FRENCH GAINS: Christian Dior SA, the holding company of luxury giant LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton and the Christian Dior fashion house, said Friday consolidated sales in the first quarter grew 10 percent on a comparable structure and at constant exchange rates. The French firm reported sales of $3.55 billion, or 2.98 billion euros, a 2.1 percent increase over a year ago, when sales totaled $3.48 billion, or 2.92 billion euros. The results were largely in line with LVMH and Dior fashion results reported earlier, and the group echoed an objective of “significant growth” in operating results for the year. — Miles Socha
NEW VIEW: Oakley is spying out new territory overseas. The California-based sunglass and accessories firm chose Barcelona for its first European boutique. Located on Avenue Diagonal in the L’Illa shopping center, the 1,560-square-foot boutique carries Oakley’s eyewear line, as well as accessories, footwear and apparel for men and women. Since Oakley targets a customer between the ages of 17 and 28, the company’s choice of location is of no surprise as Barcelona boasts one of Europe’s youngest urban populations. Oakley’s Barcelona store brings the brand’s store count to 24 units worldwide, with 21 stores in the U.S. Australia and Chile each have one location. — Emilie Marsh
FAST TIMES: French fast-fashion chain Camaïeu reported first-quarter sales up 3.9 percent to $98.4 million, or 82.6 million euros, from $94.7 million, or 79.5 million euros, in the year-earlier period. Dollar figures are converted from the euro at current exchange. On a like-for-like basis, sales dropped 2.5 percent, due to the opening of seven stores and the repurchase of four franchises. The brand counts 406 doors, including 45 overseas. Meanwhile, French fast-fashion group Vivarte, which runs the Kookai, Caroll, Liberto and Minelli chains, among others, said sales for the quarter ended Feb. 29 were up 4.7 percent to $552.7 million, or 464.1 million euros. For the first half, sales were up 3 percent to $1.15 billion, or 966.6 million euros, from $1.12 billion, or 938 million euros, a year ago. As reported, Financiere 2 PAI, a European investment fund, acquired 55.4 percent of Vivarte last week. — E.M.
IN THE BAG: The Vivienne Westwood exhibition at London’s Victoria and Albert Museum may have only come into bloom last month but seeds for its next fashion occasion have already been planted. “Our fashion curator, Claire Wilcox, is working on the next major fashion exhibition,” said a spokesman for the museum. “It will be a retrospective of the Spanish couturier Cristobal Balenciaga and is scheduled to open in 2007.” — Ellen Burney
DRESS BLUES: A handful of London’s black taxis are about to change their colors. As part of a campaign by the National Army Museum to promote museums and galleries month, 30 black cabs will be “dressed” in military uniforms from different historical periods. They include a Gordon Highlander at Waterloo, and a Hussar from the Charge of the Light Brigade. The cabs’ exteriors will be covered, billboard-like, with a photo of the uniform, the flip-up seats inside the taxi will feature write-ups about the soldier whose uniform is printed on the cab. “We wanted to take something representing the National Army Museum and present it in an intriguing way,” said Simon Parkes, a spokesman for Ideas Unlimited, the agency that developed the ad. “The museum isn’t about artifacts, it’s about real soldiers and their experience, so we gave each uniform a story, and each cab a personality.” After a launch on Whitehall on April 29, the taxis will be in service for a year. — Nina Jones