Revolutionizing fashion across the globe with innovative designs that express style and elegance, Dior and Chanel are two of the biggest luxury fashion houses in the world with a rich historical heritage. Both these Parisian brands enjoy a cult following. With that said, both brands enjoy some similarities and many dissimilarities. Here is a comparison between these two fashion giants, beginning from their origins.
What we know as The House of Chanel now, originated in the year 1909 when Gabrielle (Coco) Chanel opened a millinery shop in Paris at the ground floor flat of textile businessman and socialite Etienne Balsan. It was a year later, in 1910, she opened her first independent millinery shop, Chanel Modes, with financial help from Boy Capel, her boyfriend at the time. Before she ventured into fashion, she worked as a singer in Paris, her stage name being Coco. She was a firm advocate of abolishing the restrictions of the then-prevalent culture imposed on women. This inspired her to style and designs that were heavily inspired by men’s clothing – cardigan suits and jersey dresses.
By the year 1915, garments made by La Maison Chanel were on every buyer’s list in Europe. Over the next few years, Coco Chanel set fashion trends and created clothing from colors that were traditionally considered male to denote feminine strength. Chanel’s Perfume No. 5 was introduced in the year 1922. Coco Chanel successfully continued to design and sell clothes for more than two decades. However, problems between Coco Chanel and her business partners and the problems in the wake of World War II forced her to stop.
She re-emerged on the fashion scene in the year 1954, at a time when Christian Dior’s new looks and styles were gaining popularity within fashion circles. She resurrected the House of Chanel, collaborated with jeweler Robert Goossens and also presented leather handbags by the year 1955. She brought success to the House of Chanel through her business expertise. After her passing in 1971, Alain Wertheimer assumed controlling interest in the House of Chanel in the year 1974. Through the years, Chanel has grown and expanded its footprint and its product repertoire. The current Creative Director at The House of Chanel is Virginie Viard and the Global Chief Executive Officer is Leena Nair.
Established in the year 1946 as The House of Dior in Paris, the current Dior Corporation celebrates the year 1947 as the opening year as the founder, Christian Dior, made a first strong impression during his first show. His spring-summer collection of 1947 was originally named ‘Corolle & Huit’ which came to be widely popularized as ‘New Look’ after Harper Bazaar’s editor-in-chief, Carmel Snow, commented – “It’s such a new look.”
The ‘New Look’ quickly became popular after the austerity of World War II bringing back femininity and colour. Within a couple of years, after he was established, Christian Dior began expanding internationally by opening a Christian Dior boutique in New York City. By the mid-1950s, the brand had grown into a well-respected fashion empire. Christion Dior launched highly successful fashion lines between 1954 and 1957. By the time Christian Dior breathed his last in the year 1957, his name had become synonymous with taste and luxury.
Post Christian Dior’s demise, the fashion house underwent a couple of changes and hit a few obstacles and challenges before businessman Bernard Arnault assumed the chairmanship and became CEO and Managing Director in the year 1985. Under his leadership, the brand underwent drastic changes and all for the better. Since then, the brand has steadily grown and expanded and still remains one of the best luxury fashion houses around the world.
A Comparison of the Fashion Titans
Even though both these fashion houses have the same heritage expression, their paths to success have vastly differed. Chanel focused on simple, logical, and comfortable designs drawing inspiration from men’s clothing details to make females feel empowered. Dior’s designs are a complete opposite highlighting femininity and using materials and patterns such as tulle and flowers. However, designs aside, there are a few parameters on which these fashion giants can be compared.
Chanel maintains its reputation for exclusivity zealously. The brand has also begun to place limits on the number of Chanel products a customer can purchase per year to fan the desire to own its products. The classic example of this is that a consumer can only purchase one classic Chanel bag per year. This also has the dual purpose of limiting the resale market for Chanel products. Dior, on the other hand, is easier to purchase as there are no such limits placed on its products. In this day of technology and booming e-commerce, Chanel takes its exclusivity clause a notch higher by not selling online. Dior products, however, are easily available through online channels.
Similarly at one time, Chanel increased its product prices adding another layer to its image as a luxury and exclusive brand. Dior’s price rise has been very less comparatively.
The resale value of any brand is directly proportional to its image of exclusivity. Hence, it is no wonder that Chanel's resale value is much higher than Dior’s due to its very limited product availability.
Both brands are well-loved by a very loyal following and their designs are timeless. However, Chanel’s designs are focused on simplicity and functionality whereas Dior's designs flaunt femininity and elegance.
Dior’s products are mostly made in Italy and Spain while Chanel’s are manufactured in Italy and France. However, both brands are highly conscious of their product quality and use the finest available leather as well as skillful artisans for their craftsmanship.
Social Media Presence and Influence
Both these brands are well-represented on social media and are followed by millions. Due to its exclusivity and product availability limit, Chanel enjoys more followers than Dior.
Chanel and Dior are two luxury fashion brands that have global appeal. They are business rivals for sure, but each has a different focus. The haunting question is which one is better. That is a difficult choice as each has its own uniqueness of product and idea. Both brands sell similar items but preference depends on individual customer’s ideology of dressing, product pricing, and to a certain extent, product availability. However, what is clear is that both these brands have significantly impacted the global fashion scenario and continue to do so.
Who are the present Creative Director and CEO of Chanel?
The current Creative Director at The House of Chanel is Virginie Viard and the Global Chief Executive Officer is Leena Nair.
When was Dior established?
Dior was established in the year 1946.
When did Chanel present Perfume No. 5?
Chanel presented Perfume No. 5 to the market in 1922