The announcement in The New York Times ostensibly ends one of the fashion industry’s most obsessive parlor games, rumor mills, and Twitter fests.
According to the Paris-based fashion house, Simons’s first collection is expected at the July couture shows.
“It is with the utmost respect for its tremendous history, its unparalleled knowledge and craftsmanship that I am joining the magnificent house of Dior. Mr. Christian Dior has always been for me the most inspiring couturier,” Simons said in a statement. “I am truly humbled and honored to become artistic director of the most celebrated French house in the world.”
Simons takes over the reigns of a luxury-good company that was thrown into turmoil last year when its longtime creative director, John Galliano, was fired following anti-Semitic comments. Since his departure, the brand has been under the guidance of Galliano’s former right-hand man, Bill Gaytten. And a laundry list of prospective successors has been dissected and discarded in the public sphere. The list of names ranged from Marc Jacobs to Haider Ackermann and Riccardo Tisci to Alber Elbaz.
As months passed, Dior posted double-digit revenue gains. It maintained its high-profile presence on the red carpet with glamorous appearances by Natalie Portman and Charlize Theron. And Gaytten’s collections garnered critical praise. It seemed possible that the house—which had been so wed to a flamboyant personality and outré presentations—might embrace a more reserved sensibility going forward. Indeed, during an interview with Newsweek last year, Bernard Arnault, who controls Christian Dior along with the many labels under the LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton banner, touted the success and popularity of the wholly understated and restrained Céline. “My daughter Delphine, she’s working at Dior, but she wears Céline,” Arnault said.
In choosing Simons, Arnault selects a designer who was wildly championed by critics and praised by retailers during his tenure at Jil Sander. Simons left the minimalist sportswear brand less than two months ago and it was announced that the company’s namesake would be returning to the helm.
While at Jil Sander, Simons established a vocabulary of bold color and provocative shapes, along with a refreshing understanding of fashion’s role in the lives of professional women. His work was both functional and eclectic. His is a far cry from the lush romanticism of Galliano.
“I think what [Raf] has done over the last couple of years at Jil Sander is exactly what’s needed to bring Dior into the present moment,” says Valerie Steele, director and chief curator for the Museum at the Fashion Institute of Technology. “He’s shown that he can do things with a couture sensibility, but there’s also a real modernity … to his work.”
Indeed, Simons’s spring 2012 collection seemed—to some eyes—a kind of audition for Dior. It was refined and feminine with echoes of a New Look silhouette. But it was also spare and joyful. It studiously avoided the moniker of retro.
In choosing Simons, Arnault selects a designer who was wildly championed by critics and praised by retailers during his tenure at Jil Sander.
The history of Dior has been populated by Yves Saint Laurent, Marc Bohan, Gianfranco Ferrè, and of course, Galliano. But only Galliano made an overwhelming and deliberate connection with the past, Steele says. Such a connection is not a prerequisite for success.
“It’s much less important to look for a designer who will continue specific references than a designer who can take different elements and make them modern,” Steele says. “Dior was a master of silhouette. I think that’s something Raf has shown he’s really good at. And it doesn’t have to be that cinched-waist silhouette.”
As Christian Dior celebrates its 65th anniversary, Simons will be charged with keeping the brand relevant in the feverishly competitive high-end market. He will have to make a case for couture’s ongoing relevance in a world entranced by fast and cheap fashion. And he will have to speak to a customer base that is increasingly dominated by China rather than Western capitals.
Simons has already begun to tackle his task. / Written by Robin Givhan – Source thedailybeast.com
French fashion legend Pierre Cardin is ready to sell his group and will seek one billion euros (1.46 billion U.S. dollars).
“I want to sell it now,” Cardin, 88, told the Wall Street Journal. “I know I won’t be here in a few years and the business needs to continue.”
Cardin, who has no heirs, said he wants to stay on as creative director, explaining that it would be in the buyer’s interest “for the brand’s image.”
But Cardin is asking too much for the brand and his talent, judged hard-nosed bankers who value the business at closer to 200 million euros.
Financial data for calculating valuations is thin because the Cardin empire is not quoted on any stock exchange and so is not obliged by listing rules to provide detailed figures such as sales volumes.
At business consultancy Savigny Partners, senior manager Pierre Mallevays said: “A brand like Cardin does not increase (in value) like a normal brand because it is entirely based on licence revenues.”
Valuations are reached by applying a multiplying ratio to licence income streams, he told AFP.
“Financially, Pierre Cardin is a very big deal because all these licences generate a lot of royalties,” he said.
Cardin explained his pricing logic, on the basis of 10 million euros per product per country, “which is nothing at all”, he said. “One thousand products, 100 countries, that’s how it calculates. It’s nothing.”
The group employs 450 workers but owns only one Cardin shop in France. However, it manages some 900 licences throughout the world and indirectly employs some 200,000 people.
Cardin was also one of the pioneers of licensing, a capital-efficient method of developing a business by selling the right to sell branded products.
Cardin has since built up an eclectic range of businesses and brands, including the exclusive Maxim’s restaurants, and also high-end furniture, and perfume.
“I own 100 percent of everything that I need. I can drink my own wine, go to my own theatre, eat in my own restaurants, sleep in my hotels on my own sheets, dress in my own clothes and use my own perfume,” Cardin once said.
In 2009, Cardin sold 32 textile and accessory licences in China — but not its brand — to companies Jiangsheng Trading Company and Cardanro for 200 million euros.
Although there are no publicised buyers for the Cardin business, US group Iconix Brand may be a bidder, a source familiar with the deal said.
But top names such as LVMH and PPR are less interested because they “want to control the brands they own.
Cardin, on the other hand, gave a multitude of licences,” the source added.
“Pierre Cardin is a brand that was at times a little too exposed, too used, too franchised and in a way intangible assets were greatly squandered,” said Laurent Habib, who heads the Paris-based Observatory on Intangibles. Source AFP
ModaLisboa In The Market presents the collections for Spring / Summer 2011 of the leading national designers. From 7-10 October, the event will be spread across 24 shows, 18 designers and two marks on the main runway, beyond the four shows more experimental platform LAB, also integrated into the central axis of the Ribeira Market.
In The Market opens with Philip Spark, October 7 and ends with the return of Maria Gambina, after a pause of five editions. The ModaLisboa prides itself on presenting the premiere of White Tent on the main runway. The duo Evgenia Tabakova and Pedro Noronha-Feio, regulars at ModaLisboa since 2007, promises to surprise a parade scheduled for late Sunday afternoon. aforestdesign, Victor Ricardo Andrez and will thus be the ambassadors LAB, welcoming the rookie Daniel Denis on Saturday 8 October.
After Miguel and Nuno Gama Vieira having represented Portugal in Poland Fashion Week in 2010 and 2009, came the turn of ModaLisboa reciprocate, with the confirmed presence of the Polish Lukasz Jemiol, designer largest formed by the Academy of Fine Arts in Lodz. Jemiol is new generation and lead: their parade scheduled for Sunday, October 10, prolongs the mystery of the proposal in 2011 dedicated to the feminine silhouette.
In The Market complements their manifesto through the presentation of two brands: the Cia Maritima, with chic vintage in celebration of its 20 years of life, and Adidas, the international benchmark of streetwear, with a proposed split into three new lines of innovation for Spring / Summer 2011. More information : dailymodalisboa.blogspot.com