NEW YORK — Change is in the air at Christian Dior.
The fashion house is expected to announce today that Marla Sabo, president and chief operating officer of its U.S. subsidiary, is leaving, effective Thursday.
Sidney Toledano, president and chief executive officer of the Paris-based Christian Dior Couture, could not be reached for comment on Tuesday, but said in a statement: "We recognize and appreciate Marla's contribution to the brand's success and current position in the North American market."
As for Sabo's next move, she is expected to announce her plans shortly, according to the Dior statement.
Patricia "Pat" Malone, who left her post as Gucci America's president last January, is said to be a front-runner for the Dior job and an announcement could come before the end of the week. Dior declined comment. Malone is a Gucci veteran, having worked for the brand for 17 years and having overseen its explosive growth in the U.S. under Tom Ford.
Sabo, who did not return a phone call, joined Christian Dior Inc., a division of LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton, in 2001 from Hermès, where she was senior vice president in charge of development of the Paris-based house's commercial network in the U.S. Before that, she was vice president and divisional merchandise manager of European and American designer collections at Saks Fifth Avenue. At Dior, she replaced Thierry Letrilliart. "Being an American, Marla Sabo brings with her extensive knowledge of that market," Toledano said at the time of her appointment.
Dior does not break down sales by geographic region, but sources indicated the company's U.S. business has been more challenging in recent years, prompting top LVMH brass to put pressure on the North American division to increase its performance. However, at sister company LVMH, the U.S. generated 22 percent of its 2005 sales in its fashion and leather goods division, which includes brands such as Louis Vuitton, Fendi, Donna Karan and Givenchy.
Last year, sales at Dior rose 11.4 percent to 663 million euros, or $825.7 million. At the time, Toledano said Asia, including Japan, posted the biggest increase, with the U.S. logging a double-digit gain. He also cited "huge potential" in markets like the U.S. Dior ended 2005 with a network of 194 locations, with Chevy Chase, Md., and Puerto Rico among openings in the last quarter of that year.During Sabo's tenure, Dior embarked on an aggressive retail expansion, opening stores in locations such as the Americana in Manhasset, N.Y.; Las Vegas, and Waikiki, and reopening an expanded Aspen, Colo., boutique, and an extensively redesigned 57th Street flagship here. Dior currently has 52 stores in the U.S., of which 22 are freestanding.
Sabo's departure leaves LVMH looking to fill two top jobs. Last month, the company said that Jean-Marc Gallot, Louis Vuitton North America's president, was heading to Europe to become Vuitton's European president.
From overseeing America’s fastest-growing speciality retailers to codifying cool, WWD talked to the women who are leading the way for the future of beauty. Check out our Instagram Stories to see how these women built today and are creating tomorrow. (📸: @hannah_khymych) #wwdbeauty
For @laperlalingerie's spring 2018 show, the brand chose to host their event at @thevenetianmacao. With Chinese megastars @bingbing_fan and @hubing in attendance, La Perla debuted a rock ‘n’ roll-inspired collection. The show marked the start of Sands Macao Fashion Week, which runs from October 19 to 24 — the city’s first such event. Pictured here are models backstage with glimmering eyes. #wwdfashion (📷: Cheuk-Yin To)
Trending for spring 2018: top stitch design. Gone are the days of stitch just for seams — designers are using the once-minimal detail to create strong decorative elements. (📷: Paola Testa; Styled by @andrew_shang) #wwdfashion
@tradesy is turning the concept of a showroom upside down with its new space in Santa Monica. Here, the company plans to hold events, art exhibits and a showcase rare fashion pieces like this Louis Vuitton boxing set. Get all the details on Tradesy’s first showroom on WWD.com. #wwdnews
Spotted last night at the @erdem x @hm launch event: Kate Bosworth, Rashida Jones, Kirsten Dunst and Selma Blair. The party, which took place in LA, also marked the opening of their pop-up shop. “I was interested in creating a collection that wasn’t in any way disposable. It was about pieces you’d create and keep forever, things that have a permanence to it,” designer Erdem Moralioglu said. #wwdeye (📷: Katie Jones)
Renee Zellweger in yellow in 2001 and again in 2017. Chosen as one of the 12 @pantone Leading Spring Colors (and dubbed “Meadowlark”), it only makes sense that the bright hue stands the test of time and is making a resurgence this season, seen already on stars like @blakelively and @gigihadid. (📷: Donato Sardello & @rexfeatures) #wwdfashion #tbt
Dior’s 70th anniversary celebration continues with a new exhibition at the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto. “Christian Dior,” which is scheduled to run through March 18, takes a look at the founders tenure from 1947 to 1057 and feature 40 designs. Pictured here is an evening gown from the Ailée, fall 1948-49 haute couture collection. #wwdfashion (📷: Brian Boyle)