Is Dior About To Appoint First Female Creative Director?

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According to the Business of Fashion, Maria Grazia Chiuri, co-designer of Italian fashion house Valentino, is set to become Dior's latest Creative Director. The news is reportedly due to be confirmed after Dior's couture show in July. The news comes amidst a loss of confidence for the brand within the fashion industry. After much-fêted Belgian designer, Raf Simons' unexpected departure last October sales have slowed, "going from double-digit to flat sales growth in the first quarter of this year" according to Business of Fashion. While Dior have been quick to accredit a drop in sales with a general lack of interest in the luxury markets (Hollywood Reporter), it's difficult to square such feelings up against the rise and rise of labels like Gucci who have enjoyed a reported 2.9 times sales growth this year (Financial Times). However both Kering (who own Gucci) and LVMH, the parent company of Dior, have noted a drop in sales. Gucci's anomaly growth has been much attributed to the long-locked saviour Alessandro Michele, who took up the mantel of Creative Director at the label in January 2015. Michele has gone on to design much coveted accessories, the sales of which have not only boosted Gucci's figures but also their fanbase. Surely Dior will be setting similar hopes on the shoulders of Chiuri... So, why Chiuri for Dior, now? How will she compare to predecessors like Galliano and Simons? Maria Grazia Chiuri has worked alongside Pierpaolo Piccioli's as one-half of Valentino's head of creative since Valentino Garavani's departure in 2008. Discovered and mentored by Valentino himself, Chiuri comes with great experience and status. Along with Piccioli, she transformed the somewhat staid brand into one of Hollywood's choicest outfitters. Bright young things Emma Stone, Keira Knightley and Zoe Kravitz are fans and their collections consistently receive critical acclaim for their refined elegance and service to a slower dedication to the art of fashion than the current cycle truly allows for. Chiuri might just be the answer to the Raf Simons-size hole that's been left behind since the cult designers mysterious exit. The appointment is significant for another reason. The role of Creative Director at womenswear design houses has traditionally, on the whole been bestowed upon men and is one of the greatest ironies today within the fashion industry. Remarkably, Chiuri marks the first female creative director in Dior's 70 year-history. With Bouchra Jarrar's appointment as the head of Lanvin, the first woman since founder Jeanna Lanvin's tenure, it seem that finally, in 2016, the global fashion houses renowned for their feminine designs are being driven forward by women.

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