Guess which Christian Dior store location earned by mid-2006 more revenue than any other? It’s It’s the kind of news that turns fashion business lore into pure myth.

There is growing evidence that fashion businesses should re-think traditional beliefs about where and how consumers buy. Ensure you read the yellow highlighted sentences below.

The Christian Dior news was one of many insightful observations in a two page report by Susan Owen titled “Celebrity breeds credibility for e-tailers large and small” (The Australian Financial Review, 12-14 October 2007, pp18-19). Owen also notes:

  • “launched in 2000, making its first profit in 2005 when sales exceeded US$26 million. They are expected to double this year.”
  • “When L’Wren Scott, Mick Jagger’s girlfriend, launched her 18-piece fashion label (modelled by her Hollywood pals Jennifer Lopez and Sharon Stone) it was made available on, a members-only website. It keeps company with beautiful bespoke jewellery and limited edition accessories, while scores of women wait for acceptance by the site’s founders.”

"fashion_values"In that last quote, the words “bespoke” and “limited edition” tell us that Scott’s site’s business model is based on exclusivity! Still think business models on the internet are all just about revenues from search engine advertising?

"luxury_brand_book_cover"Owen notes that meanwhile Frenchman, Bernard Arnault, aged 58, became the seventh-richest man in the world with an estimated net worth of US$20 billion according to an August 2007 issue of Forbes magazine. Forbes informs us that Arnault “Put up US$15 million from his family’s midsize construction firm to buy Christian Dior in 1985.”

Look now at the value of Christian Dior in the above table. Joining the dots, the business value of Christian Dior rose from US$15 million in 1985 to US$11.95 billion in 2003. Thus in the 18 years to 2003, the Christian Dior business valuation increased so that it was valued about 800 times more in 2003 than it was in 1985. In percentage terms that’s an increase of 79,900%.

Arnault’s fashion and luxury brand conglomerate is named LVMH and includes Louis Vuitton, Dolce & Gabbana, Diesel, Marc by Marc JacobsRay-Ban, Roberto Cavalli, Jean Paul Gaultier, Fendi, Celine, and Versace.

Where does law sit in all this to protect and help grow fashion wealth? We’re confident Arnault would agree that legal protection of brands is critical, especially trade mark registration.

"fashion_brands_book_cover"Beyond trade marks, the third last paragraph of our major article, Australian fashion law and industry trends, overviews the many ways law can be used to protect fashion in Australia. This work is our speciality as intellectual property lawyers.

Appearing as illustrations for this post are three book covers. They are books I spotted while spending an afternoon in August in one of Singapore’s biggest bookstores. The names the thing in fashion, it helps to also have them online.

Noric Dilanchian