Exclusive: Dior to appoint Valentino's Maria Chiuri as creative head - sources

Thu Jun 23, 2016 11:27am EDT
 
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By Astrid Wendlandt

PARIS (Reuters) - Christian Dior (DIOR.PA: Quote) is set to announce after its couture show in early July that Maria Grazia Chiuri is joining the French fashion house from Italy's Valentino, two people familiar with the matter said.

Chiuri will be taking on one of the most important jobs at Dior. She will also be the first woman creative director in the company's 70-year history, following in the footsteps of celebrity designers including Yves Saint Laurent, Gianfranco Ferre and John Galliano.

"I understand that it will be announced after the (July) couture show," one of the sources said.

Dior was not immediately available for comment.

Chiuri will join Dior at a difficult time. The brand's fashion sales growth has dropped in the past year and a half, going from double-digit to flat sales growth in the first quarter of this year.

Dior has attributed its poor results to the luxury market slowdown but some fashion industry experts have suggested it might be facing some desirability issues.

Dior is the parent company of LVMH (LVMH.PA: Quote), the luxury industry's biggest luxury group. It generates around 5 billion euros in annual sales, of which more than three fifths come from perfume and cosmetics. It has been struggling to find a replacement for Belgian designer Raf Simons who left unexpectedly in October.

Chiuri has worked wonders at Valentino together with her design partner Pierpaolo Piccioli, acting as the brand's joint-creative director since Valentino Garavani, who hired them himself, announced his retirement in 2007.   Continued...

 
Italian designers Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pier Paolo Piccioli appear at the end of their Fall/Winter 2016/2017 women's ready-to-wear collection for fashion house Valentino in Paris, France, March 8, 2016. REUTERS/Gonzalo Fuentes/File Photo