Sourced from the Wikipedia page 'Christian Dior'...because I live dangerously...
Christian Dior S.A. (more commonly known as Dior) is a French company which owns the high-fashion clothing producer and retailer Christian Dior Couture, as well as holding 42% of LVMH Moët Hennessy • Louis Vuitton, the world's largest luxury goods firm. Both Dior and LVMH are controlled and chaired by businessman Bernard Arnault. The Dior label is the namesake of designer Christian Dior who launched the haute couture empire in 1946. Christian Dior Couture, a division of the whole House of Dior, designs and produces some of the world's most coveted haute couture, as well as luxury ready-to-wear fashion, menswear and accessories. Today, Dior operates about 160 boutiques worldwide with plans to open more in the coming years.
Competitors to the House of Dior include, among many, the fashion houses of Chanel, Louis Vuitton, Yves Saint Laurent, Gucci, Versace, and Prada.
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. 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, Monsieur 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". Monsieur Dior's creativity also negotiated him a pleasant salary.
The "New Look"
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 as "Corolle" and "Huit" (which included the new "Bar suit" silhouette). However, the new collection went down in fashion history as the "New Look" after Harper's Bazaar 's editor-in-chief Carmel Snow's exclamation, "It's such a New Look!" The signature shape was characterized by a below-mid-calf length, full-skirt, large bust (which had fallen from style in 1912), and small waist. In refutation to the post-war fabric restriction, Dior used twenty yards of extravagant fabrics in his creations. Over time however, the New Look became revolutionary and strongly popular, influencing fashion and other designers for many years to come. Prominent Hollywood figures and the European upper-class became instant clients. Paris, which had fallen from its position as the capital of the fashion world after WWII, regained its esteemed position due in part to the attention it gained form Dior's New Look.
Available references contradict themselves on the topic of when Christian Dior Parfums was established. All claims fall within the years of 1947 and 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. It was headed by Serge Heftler Louiche. Also in 1947, Pierre Cardin was made head of Dior workshop 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 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 placed on 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 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.
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. The men's fragrance "Eau Sauvage" is 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 in1968. 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 graces the bodies of Princess Grace of Monaco, 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.
Under the business leadership of 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 $22 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 Glanfranco 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 girl with pubic hair shaped like the gucci logo. As a matter of fact, it is considered that Galliano has revolutionized Dior more through his advertising campaigns then 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".
In 2001, the Dior Homme boutique on 30 Avenue Montaigne reopened with a new "contemporary masculine concept" instilled by its designer Mr. 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. On June 3, 2002, Dior Homme designer Hedi Slimane was presented with the "International Designer of the Year" award by the CFDA.
Dior opened the first Dior Homme boutique in Milan on 20 February 2002. By 2002, 130 locations were in full operation. A second flagship boutique from Christian Dior was opened in the upscale Ginza shopping district of Tokyo in 2004. An exclusive Dior Homme boutique was opened in 2004 in Paris on Rue Royale, presenting the entire Dior Homme collection. A second Dior Fine Jewelry boutique in Paris was opened at 8 Place Vendôme. Bernard Arnault, his wife, Chloë Sevigny, and Sidney Toledano witnessed the opening of the Dior flagship boutique in the Omotesando district of Tokyo on 7 December 2003. A Christian Dior boutique was opened in Moscow after the company took control of licensed operations of its Moscow agent.
The men's fragrance "Higher" was released in 2001, followed by the perfume "Addict" in 2002. The "Miss Dior Chérie" perfume and the "Dior Homme" fragrance were released in 2005.
Galliano 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 "Chris 47 Steel" watch was released in 2003 as a cousin of the original "Chris 47 Aluminum". 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." Fine Jewelry designer de Castellane 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." Christian Dior S.A. 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. In 2005, 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. Also in 2005, Galliano released his "Dior Christal" watches in which he combined steel and blue sapphires to create a "creative and innovative collection."
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. Dior Homme received a new Artistic Director in 2007, Kris Van Assche, who presented its first collection later that year. The 60th Anniversary of the founding of the Maison Dior was officially celebrated in 2007 as well. Currently, Dior is featured in countless high-fashion magazines, more prominently Vogue, and advertises its popular Christian Dior Cosmetics and Parfums via prominent fashionistas and models.
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 draw a lot of criticism, but also attention, to the house of Dior.
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 was recently made 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. 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 can be punishable by up to six months in prison.
On 1 March 2011, Christian Dior officially announced that it had fired Galliano amidst the controversy.
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 brand operates a total of 210 locations as of September 2010. Of these, 109 are in Asia, one in Africa (in Casablanca), one the Caribbean (San Juan, Puerto Rico), 45 in Europe, 8 in the Middle East, 48 in North America (Canada, Mexico, and USA), 6 in Oceania, and 2 in South America.