Fashion Designer Gabrielle "Coco" Chanel (1883-1971) was born in Saumur, Southern France. She began by designing hats, first in Paris in 1908, and later in Deauville. Her fashion boutiques (one in Paris and one in Deauville) opened simultaneously in 1914. She opened an haute couture salon in Biarritz in 1916, and in 1920 moved to Paris in the present quarters on rue Cambon. Ready-to-wear fashions were not introduced until 1978, after Coco's death. Chanel is a member of Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture et du Pret-a-Porter.
Neiman-Marcus Award (1957)
The Chanel group is controlled by the Wertheimer family through various investment holdings (Litor Ltd., Pamerco).
Chanel keeps a very low profile on its economic figures, but sales in 1995 were estimated at over $1 billion, for 1995 sales are believed to have risen to nearly $2 billion. The new Chanel daughter "Eres" achieved in 1996 sales worth of 60 million Francs ($12 million) and boasts earnings of 7.2 million ($1.4 million). Lagerfeld boasts that when he took over design at Chanel, fashion sales made up only 6% of total sales. Today he estimates more than 50% of total sales stem from fashion. The firm has about 100 boutiques worldwide, more than 35 of which are in Japan. Controlled by chairman Alain Wertheimer's family, Chanel also owns Eres, a French beachwear and lingerie label.
In 1992, Chanel possessed 64 fully owned boutiques. Eres has three fully-owned boutiques in Paris and sells selectively to 420 retailers worldwide (30% of them in France).
Chanel avoids licensing products in order to keep control over the merchandise.
Fashion Designer Christian Dior (1905-1957) was born in Normandy, France. At his parents' insistence, he studied political science. After military service and several years of indecision, he returned to Paris in 1935 and began his design career by selling sketches. His hat designs were initially more successful than his dress designs. But he concentrated on his dress designs and was hired by Robert Piguet in 1938. During the war, he served in the South of France, then returned again to Paris in 1941 and worked for Lucien Lelong, a much larger design house. In 1946, he was able to open his own house, backed by textile manufacturer Marcel Boussac.
* Haute Couture, since 1947
* Haute Fourrier (furs)
* Christian Dior Boutique (deluxe)
* Christian Dior Boutique Fourrier (furs)
* Christian Dior Coordinee (diffusion), discontinued in 1994
* Neiman-Marcus Award (1947)
* Parsons Medal for Distinguished Achievement (1956)
Since 1990, the Christian Dior S.A. belongs to Europe's biggest luxury products manufacturer, Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton (LVMH). The company is listed at the Paris stock exchange. The Christian Dior S.A. itself holds 42% of the LVMH assets and is the holding company for the fashion brands Christian Dior Couture, Kenzo, Givenchy, Christian Lacroix, and Louis Vuitton. The group achieved in in 1996 sales worth of 32.35 billion Francs ($6.33 billion).
Direct sales of Dior clothes (including licences) climbed in 1994 to $193 million. In 1996, the Christian Dior Couture division achieved a turnover of 1.2 billion Francs ($235 million). In the first half of 1996, LVMH achived only 70 million Francs ($13.7 million) compared to 380 million Francs ($74.3 million) in the previous period.
Currently, Dior operates 160 boutiques worldwide, 15 of them in Japan. Clothing is exclusively sold in the Dior stores. Other retailers only carry licensed Dior products like eye-wear, lingerie, ties, Bady Dior clothing, perfumes, and other accessories. Since LVMH acquired in 1997 the Duty Free Shoppers (DFS) group of stores, which are mostly located in Asia, the Dior distribution has been expanded to the...