from her album (Only If For a Night) through a hall of mirrors. By being associated with Rihanna's song, the company created a sense of association with her brand, which was beneficial to the company as she was ranked as the most marketable celebrity in 2016. Despite the reach not being completely suitable to the Dior target audience, collaborating with the likes of Rihanna allows the company to engage with more of the market, as Rihanna's social media following is four times larger than that of the fashion house.
Below are some of the celebrity ambassadors who have fronted Dior campaigns:
- Isabelle Adjani: Poison perfume (1985–1990s)
- Carla Bruni: Lady Dior handbag (1996)
- Milla Jovovich: Hypnotic Poison perfume (1999–2000)
- Charlize Theron: J'Adore Dior perfume (2004–present)
- Sharon Stone: Capture skincare (2005–present)
- Monica Bellucci: Dior cosmetics (2006–2010),Lady Dior handbag (2006–2007), Hypnotic Poison perfume (2009–2010)
- Eva Green: Midnight Poison perfume (2007–2008)
- Marion Cotillard: Lady Dior handbag (2008–present), Miss Dior handbag (2011)
- Jude Law: Dior Homme fragance (2008–2012)
- Natalie Portman: Miss Dior fragrance, Dior cosmetics (2010–present)
- Mélanie Laurent: Hypnotic Poison perfume (2011–present)
- Mila Kunis: Miss Dior handbag (2012)
- Jennifer Lawrence: Miss Dior handbag (2012–present)
- Rihanna: Diorama bag, J'adore Dior perfume, Dior sunglasses (2015–present)
Christian Dior, together with others in the fashion industry and the culture of the industry as a whole, was criticized by fashion model Inga Radziejewski for promoting anorexia nervosa and unrealistic body image in women, by designing clothes so small that the anorexic model could not fit into them even when she was dangerously underweight.
Galliano's collection inspired by homeless people also drew a lot of criticism, but also attention, to the house of Dior.
The Spring 2017 collection also caused a lot of controversy as it was later revealed that many pieces were in fact exact replicas of traditional Romanian folk costumes. The refusal of Dior and of Maria Grazia Chiuri, the lead designer, to acknowledge the cultural appropriation, led to an online campaign under the hashtag #give credit.
On 23 February 2011, scandal arose when John Galliano was accused of making anti-semitic comments after drinking in Paris. Footage was released of the designer under the influence of alcohol saying "I love Hitler" and "People like you would be dead today. Your mothers, your forefathers would be fucking gassed and dead" to a Jewish woman. He was then accused of allegedly assaulting a gallery curator that same night and verbally insulting her and her boyfriend. Actress Natalie Portman, who had recently become the new face of Miss Dior Cherie perfume, commented on the matter to express her disgust, stating that she will in no way be associated with him. However, another model for Dior, French actress Eva Green, downplayed the seriousness of the incident, stating: "Sometimes, you can make mistakes. I don't think he's anti-semitic. I'm Jewish. I don't think he has anything against the Jews. I think it's more that he was probably a bit drunk." On 25 February, Dior announced Galliano's suspension pending an investigation, citing that the company has a "zero-tolerance" policy toward anti-semitism. In France, it is against the law to make anti-semitic remarks of this nature, and it can be punished by up to six months in prison.
On 1 March 2011, Christian Dior officially announced that it had fired Galliano amidst the controversy.
In January 2018, Delhi, India-based People Tree, a garment retailer, accused Christian Dior of plagiarising the design of an outfit worn by Bollywood actress Sonam Kapoor on the January cover of Elle (India).
Ownership and shareholdings
At the end of 2010, the only declared major shareholder in Christian Dior S.A. was Groupe Arnault SAS, the family holding company of Bernard Arnault. The group's control amounted to 69.96% of Dior's stock and 82.86% of its voting rights. The remaining shares are considered free float.
Christian Dior S.A. held 42.36% of the shares of LVMH and 59.01% of its voting rights at the end of 2010. Arnault held an additional 5.28% of shares and 4.65% of votes directly.
The company operates a total of 210 locations as of September 2010:
- Asia: 109
- Africa: 1 (Casablanca, Morocco)
- Caribbean: 1 (San Juan, Puerto Rico)
- Europe: 45
- Central America (Panama): 1
- Middle East: 8
- North America (Canada, Mexico, and the United States): 48
- Oceania: 6
- South America (Brazil, Argentina): 4
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