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Christian Dior S.A.
Type Société Anonyme (S.A., Euronext: CDI)
Founded December 16, 1946
Founder(s) Christian Dior
Headquarters Paris, France
Number of locations 160 boutiques globally (estimate)
Area served Worldwide high-end shopping districts
Key people Bernard Arnault (Chairman of the board),
Sidney Toledano (CEO),
John Galliano (head designer of haute couture/RTW),
Kris van Assche (creative director, Dior Homme),
Victoire de Castellane (designer, Dior Fine Jewelry)
Industry Luxury goods
Products High fashion retail
Revenue 17.93 billion (2008)[1]
Operating income €3.468 billion (2008)[1]
Profit €796 million (2008)[1]
Total assets €35.59 billion (2008)[1]
Total equity €15.27 billion (2008)[1]
Employees 72,620 (FTE, 2008)[1]
Divisions Christian Dior Parfums (Est. 1947)
Christian Dior Cosmetics (Est. 1969)
Dior Homme (Est.1970)
Subsidiaries Christian Dior Couture (Est. 1995)[2],
Financière Jean Goujon (42.42% controlling stake in LVMH)

Headquartered in Paris, 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.[3][4] 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, Yves Saint Laurent, Gucci, Versace, and Prada.[5]





The House of Dior was established on December 16, 1946, in "a private house"[2] at 30 Avenue Montaigne Paris B. However, the current Dior corporation celebrates "1947" as the opening year.[2] Dior was financially backed by wealthy businessman Marcel Boussac.[2][5] The new couture house became a part of "a vertically integrated textile business" already operated by Boussac.[5] Its capital was at FFr 6 million and workforce at 80 employees.[5] 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.[5]

The "New Look"

On February 12, 1947, Dior launched his first fashion collection for Spring-Summer 1947. It was presented in the salons of the company's headquarters at 30 Avenue Montaigne. The "90 90 models of his first collection on six mannequins."[2] Originally, the two lines were named as "Corolla" and "Eight" (which included the new "Bar suit" silhouette).[2] 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!"[2][5] The signature shape was characterized by a below-mid-calf length, full-skirt, large bust (which fell from style in 1912), and small waist. In refutation to the post-war fabric restriction, Dior infamously used 20 yards of extravagant fabrics in his creations.[5] Over time however, the New Look became revolutionary and strongly popular, influencing fashion and other designers for over 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 duly in part of the attention it gained form Dior's New Look.

Dior Parfums

Available references contradict themselves on the topic of when Christian Dior Parfums was established. All claims fall within the years of 1947 and 1948. Nevertheless, the Dior corporation has the major say and it lists the founding of Christian Dior Parfums as 1947 with the launch of its first perfume, Miss Dior.[2] 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).[2] Christian Dior Ltd owned 25%, manager of Coty perfumes held 35%, and Boussac owned 40% of the perfume business.[5] It was headed by Serge Heftler Louiche.[2] Also in 1947, Pierre Cardin is placed as head of Dior workshop until 1950.[2] In 1948, a New York City Christian Dior Parfums branch is established—this could be the cause of establishment-date issue.[2] 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.[2] In 1949, the "Diorama" perfume is released and [2] By 1949, the New Look line alone made a profit FFr 12.7 million.[5]

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.[5] By the end of the year, Dior fashions made up 75% of Paris's fashion exports and 5% of France's total export revenue.[5] General Manager Jacques Rouët of Dior Ltd devised a licensing program that placed the now-renown name of "Christian Dior" on a variety of luxury goods in 1950.[5] It was placed first on neckties[2] and soon was followed by hosiery, furs, hats, gloves, handbags, jewelry, lingerie, and scarves.[5] Members of the French Chamber of Couture denounced it as a degrading action for the haute-couture image. Nevertheless, the licensing became a profitable move and began a trend to continue "for decades to come"[5] of which all Couture houses followed.[2] Christian Dior exclusively designed Marlene Dietrich's dresses in the Alfred Hitchcock film Stage Fright in 1950. In 1951, Dior released his first book Je Suis Couturier (I am a Couturier) through publishers Editions du Conquistador. Despite the strong European following, more than half of the revenue was generated in the United States by this time.[5] Christian Dior Models Limited was created in London in 1952.[2] An agreement was made between the House of Youth for Christian Dior New York models.[2] Los Gobelinos in Santiago, Chile, make an agreement with Dior for Christian Dior Paris Haute Couture.[2] 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.[5] As popularity of Dior goods grew, so did counterfeiting.[5] The 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[5] 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. Monsieur Christian Dior launched more highly successful fashion lines between the years of 1954 and 1957.[5] However, none came as close to the profound effect of the New Look.[5] Dior opened the Grande Boutique on the corner between Avenue Montaigne and Rue Francois 1er in 1955.[2] The first Dior lipstick was also released in 1955.[2] 100,000 garments had been sold be the time of the company's 10th anniversary in 1956.[5] 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 March 4, 1957. The designer soon afterwards died from a third heart attack in 1957.[2][5] The captivating impact of Dior's creative fashion genius earned him recognition as one of history's greatest fashion figures.[5] Kevin Almond for Contemporary Fashion wrote that "by the time Dior died his name had become synonymous with taste and luxury."[5]

Dior without Christian Dior: 1957 through the 1970s

The death of the head designer left the House of Dior in chaos and shutting down worldwide operations was placed into consideration by Rouët.[5] This possibility was not received graciously by Dior licensees and the French fashion industry.[5] The Maison Dior was too much of an importance to the financial stability of the industry to even allow such an action.[5] To bring the label back on its feet, Rouët promoted the 21 year-old Yves Saint Laurent as Artistic Director that very same year.[5] 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.[2][5] 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.[5] 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.[5] 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. Laurent left after the completion of six Dior collections.[2]

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."[5] 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.[2] The men's fragrance "Eau Sauvage" is released in 1966.[2] 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.[2] The Christian Dior Coordinated Knit line is released in1968.[2] Management of the Fashion Furs Department of Christian Dior is taken by Frédéric Castet.[2] 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).[2][5] 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.[2] A new Dior boutique at Parly II was decorated by Gae Aulenti.[2] and the "Diorella" perfume was released in 1972.[2] 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.[2] 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.[2] The perfume "Dioressence" was released in 1979.[2]

Under the business leadership of Arnault

In 1980, Dior released the men’s fragrance "Jules".[2] After the Willot Group plummeted into bankruptcy in 1981,[2] Bernard Arnault and his investment group stepped up and purchased it for "one symbolic franc" in December 1984.[2][5] The Dior perfume "Poison" is launched in 1985.[2] Arnault became Chairman, Chief Executive Officer, and Managing Director in 1985 as well.[2] Upon leadership, Arnault did away with the mediocre textile operations of the company to focus only on the Bon Marché department store and Christian Dior Couture.[5] Operations for Christian Dior drastically changed for the betterment of the company under Arnault. He repositioned the company as the holding company Christian Dior S.A. for the Dior Couture fashion business.[5] On the fortieth anniversary of Christian Dior's first collection, the Paris Fashion Museum dedicated an exhibition to him.[2] 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 to create one of the most powerful leading luxury goods companies in the world. Under this milestone merger, the operations of Christian Dior Couture and Christian Dior Parfums were once again united. The Dior corporation states that the "share capital of Christian Dior is offered to French and foreign institutional investors who subscribe to a capital increase of 3.3 billion francs in a private placement."[2] Italian-born Gianfranco Ferré replaced Marc Bohan as head designer in 1989.[5] The first non-Frenchman, Ferré left behind the traditions of flirtation and romance of Christian and Marc and introduced concepts that Kevin Almond for Contemporary Fashion calls "refined, sober and strict."[5] Ferré leads in the design of 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.[2] Also, a boutique was opened in Hawaii and the LVMH stake by Jacques Rober rises to 44%.[2] Further more Dior boutiques were opened in 1990 in upscale New York City, Los Angeles, and Tokyo shopping districts.[2] The stake in LVMH rose again to 46%.[2] Another collection of watches named "Bagheera" -- which were inspired by the round design of the "Black Moon" watches — was released in 1990, too. When Arnault fired managing director Beatrice Bongbault in December 1990 he took up the position until September 1991, at which point he placed former Bon Marché president Phillipe Vindry in the post.[5] In 1991, Christian Dior was listed on the spot market and then on the Paris Stock Exchange's monthly settlement market[2] and the perfume "Dune" was launched.[2] Vindry dropped ready-to-wear prices down 10%.[5] Still, a wool suit from Dior came labeled with the price of $1,500 USD.[5] Sales nevertheless were raised to a great 50% at the headquarters store from 1990 to 1991.[5] Revenue for Dior was $129.3 million USD in 1990 with a net income of $22 million.[5] He also reorganized Dior into three categories: 1) Women's ready-to-wear, lingerie and children's wear 2) accessories and jewelry 3) menswear.[5] Licensees and franchised boutiques were starting to be reduced so that the Dior company could solely control these aspects.[5] Licensing was nearly reduced by half because Arnault and Vindry opted "for quality and exclusivity over quantity and accessibility."[5] Wholly company-owned boutiques were opened in Hong Kong, Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Cannes, and Waikiki "to its core stores located in New York City, Hawaii, Paris, and Geneva. This held out the potential to increase direct sales and profit margins while maintaining high-profile locations."[5] Dior Homme is placed under the Artistic direction of Patrick Lavoix in 1992 and the "Miss Dior" perfume was relaunched.[2] Francois Baufume succeeded Vindry in 1993 and continued to reduce licenses to the Dior name.[5] The Christian Dior consolidated stake in LVMH increases from 24.5% to 41.6% after a revised agreement with Guinness.[2]

The production of Dior Haute Couture was spun-off into a subsidiary named Christian Dior Couture in 1995.[2] Also, the "La Parisienne" watch model was released—embodied in the watch, "Parisian Chic". By that year, revenue for the label increased to $177 million USD with a net income of $26.9 million USD.[5] CEO Arnault appointed British designer John Galliano to replace Glanfranco Ferré in 1997.[2] Arnault was said to have had "ruffled some French feathers" for the choice of a British designer instead of a French one.[5] The Dior CEO stated that he "would have preferred a Frenchman", but "talent has no nationality".[5] He even compared Galliano to Christian Dior by 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 Mr. Dior. In all of his creations--his suits, his dresses--one finds similarities to the Dior style."[5] Galliano sparked further interest in Dior with his rather controversial fashion shows: "Homeless Show" (models dressed in newspapers and paper bags) and "S&M Show".[5] Licenses were further diminished by president and CEO Sidney Toledano.[5] On October 15, 1997, the Dior location 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. Christian Dior Couture took up all 13 boutique franchises from Japan's Kanebo in 1997.[2] The Dior Spanish distributor was acquired in 1998 in an effort to enforce its new policy of strict Dior "franchise and licensed retail network."[5] Following this, Christian Dior Couture took over the direct marketing of ready-to-wear and women’s accessories in Japan after terminating its licensing agreement with Kanebo."[2]

In May 1998, another Dior boutique was opened in Paris. This time, the location opened doors on the Rive Gauche in the Place Saint-Germain-des-Prés. Also in this year, Victoire de Castellane became the Designer of Dior Fine Jewellery and the first Dior Fine Jewellery boutique was opened in New York City. Paris witnessed the opening of the first Parisian Dior Fine Jewellery boutique in 1999 on 28 Avenue Montaigne.[2] The perfume "J'adore" was released in 1999.[2] On October 5, 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 Bemedom joined the LVMH group.

On July 17, 2000, Dior Homme designer Patrick Lavoix was replaced with Mr. Hedi Silmane. Christian Dior SA was started by Christian Dior in 1946. Dior, which owns the major luxury company Moët Hennessy • Louis Vuitton, was headquartered in Paris and is now controlled by John Galliano. It specialises in all kinds of luxury products. The unique "Malice" watch, which features bracelets made of "CD" links was released in 2000 and becomes a best selling accessory. The very fashionable "Riva" watch was also released.

21st century

The Dior flagship boutique in the upscale Ginza shopping district of Tokyo. First opened in 2004.

In 2001, the Dior Homme boutique on 30 Avenue Montaigne reopened with a new "contemporary masculine concept" instilled by its designer Mr. Hedi Silmane. Silmane used this concept in the creation of his first Dior Homme collection.[2] Soon, Dior Homme gained prominent male clientele including Brad Pitt and Mick Jagger.[5] On June 3, 2002, Dior Homme designer Hedi Silmane was presented with the "International Designer of the Year" award by the CFDA.

Dior opened the first Dior Homme boutique in Milan on February 20, 2002. By 2002, 130 locations were in full operation.[5] A second flagship boutique from Christian Dior was opened in the upscale Ginza shopping district of Tokyo in 2004.[2] An exclusive Dior Homme boutique was opened in 2004 in Paris on Rue Royal, presenting the entire Dior Homme collection. A second Dior Fine Jewelry boutique in Paris was opened at 8 Place Vendôme.[2] Bernard Arnault, his wife, Chloé Sevigny, and Sidney Toledano witnessed the opening of the Dior flagship boutique[2] in the Omotesando district of Tokyo on December 7, 2003. A Christian Dior boutique was opened in Moscow after the company took control of licensed operations of its Moscow agent.[2]

The men's fragrance "Higher" was released in 2001,[2] followed by the perfume "Addict" in 2002.[2] The "Miss Dior Chérie" perfume and the "Dior Homme" fragrance were released in 2005.[2]

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. Silmane 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.[2] 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.[2] The 60th Anniversary of the founding of the Maison Dior was officially celebrated in 2007 as well.[2] 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 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.[6]

Ownership and shareholdings

At the end of 2008, 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 69.43% of Dior's stock and 81.37% of its voting rights.[1] A further 1.8% of shares were declared as treasury stock, with the remainder being free float.[1]

Christian Dior S.A. held 42.42% of the shares of LVMH and 58.02% of its voting rights at the end of 2008. Arnault held an additional 5.00% of shares and 5.38% of votes directly.[3]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h "Annual Report 2008". Christian Dior. Retrieved 1 January 2010.  Employees p. 52; financials pp. 92-93; shareholdings p. 197.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab ac ad ae af ag ah ai aj ak al am an ao ap aq ar as at au av aw ax ay az ba bb bc bd be bf bg bh bi bj bk bl bm bn bo bp Company History at Dior's website
  3. ^ a b "LVMH - Reference Document 2008". LVMH. p. 180. Retrieved 1 January 2010.  Financière Jean Goujon, "a wholly owned subsidiary of Christian Dior", held 42.42% of capital and 58.02% of voting rights within the company at the end of 2008.
  4. ^ Gay Forden, Sara; Bauerova, Ladka. "LVMH Cuts Store Budget After Profit Misses Estimates". Bloomberg (5 February 2009). Retrieved 1 January 2010. 
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab ac ad ae af ag ah ai aj ak al am an ao ap aq ar as at au av aw ax ay az ba bb bc bd be Company History at
  6. ^ Sarah Arnold, Boudicca Fox-Leonard, "Exposed: How the fashion industry rejected anorexic Inga as 'too big'", The Mirror, Jan. 31, 2010.

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