PARIS — Raf Simons has passed his first fiscal year at Christian Dior with flying colors.
On Thursday, the French fashion house said profits from recurring operations increased 31 percent in the second half to 108 million euros, or $143.1 million, while revenues in the six months to Dec. 31 climbed 14 percent to 758 million euros, or $1.02 billion, a 20 percent improvement at constant exchange rates.
A Belgian designer, Simons was named Dior’s new artistic director of women’s haute couture, ready-to-wear and accessory collections in 2012. His first designs arrived at retail in February 2013.
“He gave a lot of modernity, but based on the very strong savoir faire of the house,” Dior chief executive officer Sidney Toledano said in an interview. “Now we see the full impact.”
The brand’s “excellent” performance last year was driven by momentum in leather goods, men’s and women’s rtw, and accessories, Dior said.
Kris Van Assche, another Belgian designer, has overseen the Dior Homme men’s collections since 2007.
In leather goods, Toledano cited continued strength of lines like the Diorissimo, Lady Dior and Miss Dior handbags, the latter two fronted by Oscar-winning actresses Marion Cotillard and Jennifer Lawrence, respectively.
The executive noted that Simons gave a new verve to styles like the Lady Dior by bringing striking colors and innovative materials and treatments like dégradé.
In accessories, Toledano highlighted good results in shoes, and a “tremendous success” with fashion jewelry, with its Tribal pearl earrings quickly running out of stock.
Dior also hit a historic record for haute couture sales last year, and posted good results on high jewelry by Victoire de Castellane as well, Toledano said.
In the fourth quarter, sales advanced 14.4 percent to 389 million euros, or $522.3 million, while sales in Dior’s retail network posted an organic gain of 22 percent.
Dior opened 21 units last year — including in Sydney, São Paulo and Vietnam’s Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City — to end the year with about 200 stores.
Toledano recently returned from Jakarta, Indonesia, where Dior opened its second location, and Amsterdam, Florence and Vienna are among retail projects coming in the first half.
Asked about market signals in January and early February, he replied: “So far, the beginning of the year is giving us confidence. The trend is good.”
Toledano is particularly bullish on the U.S. market, given rising consumer confidence and surging tourism. He disclosed that Dior plans to bring its cruise show to New York in early May, noting that Simons’ modernist approach to fashion has been “very, very successful in the U.S.”
For the full year, Dior sales reached 1.42 billion euros, or $1.88 billion, a gain of 14 percent at actual exchange rates and 18 percent stripping out the impact of currency fluctuations. Full-year profits from recurring operations climbed 26 percent to 165 million euros, or $219.1 million.
Dollar figures are converted at average exchange for the periods to which they refer.
French companies report sales quarterly and profits every six months. Results for the Dior fashion house, known as Christian Dior Couture, were released Thursday after the market closed as part of a financial release from Christian Dior SA, parent of luxury giant LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton.
“Azzedine has been one of the biggest influences in my life. He has always been such a strong, loving, fatherly figure to me. I call him Papa. His designs are indescribably unique, they are pieces of art. He knew how to make the female form look its loveliest. I have so many memories of him; my favorite might be during my first show with him in Paris. He liked me and he wanted to help me get more work. He called all his friends at Kenzo and Comme des Garcons, and asked them to book me. They said, ‘But she can’t walk!’ And he said, ‘but she has such a great ass!' His friendship and support has been the great privilege of my career. I can't imagine life without him. Repose en paix mon Papa.” - @stephanieseymour tells @wwd. #wwdfashion (📷: @steveeichner) #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa, flanked by two of his closest friends, models Stephanie Seymour and Naomi Campbell.
He designed Seymour’s dress for her 1995 wedding to Peter Brant, and treated Campbell (who famously called him Papa), like a daughter. For more on the legendary designer, tap the link in bio. #wwdfashion #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa's “I-did-it-my-way” ethos stood out starkly at a time when brands are experimenting with consumer-facing fashion shows, coed formats and trans-seasonal collections – anything to perk up lackluster sales of ready-to-wear in an age of Insta-everything. “It’s not creation anymore. This becomes a purely industrial approach,” the late designer told WWD in an interview last year. “But anyway, the rhythm of collections is so stupid. It’s unsustainable. There are too many collections.” Read more about the iconic designer’s life and work on wwd.com, link in bio. #wwdfashion #azzedinealaia (📷: @WWD Archive, 1986) #alaia
Sneaker reselling app @goat’s latest exhibit, "The Greatest: New York," tells the story of New York's sneaker culture. To celebrate the exhibit, an intimate crowd gathered on Thursday night at the pop-up gallery space, located at Platform in Culver City, to hear guest speaker and illustrator @esymai talk about her own rise in streetwear and women in the business. "For me I'm just someone who is creative. I like to create things," said Chang. #wwdfashion
Azzedine Alaïa, one of the most iconic couturiers of the modern era whose body-con designs defined Eighties fashion, has died in Paris. The diminutive Tunisian-born designer, known for his structured knitted dresses with fitted waists and impeccably cut, figure-hugging second skin silhouettes was deeply admired by his peers, and counted supermodel Naomi Campbell - his adoptive daughter - among his inner circle, one of a gang of glamazons including Farida Khelfa, Carla Bruni and Stephanie Seymour who became ambassadors of his style. (📷: Alexandre Guirkinger) #wwdblast