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Kai Ryssdal: This is a big day in the business of high fashion. Dior fired its star designer John Galliano today after a video of him on an anti-Semitic rant in a Paris bar made the rounds. As we all know, in fashion one day you’re in, the next day you’re out.
The fate of Dior’s bottom line? Still up in the air.
Marketplace’s Eve Troeh reports.
Eve Troeh: Oscar-winning actress Natalie Portman is all over new ads for Miss Dior fragrance.
Natalie Portman in Miss Dior commercial: Miss Dior Cherie by Christian Dior.
Dior’s website says her boldness would have enchanted Christian Dior. But Portman’s boldly refused to be associated with fired Dior designer John Galliano after he was caught drunk on tape saying “I love Hitler.”
Analyst Jack Plunkett says investors feel the same as Portman — out with Galliano — but not a peep about Dior as a whole.
Jack Plunkett: This is a man who’s part of the team, but he wasn’t the House itself. The main thing right now is to keep the business stable, keep the customers happy.
And most of Dior’s customers are happy — buying lipstick, sunglasses and perfume. They never touch Galliano’s couture designs. Plunkett says those only make up 5 percent of sales for Dior’s parent company, LVMH.
John Galliano joined Dior in the late 1990s when lots of storied fashion labels hired young, edgy designers to remake them. Galliano’s whimsy revived Dior. But Melissa Lafsky with the website thehighlow.com says that’s practically ancient history — especially to Dior’s fastest growing market: Asia.
Melissa Lafksy: Those shoppers aren’t tied to Galliano; they don’t remember 1997. It’s very arguable that he has served his purpose and in fact may have already run his course a bit.
She says now the big brand drives sales, not the creative talent attached. Dior hasn’t said if it will still show its collection by Galliano in Paris this Friday.
I’m Eve Troeh for Marketplace.
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