When you think of French fashion, you probably imagine effortless structure, timeless elegance, and an overwhelming air of class. This perception is due in large part to the prominence of Christian Dior, and the impact the fashion house has made on the world.
The artistic direction for Dior still very much resides with its founder and namesake, Christian Dior. This means pursuing the design of each garment as carefully as an architect would a building, and drawing inspiration from some of the world’s most culturally significant items, as well as natural beauty.
Today, Dior operates more than 200 boutiques around the world, and employs nearly 6,300 people globally, but the brand is still headquartered in Paris where it was conceived. The house now offers fragrances and accessories in addition to the fine clothing for which it is known.
One Man’s Vision
When Christian Dior was 41, he founded the House of Dior in 1946. Having wanted to be an architect, Dior’s designs were beautifully structured and always complemented the female form in a way the world hadn’t previously seen. His first collection entitled “The New Look” influenced the world of fashion right from the start.
In 1948, Dior made an early foray into the world of fragrance, launching the first Dior perfume. The same year, Dior opened a ready-to-wear fashion house in New York, and the designer’s name began to spread.
In those first few years, Dior gained nearly instant success which has never subsided. Now, despite the founder having passed many years ago, Dior is still an important name in fashion that continues to contribute apparel, accessories, shoes, and fragrances to the world of luxury.
Maria Grazia Chiuri became the first female Creative Director for Dior, giving a fresh perspective to a brand that has long been a favorite of women.
Realities of Grandeur
As a luxury brand, Dior is obviously in direct competition with other such luxury brands. Though certain ones, like Louis Vuitton, are so far out of reach that they can hardly be considered Dior’s competition, others like Tiffany & Co. are well within grasp.
Dior is valued just under Tiffany & Co., and just above Burberry. This means that these two companies are Dior’s greatest direct competition, as it could either pull ahead or fall behind relatively easily.
Both Tiffany and Burberry are significantly older brands than Dior, so it’s not out of the question for this iconic house to once again surpass a more well-established company.
Stylized Shows and Sumptuous Ads
Like most major luxury brands, Dior gets a great deal of notoriety from its fashion shows. These are always highly stylized and so orchestrated that they almost feel like a piece of theater.
Another favorite Dior method for remaining present in the public eye is its striking perfume ads, of which Charlize Theron is the star. These are meant to give visual representation to the fragrance, so they are always imbued with delicacy and beauty.
In 2011, Dior fired its then-designer John Galliano for allegedly making a series of anti-Semitic comments. It was a move made to save Dior’s otherwise untarnished reputation, which may have been sullied with Galliano’s.
The effort appears to have paid off, since Dior is now recognized as the world’s 7th most valuable luxury brand. What’s more, it sits at 187 on the Fortune 500, up 21 spots from the previous year.
Dior may represent timeless style, but it’s success is distinctly modern, and only likely to grow from here.